Davis expected in lineup tomorrow, plus other notes (game update)

WASHINGTON - Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he expects first baseman Chris Davis to return to the starting lineup tomorrow night when the Orioles begin a three-game series in Atlanta.

When the Orioles play in Washington tonight, Davis will not be in the lineup for the eighth consecutive game since his last start, June 11 versus Boston, when he went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts to drop his average to .150.

Davis-White-After-Strikeout-Sidebar.jpgDavis’ OPS has decreased each month, from .559 in April to .453 in May to .254 in June, during which he is 3-for-27. He’s gone 89 at-bats without a homer, his longest stretch as an Oriole and second-longest of his career.

“That is when they me told they thought would be the right time,” Showalter said of Davis’ likely Friday return. “I think everybody has had input on it, looked at and worked on it. This is what we want to do. Looking forward to getting him back on the field. Really looking forward to potentially getting the impactful player he’s capable of being.

“He’s been wanting to play every game. This is not something he’s enjoyed. He wants to play. He’s looking forward to tomorrow. Chris doesn’t like not playing. It’s been tough for him. But he knows what we are all trying to accomplish.”

Does Showalter feel Davis has made some major changes that will be apparent on Friday?

“This is Chris, Scott (Coolbaugh), Brady (Anderson), some other people. I’m going to leave it in their hands. Are you asking if you’ll see some drastic different batting stance or his hands behind his head or something? If you are expecting an instant return in one day (you should not). There are a lot of other things there that Chris wanted to attack that required just backing off for a few days. It’s more than just a mechanical thing. I wish it was that easy.”

The Orioles activated Colby Rasmus off the disabled list today and he is in the starting lineup, batting sixth and playing right field. Rasmus appeared in only eight games with the Orioles after signing a minor league deal, and was 2-for-21 with 13 strikeouts in early April before he hit the DL with a left hip flexor strain. He’s hit .275 in 15 games for Single-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie on an injury rehab assignment.

“Last three or four games he kind of found his step and felt comfortable and settled in,” Showalter said. “Not an easy task to come back and face (Max) Scherzer, but it’s the big leagues. Just hoping Colby can come back and start showing us what he’s capable of.”

Rasmus talked about being back, facing Scherzer and trying to show the Orioles a lot more than he did early in the year.

“That’s the goal,” Rasmus said. “But I don’t think anyone in this room is totally healthy. We’re all playing with things. I had hip surgery and I’m not 21 anymore. So I have to think accordingly, act accordingly and do the things I have to do to prepare myself to get ready to play. That’s my goal every day. Try to get ready to play so I can help this team win, and do the best I can on the field.

“That’s fun. I’m glad it’s Scherzer, that’s cool. Get to face one of the best in the game. That is what it’s all about. I’ve faced Scherzer a few times and that’s part of it. You play in the big leagues, you want to compete and play against the best. Definitely not scared about it, that’s for sure. Happy to be here.”

The Orioles optioned outfielder Joey Rickard back to Norfolk today and moved lefty Richard Bleier to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Rasmus on the 25- and 40-man rosters. The Orioles also announced today that Pedro Álvarez has cleared waivers and been assigned outright to Triple-A Norfolk.

“Joey continued to present himself as an option. He’ll be back. He’s done well down there, that’s why he comes back,” Showalter said.

Rickard talked about being optioned out.

It’s tough. You get accommodated to the guys up here, you want to help them win up here. But at the same time, we got other guys, which is a good thing. (My performance) was inconsistent but at times I did help the team win. At the same time, we are deep and we’ve got guys who can help win.”

The Orioles did not make a roster move today involving pitching, which was hinted at after last night’s game.

“We think we should be able to get through today’s game and see where we are for Atlanta. We like the direction that (Jimmy) Yacabonis is taking and we don’t want to mess with him if we can help it. Yefry Ramirez is not eligible until Monday. There are things we are waiting on without disrupting a lot of people. Try not to disrupt some young players’ paths,” Showalter said.

Showalter was asked about Chris Tillman, who gave up three runs in two innings for short-season Single-A Aberdeen last night. He will likely pitch at Single-A Delmarva Monday and for Triple-A Norfolk after that.

“He needs to get those people out at that level if he’s going to come up to an even higher level. You can get stretched out if you are getting people out. Tough to get stretched out when you can’t get through a couple of innings. Chris is capable of doing that. They are going to take it with a normal progression, but it’s going to move pretty quickly if he can answer the task that’s ahead of him,” said the skipper.

One final note - the Orioles promoted their .377-batting Single-A center fielder, Ryan McKenna, to Double-A Bowie today.

O’s get lead: Colby Rasmus returned to the Orioles for the first time since April tonight and homered off Max Scherzer to provide a 1-0 lead in the second inning. In his first at-bat for the club since April 6 he hit a 95 mph fastball 414 feet out to center field. It was his first O’s homer and first in the bigs since June 11, 2017.

Another longball: After the Nationals tied the game 1-1 in the third on Bryce Harper’s sac fly, the O’s went back up 2-1 with another home run in the fourth. Mark Trumbo connected to center off Scherzer for the 2-1 lead. It’s the first time this year Scherzer has allowed more than one homer in a start. He had given up eight homers in 15 starts before tonight.

Tied up: Kevin Gausman hung a curveball and Anthony Rendon didn’t miss it. His 430-foot homer tied it 2-2 in the sixth.

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