Hyde giving Alberto "a refresher day"

Hanser Alberto is healthy. The reason he's on the bench again today has nothing to do with a physical issue.

This is more of a mental break, according to Orioles manager Brandon Hyde.

Alberto has five hits in its last 28 at-bats and has struck out seven times. He's been lowered in the order and now dropped out of it for the second time since Tuesday.

Monday's off-day extends the rest period.

Alberto-Safe-White-sidebar.jpg"I just wanted to give Hanser a day off before the off-day," Hyde said during this morning's Zoom conference call with the media. "I wanted to give him a little bit of a two-game breather. He'll be available to pinch-hit off the bench like he did the last time I gave him an off-day.

"I feel like Hanser, we've had some conversations lately, and I just feel like he's just trying too hard right now. I'd like to have him just relax and watch from the bench, at least for the first half of the game to try to calm down a little bit."

The alternative to Alberto is appealing.

Pat Valaika has homered in three straight games, the first Orioles player to do it since Jonathan Villar last August against the Rays. Stick with the hot hand.

"Pat's swinging the bat well," Hyde said, "but it's more about just giving Hanser a refresher day."

Pedro Severino is catching today and becoming much more of a threat against right-handed pitching. He's slashing .333/.391/.524, compared to .228/.319/.358 last summer.

"I think that's just the work that he's put in," Hyde said. "Saw improvement last year over the course of the year, saw it in spring training, saw it in summer camp. Real competitive at-bats.

"Talked to him yesterday before the game, just how excited and proud of him I am of the competitiveness in his at-bat. Likes to use the big part of the field. You saw in the base hit last night to win the game, it was middle-of-the-field approach, looking for something to drive in the middle, which leads to no pull off, no cheat. He's trying to drive the ball as hard as he can left-center field to right-center, which allows him also, you're seeing some of those pull home runs where's he's able to stay inside the ball and nasty two-seamers are coming off the plate in, he's able to stay through those, keep his eyes down out in front of the plate. And that's the difference I see.

"Last year for me, he'd kind of go in and out of his approach a lot. I'm just seeing a way more consistent approach this year. And he's so strong. Such a really good swing that he's giving himself an opportunity."

The Orioles haven't announced their starters for the three-game series against the Rays that begins Tuesday night in St. Petersburg, Fla.

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