Davis out of lineup due to an illness (and other notes)

NEW YORK - Today’s pitching matchup isn’t the reason why Chris Davis is missing from the Orioles lineup.

Davis, who’s batting .100, is on the bench today because of an illness, according to manager Buck Showalter. Trey Mancini is playing first base and Craig Gentry is in right field against Yankees left-hander Jordan Montgomery.

Chris-Davis-gray-close.png“He hasn’t been asleep since yesterday,” said manager Buck Showalter. “He had a tough night. I could play him, but I’m not sure how physically he’d be ready. He hasn’t slept in a while. He’s been hacking all night. Things that guys have. The weather certainly wouldn’t help it, standing out here in this stuff, and turn into something that’s five or six days, so just thought it would be smart to be cautious with it.

“He’ll be available late in the game, though. I’m hoping he’ll get some sleep. I told him to come in later today and I’m hoping that he’s able to sleep in the locker room some during the game.”

The Blue Jays are starting left-hander J.A. Happ in Monday night’s series opener at Camden Yards, but the opponent won’t influence Showalter’s decision on Davis’ availability.

“That’s a coincidence today,” he said. “That has nothing to do with a left-hander. If it was a right-hander he wouldn’t be playing today.”

The Orioles made a roster move earlier today, optioning Jimmy Yacabonis to Triple-A Norfolk and recalling left-hander Tanner Scott.

Yacabonis was recalled yesterday and allowed three runs in the seventh inning in an 8-3 loss.

“We want to get him back starting,” Showalter said. “We got in a little bind there and he was a guy who was ready to go.

“Tanner threw 20 pitches (Friday) with a day off. He’s ready to go.”

The Orioles will try to carry 13 pitchers while Colby Rasmus is on the 10-day disabled list. A bullpen with few optionable relievers makes it more enticing.

“It lends that way, it leads you toward that possibility, but we’ll see,” Showalter said. “We’ve got Mark Trumbo getting closer every day. Of course, Zach (Britton), too. It’s going to be kind of a moving target for a while.

“We knew this road trip was going to be a challenge, like all the road trips are, but especially with some of the game times and everything, that it was going to be tough to stay at seven (relievers).”

Scott gives the Orioles a different look among their three lefties, a power arm to go Richard Bleier and Nestor Cortes Jr.

“A lot of times up here, different is better,” Showalter said. “I was looking at Toronto’s lineup a couple of days ago and they’re dominant right-handed, too, but Tanner’s not a pure left-on-left guy because of how much he’s improved with his slider. His splits are pretty neutral left and right.

“Sometimes, timing is everything. He’s off to a good start. He had a good spring throwing the ball over the plate and we’ll see what happens up here. It’s tough griping the ball and everything, but it was good to see him get off to a good start.

“He’s not trying to throw as hard. He’s trying to command the baseball. One of the things we talked with Yac about, some of those things. But it’s tough because Yacabonis really hasn’t faced an opposing team. He’s pitched in intrasquad and different stuff in almost two weeks. It’s crazy. It’s tough for these guys not to pitch against an opposing team for that long and the way the schedule is it just happened that way.”

Showalter talked yesterday about Yacabonis’ need to “graduate” from a few things that are holding him back. He walked two batters yesterday, one intentional, and Didi Gregorius easily stole second base on him.

Asked about the primary message delivered to Yacabonis this morning, Showalter replied, “The same thing. Holding runners, not being predictable with his time, the same thing we’ve been telling him for a year or two.

“Teams up here, they pick up things about stolen bases. First base coaches, that’s their whole responsibility. But when he throws the ball down and away, it’s fun to watch, and his breaking ball has improved a lot. I think starting is going to be good for him because he’s going to be able to face multiple hitters, work on his secondary pitches, understand some things we’re talking about with holding runners.

“It’s like the first time he’s been in the windup since like his sophomore year in college. I was asking today why he didn’t wind up yesterday. But he was comfortable that way. And not being worried so much about the velocity. But he’s got a chance. Physically, he’s got all the tools. He’s got all the skills physically. It’s one of the better pitcher’s bodies in our organization.

“He’s got huge hands. He’s probably got as big of hands as I’ve ever seen on a pitcher. I quit shaking hands with him. He’s got those great broad shoulder patterns.”

Trumbo is off today and will play first base Monday at extended spring training. The Orioles will decide later if he should stay in Sarasota or begin his injury rehab assignment.

“I know he and we are cautious about not rushing this,” Showalter said. “I know in the past with the Angels he said he rushed it one time and it really set him back, so I’m going to really have a lot of confidence in what he’s telling us. He’s close to going out, but I’m not going to say for sure it’s imminent after Monday, but I’m hoping it is.”

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