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Orioles notes: Chris Davis progresses in rehab; Jonathan Schoop wants to help at short

Orioles first baseman Chris Davis made a significant step in his recovery from a right oblique strain before Friday's game in Minnesota, taking live batting practice as well as grounders and short-hop throws at first base.

Provided Davis doesn't have any abnormal soreness from Friday's baseball activities, Orioles manager Buck Showalter is optimistic that the slugger will be able to be activated from the disabled list for the team's first game after the All-Star break July 14 at home against the Chicago Cubs.

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"If he gets through the level of swings he's taken out here, I feel pretty confident he will be OK to start a week from Friday," Showalter said.

Davis, who went on the DL on June 14, is scheduled to have a day off Saturday, then have one more day of baseball activities Sunday before beginning a brief minor league rehabilitation assignment. Davis is scheduled to play Monday at High-A Frederick and Wednesday at Low-A Delmarva, before participating in Thursday's pre-second half workout prior to officially rejoining the club for Friday's game.

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"I actually thought we could send him to Frederick and start early, but talking to our trainer, the trainer said you can't do that," Showalter said. "You have to see how he feels after the strenuousness of today, so we'll see how he is tomorrow."

But Friday's activities were Davis' most important to date, especially since he was taking hard swings for the first time.

"I think the biggest test is probably going to be tomorrow, what I feel like tomorrow, from what I hear," Davis said. "But I felt fine today. I swung as hard as I could for a long time, so I feel pretty good. … Hopefully, there's no soreness. It would be extremely frustrating to find out tomorrow if I'm really sore after basically sitting around for three weeks just doing nothing except exercises to strengthen that area."

Schoop eager to help at shortstop: Though it was only for one inning, Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop embraced the opportunity to move to his original position of shortstop in the bottom of the eighth inning of Thursday's 6-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

With the addition of infielder Johnny Giavotella, who only plays second base, Showalter said he could shift Schoop to shortstop on occasion to get Giavotella's bat in the lineup. Giavotella was fourth in the Triple-A International League in hitting at the time of his call-up Thursday.

"It was fun," Schoop said. "It was fun to be there for just a little bit. At least I can say I've played shortstop in the major leagues. I signed as a shortstop. Now I can say I played shortstop in the big leagues.

When things start to go as bad as they now are for the Orioles, you’re looking for anything to pull a positive from.

"It felt good. I just wanted to get a ball to show I can still play there. I'm ready for it. I'm ready to play there and do anything to help the team. If they need me to do it to help the team, I'm ready to do it."

Schoop hasn't played shortstop since the Arizona Fall League after the 2013 season — he played 11 games there for Surprise that offseason — and hasn't played shortstop on a consistent basis since making 37 starts there for Double-A Bowie in 2012.

Schoop was signed as a shortstop out of Curacao at the age of 16.

"I've still got it," he joked.

Around the horn: Showalter said he exchanged text messages with Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona, who underwent a cardiac ablation procedure for an irregular heartbeat and won't be able to manage next week's All-Star Game in Miami. Asked whether he believed health problems could lead to Francona retiring, Showalter said, "I don't think so at all. I hope not. We need more guys like Terry. Boy do we need people like Terry." … Schoop's three-hit game Thursday was his fourth game of at least three hits this season and his 28th multihit game, which is second most on the team.

eencina@baltsun.com

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