Chris Davis didn’t attempt to lay down a bunt last night. He’s not undergoing a complete makeover of his hitting philosophy.
Davis is still in the business of driving in runs. His first career bunt single Monday night wasn’t a sign that he’s going to receive the bunt sign from third base coach Bobby Dickerson each time he steps to the plate.
Davis took a few questions yesterday about Manny Machado’s suspension before a reporter brought up his bunt. Davis smiled and responded as if it were the proudest moment of his career. Funny guy.
Could Crush be reduced to playing more small ball?
“If they continue to shift me as much as they have...” he said.
“I think it’s something that I’ve worked on for a while. I’ve just started getting a little bit of comfort. I’m tired of grounding out to the shift to be honest with you, especially when we’re playing these close ballgames. Nellie (Nelson Cruz) is getting on base in back of me, Jonesy (Adam Jones) is getting on base in front of me.
“I’m not going to do it every time. It’s frustrating when you hit a ball hard and the second baseman fields it and throws you out. At some point in time, you have to make an adjustment, especially if things are going poorly, like they are for me.”
My two cents: Having Davis lay one down is fine depending on the score and the runners on base, but no, he should not bunt against the shift in every single at-bat. That’s exactly what opposing managers want him to do. Beats a 400-foot home run.
Cruz thought there were two outs last night when he broke for second base on J.J. Hardy’s pop up in the bottom of the fifth inning. He was off by one.
“It’s no excuse,” he said. “I should know better. It shouldn’t have happened.”
Josh Stinson made it back to Baltimore on Monday after being designated for assignment and later outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk on May 1. He was scratched from Sunday’s start without an explanation, but he knew the Orioles had dipped into their bullpen for both long relievers - Brad Brach and T.J. McFarland - and would need a fresh arm.
“Probably about 45 minutes after that, (Norfolk trainer) Mark Shirer came up and said, ‘You’ve got a flight at 8 o’clock,’ and to hang out in the hotel,” Stinson said. “I kind of saw how the (Orioles) game went. You don’t want to be up under those circumstances, but I had a feeling once they scratched me that they needed another arm.”
Stinson, 26, was 0-3 with a 5.19 ERA in nine games (two starts) for Norfolk, striking out a batter per inning. He’s been working with pitching coach Mike Griffin to correct a flaw in his delivery.
“The results haven’t showed, but we made some mechanical adjustments, me and Griff did - getting my front side up higher, kind of back to where I was last year,” Stinson said.
“My last start, I felt real good. Got in trouble in the sixth, but I was 80 pitches in. I made the jump from 40-50 pitches to 80 and got pretty tired, but obviously as a competitor you don’t come out of the game. They asked me after the fifth how I felt and I was like, ‘I’m good,’ but I got a little tired. I felt good, though. Got my angle back, more consistency.”
Teams don’t usually offer promises when selecting a player’s contract. Stinson could be here to stay or he could be designated again, since the Orioles keep rearranging the pieces of their bullpen like furniture.
Stinson won’t be a lazy boy. (See what I did there?)
“I’m just trying to pitch well and see what happens,” he said.
Stinson was outstanding in relief for the Orioles last season, allowing one earned run in 11 1/3 innings. He didn’t surrender an earned run in nine spring training innings this year and broke camp with the team, only to be removed from the 40-man roster.
“It’s part of the business. I understand it,” he said. “You had Troy (Patton) coming back and they needed a roster spot and I wasn’t throwing the ball good at all. I was the worst one down there, so I kind of saw it coming.
“Obviously, it’s disappointing and any job you’re going to be disappointed if you get demoted or whatever, but just go down there and get my work in and get back to where I was.”
Zach Britton pitched for the Orioles on Friday. His older brother, Buck, pitched for Norfolk at the exact same time.
It’s more interesting if you consider that Buck is an infielder for the Tides, who were losing 11-4 in the eighth inning.
Buck gave up back-to-back doubles to start the inning, but retired the next three batters and allowed only one run.
“I talked to him (Saturday) about it,” Zach said. “I think he went out to the mound and did like (Craig) Kimbrel, how he has his arm, so he was just having fun with it. He said he tried not to hurt himself. That was the most important thing. But he had so much fun doing it.
“In the offseason when we play catch, he always tries to pitch and throw curveballs and sliders and everything, I’m sure he loved it.”
Buck is a stranger to the mound.
“I don’t think he’s ever pitched,” Zach said. “He’s always wanted to. He said he was like 83-85, something like that. That’s not too bad. He was like, ‘Oh, I’ve got 90 in the tank. I just didn’t want to show it.’ “
Tides manager Ron Johnson was looking for volunteers to cover the last inning.
“(Buck) said they were getting killed and R.J. didn’t want to burn anybody down in the bullpen,” Zach said. “He was like, ‘Ah, can I pitch?’ R.J. said, ‘Yeah, sure.’ He said he had so much fun.”
Tim Berry started for Double-A Bowie last night and allowed three runs in six innings. He didn’t get the decision in the Baysox’s 7-5 loss to New Hampshire.
The Orioles optioned Berry on Sunday, one day after recalling him, to make room for Tommy Hunter.
A 50th-round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Berry was caught by surprise when informed that the Orioles needed him in Baltimore.
“They say it happens when you least expect it and I was pretty close to it,” he said. “You know that if you’re on the roster, you’ve got a shot at any time, but I had no idea that it was coming when it did.”
Berry entered the ballpark with eyes wide open.
“Just walking in, the first thing I saw, I see this huge clubhouse with everything,” he said. “It’s just the feel that you want. And there’s so much more energy, positive energy here, than I’ve experienced in the past. Everybody wants to win, so this is the place I want to be.”
Berry sat in the bullpen for one night, tearing off his starter’s label.
“It’s a little different,” he said. “I had a chance to be in the bullpen in the fall league. That’s the only time, so it was cool (Saturday) to watch and just see how they went about getting ready for the game. And I think I’ve got a pretty solid routine. (Pitching coach) Alan Mills helped me out in the fall league with it, how to get ready in a shorter span, a shorter amount of throws. The key is to kind of stay loose and stay ready at any time. It’s not rocket science, but it takes some practice.”
I wonder how much practice is required to be a rocket scientist.
The Orioles announced yesterday that they will host LUNGevity Foundation’s Breathe Deep Baltimore, a walk to raise funds and awareness for lung cancer in memory of Orioles’ late public relations director Monica Pence Barlow on Sept. 20 at Camden Yards.
The 5K walk will begin at 9 a.m. and conclude on the field. Registration begins at 7 a.m. and participants will receive a T-shirt and refreshments. Registration fees are $25 for adults, $20 for lung cancer survivors, $15 for students and seniors and $10 for youth. There is no race fee for children four and under.
Fans can register online now at www.orioles.com/lungevity. The first 500 registrants will receive a ticket to the Orioles 7:05 p.m. game that night against the Red Sox.
All proceeds of the walk will benefit LUNGevity Foundation, a non-profit firmly committed to making an immediate impact on increasing quality-of-life and survivorship of people with lung cancer by accelerating research into early detection and more effective treatments, as well as providing community, support and education for all those affected by the disease.
Barlow was a member of the organization for 14 years. She passed away in February after a 4 1/2-year battle with non-small cell lung cancer. She was very active with the LUNGevity Foundation, raising funds and awareness through interviews and walks.
I’ll be there. Will you?
Let’s pack the place.
Davis has pledged to give LUNGevity Foundation $100 in Monica’s honor for every home run he hits this season. He’s totaled nine so far after hitting 53 in 2013.