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Orioles notes: Slumping Chris Davis back to the bench against Boston's lefties

Jon Meoli
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

With left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez on the mound Tuesday night for the Boston Red Sox and Chris Sale scheduled to pitch a day later, Orioles manager Buck Showalter left Chris Davis out of the lineup Tuesday and said this was likely another opportunity to give Davis an extended spell on the bench amid his continued struggles.

"Well, we're trying a lot of things," Showalter said. "Chris isn't the only one. ... We've got multiple guys struggling compared to what they're capable of, we think. But he's been challenged for an extended period of time. Part of it is that, and part of is kind of my decision."

After going 0-for-5 with three strikeouts in Monday's 2-0, 12-inning loss to the Red Sox, Davis is batting .150/.227/.227, with his most recent home run coming May 9. Since then, he's 10-for-88 (.114) with 43 strikeouts in 95 plate appearances. He most recently sat for two straight games in Toronto on Friday night and Saturday.

While Showalter's refrain has constantly been that the team is trying to get Davis back on track in a variety of ways, he wouldn't go into how drastic those have been.

"I don't think that's fair to him," Showalter said. "It's tough, in a business that you want this instant return. It's like years ago, Rick Down was a first-year hitting coach in New York and he had great ideas — as good a hitting coach as you ever want to see.

"The only thing I cautioned him with big league hitters is be careful coming in so strong right out of the chute, the first day in the cage in spring training because they'll be receptive, but if they don't get this instant return, it's going to be a while until you're going to be able to get in there again. You kind of watch them and take things in and sooner or later, they're going to come over to you and say, hey, what do you think? Then you got them. Because if they don't get an instant return, sometimes at this level, I think the players are so talented, there's some things that he and hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh] and [assistant hitting coach Howie Clark] do, sometimes there's not that instant return that doesn't always come. Sometimes, it's on to the next thing. Sometimes, that can be tough, too. It's true with everybody, not just Chris."

Even so, Showalter said they've "reached deep into the hat" to try to find solutions to their myriad hitting problems this year. For Davis, the end goal is to get him back to his old form, even if that's a long way from where he is now.

"I think we all [think] it's pretty obvious — just a better, not purely statistical, but just [be] more productive," Showalter said. "Chris is a very productive, run-producing guy who's a good defender. That's what you'd like to see, to be able to be in the middle of our lineup producing runs again."

Rasmus return unclear

Outfielder Colby Ramsus (hip) has eight days remaining on his rehab assignment, Showalter said, and he might not be activated until that time is up.

"He's eligible anytime, but the end of his rehab is [June] 20th," Showalter said. "So, anytime between now and the 20th. That's the way I have it figured. I could be wrong. That's what I've got on the board, between now and the 20th."

Rasmus came off the bench Monday for High-A Frederick and wasn't in the lineup for the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader. He's 4-for-28 over eight rehab games between Frederick and Double-A Bowie.

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