Orioles first baseman Chris Davis hit his 35th homer of the season in Wednesday’s 8-5 win over the Royals, but Davis’ tremendous run-production numbers -- he is second in the majors in homers and second in the American League with 91 RBIs -- have been accompanied by some big strikeout numbers.
Davis leads the majors with 165 strikeouts and is on pace for 212 on the season, and while Orioles manager Buck Showalter admitted Thursday he wishes that total was lower, it comes with the territory.
“Don’t think that Chris is [not caring],” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “It bothers him. … Nobody [accepts it]. I’d like to see him hit .300 and strike out 50 times a year. I’d like to see him never strike out. He would too. There always some things that come with it. You might have a tremendous fielding shortstop who can’t hit, a plus-plus runner who doesn’t have much power.
"We’re always trying to look to make everybody perfect. I wish it was that way, that it was that simple. It’s been a challenge for him, but the production has been there. If you take away the batting average later year, his run production [was there]. That’s why there’s so much demand around baseball. It’s hard.”
Showalter said that a significant number of Davis’ homers this season have come on pitches out of the strike zone, so you don’t want to take away too much of his slugger’s aggressiveness at the plate.
“I’ll take the contact-to-damage ratio, but there are so many times that you’d got a man on third and one out and the infield back, but you have to swing the bat to hit 35 home runs,” Showalter said. “Another thing is when you have so much power with so many different pitches. I’m sure you could go back and look at the 35 home runs and I’ll bet you to 15 to 20 of them were balls. And Chris’ walk totals are up. He’s among the league leaders in walks. It’s funny to me, a guy can be hitting .200 but if he’s got a lot of power, his walk totals will be up.”
Shortstop J.J. Hardy, on the disabled list with a left groin strain, is slated to rejoin the team on Friday in Texas. Hardy is slated to receive a platelet-rich plasma injection today in Baltimore and fly to Texas on Friday morning. The Orioles hope he can resume some sort of light baseball activities early next week. He is eligible to come off the disabled list on Sept. 8.
The Orioles will make at least one roster move on Friday, activating catcher Steve Clevenger from the three-day paternity list. Clevenger, who was in Baltimore for the birth of his first child, will fly into Texas Friday morning and be activated before Friday’s game.
The team will face three left-handed starting pitchers in Texas, so they could be aided by an additional right-handed outfield bat to go along with Steve Pearce. Cuban outfielder Dariel Alvarez -- who has enjoyed a strong season at Triple-A Norfolk -- could be that player, but Alvarez was not with the club on Thursday in Kansas City. Alavarez was already to be one of the players the Orioles promote when rosters expand on Sept. 1
Since Norfolk’s season doesn’t end until Sept. 7, whoever is sent down to the minors in a corresponding move on Friday must still serve a mandatory 10 days in the minors before returns (unless it is a part of a DL move). Players can rejoin the big league club after the minor league regular season ends without having served those full 10 days.
Orioles minor league RHP Tyler Wilson will throw a 45-50 pitch bullpen session today in Sarasota. It will be the first time Wilson, currently on the minor-league seven-day disabled list, throws off a full mound.
Also, outfielder Nolan Reimold, who was designated for assignment Monday, cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Norfolk on Thursday. He could have refused the assignment to become a free agent, but will likely be called back up in September.
After Thursday’s game, the Orioles optioned right-handed reliever Jorge Rondon to Norfolk. Rondon allowed one run in two innings Thursday and pitched two scoreless innings Monday. He has allowed one run in 7 1/3 innings with the Orioles this season.