Lough is batting .169 this year and is 5-for-36 in his past 19 games. He wasn’t in the starting lineup against the Cleveland Indians on Friday or Saturday, with Nelson Cruz playing left field and Delmon Young filling the designated hitter spot.
Lough is starting in left field and batting eighth Sunday.
"I got kind of frustrated for" Lough, Showalter said Friday. “It looked like he was really putting some good at-bats together for two straight games. … We’ve seen what he’s capable of, not only last year with Kansas City, but we saw it in the spring. We know it’s there.”
Lough’s biggest contribution of the series’ first three games came in the seventh inning of Thursday’s 8-7 loss, in which he leaped at the wall to rob a three-run home run from Indians slugger Carlos Santana.
The Orioles acquired the speedy outfielder this offseason in a trade that sent Danny Valencia to the Kansas City Royals. Lough hit .286 with 17 doubles in 96 games last season and had an impressive spring, but he has struggled to find playing time of late.
“I don’t think I’m frustrated at all,” Lough said before Saturday's game, which he entered as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning before grounding out in his only at-bat. “I think it’s just a timing thing. Everybody goes through struggles. This is basically the first time that I’ve actually been through something like this. I’ve just got to fight through it.”
Even if the outfielder’s misfortunes at the plate continue, Showalter values Lough’s left-handed bat and speed off the bench, which could prove useful when the Orioles visit the National League’s Milwaukee Brewers beginning Monday. Eventually, the manager thinks, Lough will regain his 2013 form.
“It seems like every time he’s trying to be selective, it’s a good pitch to hit, and every time he’s trying to be aggressive, it’s a bad pitch to hit,” Showalter said. “This game’s really unkind to you when you’re trying to get it all back in one game.”Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun