Until Tim Beckham’s June 25 return from the disabled list, Danny Valencia had been a third baseman for the Orioles. Now he’s an outfielder, and while the adjustment has been “smooth” defensively, by his estimation, it hasn’t gone exactly swimmingly at the plate.
“Got to get used to all the running you do. Sometimes I think it takes more toll on my legs,” Valencia said. “It gets a little frustrating because, as a hitter, you want to have your legs.”
On the day of Beckham’s return, Valencia had one fruitless at-bat as a pinch hitter. The next two games, he started as a right fielder and hit a pair of homers.
His slash line entering the second game of Monday’s doubleheader against the New York Yankees was .256/.318/.437, but his stats have decayed some in the past week-plus. Since June 27, his bat has fallen mute, a break from his otherwise consistent hitting all season long. In the Orioles’ recent six-game road trip, Valencia went 0-for-14.
Then he returned home.
In the first game of Monday’s doubleheader, Valencia’s luck ticked up. In the sixth, he launched the go-ahead home run to center field — his first hit since June 27 and the two runs the Orioles needed to see their 5-4 win through.
“I've been in this game long enough to know that if you stick with your routine, have a good approach, stay positive, then things will turn. Obviously, you want to do it sooner than later,” Valencia said. “But it felt good. It's obviously been weighing on me. I'd be lying if I said it didn't. I'm happy that today, that hit put our team ahead and we were able to win the game.”
The Orioles will likely be cautious with Valencia’s legs. Two years ago, while playing for the Oakland Athletics, Valencia missed a handful of early-season games because of a hamstring injury. In late April, he was scratched from a game when the issue flared up.
“It’s been fine,” he said. “I think everything factors in a little bit. It’s something I got to get used to, the wear and tear that you put on your body playing at that position.”
Minor leaguer honored
Left-hander DL Hall, the Orioles’ first-round pick in the 2017 Major League Baseball draft, was named South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week on Monday.
Hall, 19, matched a career high Thursday with 5 2/3 innings of no-hit ball, including seven strikeouts, to lower his ERA to 2.82. He hasn’t allowed an earned run in his past three starts, a span of 14 2/3 innings.
He’s struck out 13 and allowed seven walks and six hits in that stretch.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said right-hander Alex Cobb (blister) was improving after leaving his start Sunday with a blister and split nail on his throwing hand.
“Cobb seems fine today,” Showalter said. “I don’t think that's going to be an issue for his next start. It’s still more of a callus. … Like I said yesterday, it was kind of like having a pebble in your shoe.”
Around the horn
Outfielder Craig Gentry (fractured rib) has his “symptoms improving” and is traveling to Sarasota, Fla., on Wednesday. When he’s ready, he’ll start baseball activities there, Showalter said. “I don’t think that’s too far away.” … Right-hander Pedro Araújo (shoulder) continues to throw on flat ground in Sarasota, Showalter said.