Notes on Vavra, Santander, Hays, Araúz and more

Rookie Terrin Vavra is making his fourth start in the outfield this afternoon, and his first in right.

Vavra keeps moving around, with three starts in left field and two at second base. He’s served as the designated hitter in six games.

The Orioles like his versatility, but also want his bat in the lineup. Vavra is slashing .297/.391/.378 with a double, triple, seven RBIs and seven walks in 46 plate appearances.

“He’s been out there a couple times. Not right field here, obviously, but in the outfield. I thought he’s looked comfortable, did a nice job,” said manager Brandon Hyde.

“We have some really good outfielders that, I’ve taken him out with a lead to get guys with some more experience out there. That might happen again. But he’s going to at least get some at-bats in and get some work out there. I know he feels comfortable, so excited to have him be so versatile and do a lot of things for us.”

Anthony Santander has been getting regular starts as the designated hitter. The alternatives provide more speed, but there’s another factor in play.

“It’s more about taking care of Santander, honestly,” Hyde said. “To be able to keep him healthy as possible through the rest of the season, as well as giving other guys an opportunity to play out there.”

Vavra has been working out at first base. Santander got in his reps earlier today with third base coach Tony Mansolino, who’s also the infield instructor, and major league coach José Hernández. Catcher Adley Rutschman took grounders at first yesterday in Toronto.

“Just to increase versatility, flexibility,” Hyde said. “More guys that can play more positions on your roster the better. We have (Tyler) Nevin, who’s a good first baseman on the roster right now, also.”

Austin Hays moves down to seventh in the order today for the sixth time this year. He slashed .202/.269/.298 with one home run and 24 strikeouts in 23 games in July and is 6-for-36 with one home run and 10 strikeouts this month.

“A little pull-side ground ball,” Hyde said. “I feel like the pitches that he’s getting to hit, he’s missing right now. Just a little bit off. And I’m expecting that to turn around soon, because I think he’s in a good place mentally, working at it the right way. Just not happening results-wise here the last handful of days. But hopefully he’ll get going soon.”

The drop to seventh removes some pressure, but it also balances the lineup with left-handed hitters Vavra and Rougned Odor around him.

“They’ve got lefties in their bullpen,” Hyde said, “and didn’t want to stack too many guys on top of each other with all the righties.”

Jonathan Araúz, on the injured list with a fractured finger on his right hand, is close to beginning a rehab assignment in the minors.

Araúz did infield work earlier today. He’s 5-for-28 with a home run since the Orioles selected him off waivers from the Red Sox on June 15.

The injury occurred on July 25 as Araúz tried to stretch a single into a double and jammed his finger on the bag. He hadn’t played since July 8.

Here are the starters for the series against the Red Sox, with the first two games at Camden Yards and the finale Sunday night in Williamsport, Pa.:

Friday: Jordan Lyles vs. Kutter Crawford
Saturday: Kyle Bradish vs. Michael Wacha
Sunday: Dean Kremer vs. Nick Pivetta

The Orioles have won 16 of their last 20 home games. They’ve outscored opponents 231-205.

For the Cubs
Nick Madrigal 2B
Willson Contreras C
Ian Happ LF
Franmil Reyes DH
Nico Hoerner SS
Nelson Velázquez RF
P.J. Higgins 1B
Zach McKinstry 3B
Christopher Morel CF

Adrian Sampson RHP

O's game blog: Homestand begins with makeup game v...
Orioles lineup vs. Cubs

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