Orioles first baseman Chris Davis hasn’t been in the lineup for the last four games and nine of 14, and manager Brandon Hyde conceded today that opportunities will be harder to find after the roster expands in September.
“Yeah, I think there are people we want to see and there’s at-bats that we want to give to guys,” Hyde said. “I’m just going to continue to pick my spots with CD, and we’ve had conversations about it.
“I don’t think he’s swung the bat this year the way he’s wanted to, and I think there’s some adjustments he needs to make, and he’s aware of that, and the bottom line is we’re going to continue to give some of our younger players some opportunities, especially this time of the year as we go into the offseason.”
The latest slump for Davis includes only two hits in 24 at-bats with 14 strikeouts in his last 10 games. He’s batting .179/.270/.312 with eight doubles and nine home runs in 300 plate appearances.
“We’ve had a lot of discussions with him, as well as Mike (Elias) on planning out his offseason and some things we want to see him improve on. We’re continuing to have those,” Hyde said.
“He’s been a pro the entire way, 100 percent pro. He understands, I think you see him in the dugout supporting our guys. I’ve seen him pull aside a couple guys when we’ve done some things on the bases that haven’t been appropriate or right. He’s just done a really nice job.
“He’s been great in the clubhouse and he’s handled this situation really well.”
Shortstop Richie Martin was scratched from the lineup with a sore left hand, caused by his dive into first base last night. Martin stayed in the game, but showed up today experiencing discomfort in the hand.
“Everything’s good, we’re just keeping him out for precaution,” Hyde said. “Just came in sore this afternoon.”
Martin was hit by a pitch in the second, then credited with a sacrifice bunt in the fourth as pitcher Mike Montgomery made the tag while the Rule 5 pick tried to avoid him with the dive. Martin singled in the sixth and eighth innings.
Hyde would prefer to have his players run through the bag instead of diving because of the increased risk of injury.
“Not a big fan of it, because I’ve seen so many hand injuries,” Hyde said. “It’s obviously an instinctual play. I think all studies have shown that you’re not going to get there any faster. I’ve been guilty of it, also, back in the days when I used to be able to run OK, but yeah, you’re just trying to get there so bad that it’s a little bit natural to do that. But I’d prefer our guys not to for this reason alone.”
Hyde said there’s no YouTube evidence of his first-base dives.
“It’s pre-YouTube,” he quipped. “I have a couple VHS tapes I could show. Betamax.”
The Orioles reinstated outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. from the injured list and optioned him to Norfolk. Smith homered earlier today.
Mark Trumbo said he’s hoping to join the Tides on Tuesday for his latest rehab assignment, play in around five games and come off the injured list.
Asked if he feels that he’s made progress physically, Trumbo replied, “I’m hoping.” But he won’t really know until he gets back in the Tides’ lineup.
“The window right now is the one that was recommended prior to surgery, about a year” he said. “I think September 7th of this year will be one year. I kind of think that based on people who know a lot more than me said that’s when things should start to feel a little more normal”
Trumbo hasn’t played since homering for Norfolk on July 24. The discomfort returned to the right knee and began to restrict him in the field.
Hyde said Trumbo is “itching to go play and see how it feels.”
“Hopefully everything goes well and we’re able to add him.”
Update: The Orioles took a 2-0 lead in the first inning with the help of two errors by shortstop Willie Adames and Mancini’s double.
Update II: Austin Meadows homered off Asher Wojciechowski in the third to reduce the lead to 2-1. The Orioles set the major league record with 259 homers allowed in a single season.
Update III: Adames homered in the fourth to tie the game.
Update IV: Adames’ two-run single off Miguel Castro in the sixth, after a rain delay of 2 hours and 16 minutes, gave Tampa Bay a 4-2 lead.