Orioles first baseman Chris Davis was out of the starting lineup for the fourth straight game Thursday, and it seems likely that his playing time will continue to decline as the club heads into the final month of the season.
Manager Brandon Hyde said before Thursday night’s game that getting Davis into the lineup will get tougher when the roster limit expands in September and the club has more young players to evaluate under major league conditions.
“There are people we want to see and there are at-bats that we want to give to guys,” Hyde said. “I’m going to continue to pick my spots with CD. We’ve had conversations about it. I don’t think he’s swung the bat this year the way he wanted to and I think there are adjustments he needs to make and he’s aware of that.”
Davis declined to talk about the situation, but it’s clear that the club is focused on putting him in position to come back to spring training next year better equipped to reclaim the offensive approach that made him one of the most feared hitters in baseball before the statistical roof fell in on him. He’s batting .179/.270/.312 with nine home runs and 32 RBIs this season.
“We’ve had a lot of discussions with him as well as [executive vice president/general manager] Mike [Elias] about planning out his offseason and some things we want to see him improve on. We’re continuing to have those.”
“He understands,” Hyde said. “I think you see him in the dugout supporting our guys. I’ve seen him pull some guys aside who have done some things on the bases that haven’t been appropriate or right. He has done a really nice job. He’s been great in the clubhouse and he’s handled this situation really well.”
Trumbo headed to Norfolk
Injured slugger Mark Trumbo will begin a five-game rehabilitation stint with Triple-A Norfolk in the hope of proving himself healthy enough to rejoin the O’s for the final month of the season.
Trumbo has been working his way back from a serious knee injury since last September and has had to back off on his aggressive rehab program a couple of times because of recurring discomfort.
“I’m hoping,” he said. "Until you get out there, the feedback’s really been apparent in game action. I’d like to think that the time — kind of the the window I’m in now — was the one that was recommended prior to surgery ... about a year. September 7th of this year will be one year.
“People who know a lot more than me said that’s when things should start to feel a little more normal.”
Smith. Jr. optioned to Norfolk
The Orioles announced before the game that outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. had been reinstated from the 10-day injured list and optioned to Norfolk.
He’ll be eligible to return when the roster expands Sept. 1.
Alberto’s modest HR goal
Soon after he hit his ninth home run of the season Wednesday night, Hanser Alberto revealed that he is just one away from the goal he set at the start of the season.
Even for a guy who came out of nowhere to rank fourth in the American League with a .317 batting average, that seems like a modest goal, but Alberto was quick to make sense of it.
“I never hit more than nine in the minor leagues,” he said. “So hitting 10 up here seemed pretty good.”
Especially since he had no reason to believe he would be playing every day in the majors after being designated for assignment four times during the offseason before settling in with the Orioles in the spring.