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Buck Showalter 'not really' seeing progress at the plate from Orioles slugger Chris Davis

CHICAGO — Orioles first baseman Chris Davis entered Friday's game against the Chicago White Sox without a home run since July 10, the first-half finale, and despite signs of improvement last week, manager Buck Showalter said he's "not really" seeing anything indicative of a reversal in Davis' fortunes.

The Orioles' highest-paid player went 0-for-5 on Friday night against the Chicago White Sox and is batting .125 (8-for-64) with nine walks and 27 strikeouts in his first 18 games after the All-Star break.

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"I like the fact that he's continued to walk," Showalter said. "I think there's only four or five guys in the American League who have walked more than him. He's impacting our team every night defensively."

Davis, Showalter noted, is always a day away from breaking out. But the manager also indicated that Davis has taken a long time to fully recover from the stomach virus that swept through the Orioles clubhouse in New York in mid-July and sidelined Davis for three of four games in that series.

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"I think Chris just now is getting over some sickness and stuff," Showalter said. "He's been lessened, like a lot of our guys. He's had bronchitis, had that sickness that really hung with him for a long time. It affected everybody differently. I think as he gets that behind him, he's going to feel better. It's usually the next pitcher."

Davis entered Friday's game batting .221 with 20 home runs and 60 RBIs this season. Only five qualified batters had a lower average entering the weekend.

Double duty for Showalter: Showalter called the Orioles' Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) World Series entrant to offer encouragement Friday.

This year's Orioles team is the first to make the tournament, and lost a tight game in its tournament opener in Cincinnati on Friday.

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Around the horn: Left-hander T.J. McFarland (knee) will begin a rehabilitation assignment at an unidentified affiliate Tuesday, Showalter said. … Left-hander Chris Lee will begin playing catch on Saturday as he works his way back from lat (shoulder) soreness. … Right-hander Hunter Harvey, who had Tommy John surgery July 26, will report to Sarasota, Fla., to begin his yearlong rehab next week, Showalter said.

It was harder not to notice him back in college, when Pedro Alvarez was one of the top collegiate hitters in the country at Vanderbilt. Yet his teammate there, Ryan Flaherty, said the accompanying spotlight and attention never suited him.
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