Orioles notes: Buck Showalter says Hyun Soo Kim's lack of playing time has affected his confidence

Jon Meoli
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

As opportunities for Hyun Soo Kim have dried up in his second season with the Orioles, manager Buck Showalter said he can tell the lack of playing time is beginning to affect the left-handed-hitting outfielder at the plate.

“I think there’s probably a little less confidence, maybe,” Showalter said. “And that’s maybe not his fault, as much as it is probably [Trey Mancini’s] fault.”

Kim, who hit .302 with an .801 OPS in 95 games last year as the everyday left fielder against right-handed pitching, has seen the emergence of Mancini in left field and the acquisition of Seth Smith knock him down the depth chart.

He’s batting .227/.297/.277 in 52 games this season, but is mostly coming off the bench of late. He started three of four games before the All-Star break against the Twins in Minnesota, but has had only one pinch-hit at-bat since and wasn’t in Monday night’s lineup. Kim has two hits in 15 pinch-hit at-bats this season.

“I try to get him in there as much as I can, but you can tell there’s a little anxiety in a pinch-hitting role,” Showalter said. “He’s jumping at some things. He’s always been a really selective guy, and hasn’t tried to get out of what he does. It seems like he’s done a little bit of that, and it’s probably as much our doing as his doing.”

Harvey plan set

Right-hander Hunter Harvey’s first game back from Tommy John elbow reconstruction will be Wednesday in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, Showalter said.

“They've kind of planned him out through the end of August, September, about how far they’d like to get him and what levels and how they’re going to do it. That’s encouraging to hear. I don’t want to get into exactly what their plans are. … But he’s feeling good.”

Showalter didn’t deny the possibility that Harvey could go to the Arizona Fall League to build up his innings, but said it was on the table.

“Let’s get through square one, two, three, four, five and six,” Showalter said. “He’s got a lot of outings ahead of him before we deem that as something he should do.”

Around the horn: Right-hander Stefan Crichton (shoulder) was activated off the disabled list and optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after pitching two scoreless innings on rehabilitation in the GCL. Showalter said he and right-hander Mike Wright, who made his first rehab appearance in the GCL on Monday but allowed four runs on five hits while recording two outs, felt physically fine. … The Orioles will have a Game of Thrones Night ticket package on Aug. 22 at Camden Yards.

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