Before Monday's game against the Texas Rangers, Orioles slugger Chris Davis joked that it might take years until he was completely comfortable playing third base.
But the club's regular first baseman, manning the other side of the infield because of Manny Machado’s suspension, didn’t look too out of place in the Orioles’ 7-1 win over the Rangers.
Starting at the position for the first time since 2011, Davis recorded four assists, receiving loud ovations for each one from the announced 15,252 at Camden Yards.
But Orioles manager Buck Showalter wasn’t impressed.
“It’s about getting your clock over there. You can tell his clock was a little off,” Showalter said. “If he played over there for a while, that would change.”
Davis, who was a regular third baseman with the Rangers from 2008 to 2011 and in the minor leagues, committed an error in the fifth inning. He rushed a throw from deep in the hole that pulled Steve Pearce off the bag at first base. The Rangers scored their only run on the play in what was otherwise an eight-inning, four-hit gem from Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez.
“Would’ve really liked to have that one back so that he could have a shutout,” Davis said.
Showalter started Davis at third base instead of Ryan Flaherty in an effort to maintain a powerful lineup while sacrificing as little as possible defensively. Davis went 0-for-4, but the Orioles delivered with four home runs.
With Pearce and designated hitter Delmon Young both hitting well above .300, Davis knew that playing third base was his ticket into the lineup. But his fielding didn’t instill much confidence in Showalter, who said he might consider different options tomorrow.
“I know [Showalter] likes to kind of mix it up and keep guys in the lineup,” Davis said. “We’ll see what happens. I’m ready for anything they throw at me.”
Wearing Machado’s glove, Davis made some nice plays Monday, including a backhand snag to retire Rangers slugger Adrian Beltre in the second inning. He threw out Beltre again in the fourth and right fielder Alex Rios to end the sixth.
“Took one of [Machado’s] gloves and turned it on, let it do the rest,” Davis said. “Screwed one up, but actually, I don’t think it was an error.”
Machado still has four of five games remaining on his suspension for throwing his bat against the Oakland Athletics on June 8, and Showalter said before Monday’s game that there are no plans to activate another infielder.
So for the next few days, Davis may stick to his temporary position, whether he’s comfortable there or not.
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