TORONTO — Before the Orioles’ afternoon game against the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday, third baseman Renato Núñez and shortstop Tim Beckham did some early defensive work with bench coach Bobby Dickerson, getting some additional repetitions to get used to each other.
The left side of the Orioles infield had two defensive breakdowns in the bottom of the 10th inning Friday night that cost the Orioles the game in an 8-7 loss to the Blue Jays. Both plays were ruled singles — Russell Martin’s ground ball that Beckham charged before rushing a bad throw to first and Aledmys Díaz’s grounder that hit off Núñez’s glove and past Beckham into left field to allow Martin to score the winning run — but they were makeable plays.
But a key component to the Orioles’ rebuild will be patience, and manager Buck Showalter said it will take time for the pair to get adjusted to each other.
“Both of them are out there working with Bobby right now trying to get comfortable,” Showalter said before Saturday’s game. “It’ll take a little while. With a guy like Núñez, I’ll leave him alone and let him play a little bit. There are things we do and say to him that we don’t advertise. We’ve seen a lot of players come and go this year. We’ll settle in. It’s one of those things you really evaluate in a couple weeks.”
Núñez was called up Friday to take Manny Machado’s vacated infield roster spot and started at third base. Beckham, who was the team’s primary shortstop last season, was returning to the position this season for the first time to replace Machado, who was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday.
Cashner to return from DL feeling fresh
Orioles right-hander Andrew Cashner said his brief stint on the disabled list was more about maintenance than any injury, and he will return from the DL on Sunday to make his first start of the second half pain-free.
After his last start July 10, Cashner received a pressure-point injection in his neck and the team placed him on the DL with a neck strain. The injection was well-timed as Cashner missed just one start.
“Yeah I think it was more maintenance than it was an injury,” Cashner said. “I had a chance to get ahead of something. I was just feeling some discomfort and I think, I’ll be able to post the rest of the way.”
Cashner said he’s regularly received some kind of injection during the All-Star break.
“Typically every All-Star break I get injections,” Cashner said. “Where it’s at depends on how I feel. … I think for everybody [the break] a chance to feel pain free. I think that’s the thing for me.”
Cashner said he threw over the break with teammate Alex Cobb on Tuesday and Wednesday to keep his arm loose, and had a work day during the team’s workout in Toronto on Thursday.
“It’s something I’ve dealt with before and it’s something that when you feel something, you try to get ahead of it and get some kind of relief before it gets worse.”
Fry impressing Showalter
Left-hander Paul Fry suffered his first major league loss Friday, the hard-luck loser after the Orioles’ 10th-inning defensive breakdown, but continued to show signs of promise in his short stint with the major league club.
Fry allowed the two grounders that were ruled hits and struck out two while walking one.
In nine outings, Fry has allowed just two earned runs over 10 innings, posting a 1.80 ERA.
Fry entered a tie game with the winning run on third and two outs in the ninth and struck out left-handed hitting slugger Justin Smoak to send the game to extra innings. In that at-bat, Fry fell behind 2-0 on a pair of sliders in the dirt, but then got three straight strikes, finishing Smoak off by getting him to swing through a high fastball.
“He’s got that little late come-again action on the fastball,” Showalter said. “Now what happens when you get through that ambush state? A lot of guys really don’t know him. We talk a lot in the meetings, ‘OK you have to play this guy’s velocity up.’ He’s 90-91 but you’ve got to play it up because of the late life and late recognition on it with the breaking ball.”
The biggest key to Fry’s early success — other than a deceptive delivery and late break on his slider that has made hitters that haven’t seen him before uncomfortable — is his improved command. He’s averaged 3.8 walks per nine innings over his minor league career, and opening the season at Double-A Norfolk, Fry averaged 5.2 walks per nine, a number he lowered to 1.5 at Triple-A Norfolk and 0.9 with the Orioles.
Around the horn
The Orioles announced their starters for next week’s home series against the Red Sox. Kevin Gausman will start against Boston’s Rick Porcello on Monday. Yefry Ramírez and Drew Pomeranz start on Tuesday and Dylan Bundy matches up against David Price on Wednesday. … Adam Jones recorded his 29th multihit game this season and is hitting .298 in 48 road games. … With Saturday’s loss, the Orioles have lost six straight at Rogers Centre.