Orioles outfielder Joey Rickard was sent back to Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday after two games with the major league club, which was plenty long enough to show the improvements he made when he began the season there.

It turns out Rickard simply used his March assignment to the minors for its most basic purpose, getting back to the player who was a valuable part of the past two Orioles teams.


"It was more of a mindset — just be ready, kind of a confidence thing down there to not get sped up and learn to trust yourself a little more," Rickard said. "I let the ball get deeper and go from there. Nothing too mechanical or anything like that — just taking a step back and going from there.

Orioles first baseman Chris Davis got the weekend off to reset and make adjustments with Buck Showalter and Scott Coolbaugh as his slow start to the season has brought on more concern than ever about his performance at the plate.

"It's a pitcher's job to get you out front and get your bat, but when I'm seeing the ball, I'm taking pitches and having longer at-bats and I'm confident having longer at-bats," Rickard said. "That's kind of what happened last night and hopefully it continues going on."

Rickard walked twice in his return to the major league lineup Saturday, and had a single and a walk in four trips Sunday. He looked much more like the player who has been a spark at times for the Orioles since making the team as a Rule 5 draft pick in 2016. When things are going badly for him, he's out front on a lot of pitches and not trusting his ability to catch up to a fastball, leaving him flailing at spin. He realized that was the assessment in spring training when he was sent down.

"I always expect to be here and play well, but the way things were going, the way I was swinging it, the way I was playing wasn't up to the big league standard," Rickard said. "I agreed with that. I went down there, worked on things, and took it as a blessing in disguise."

"I just kind of learned to relax. I got sped up. Big league arms are good, but I went down there and got a chance to take a breath."

Sardiñas headed for DL

Infielder Luis Sardiñas, who entered Saturday's 9-5 loss to the Detroit Tigers as a defensive replacement, reported having lower back pain after the game, manager Buck Showalter said.

Sardiñas will go to the disabled list at some point before the Orioles resume action Tuesday in Anaheim, he said after the game.

"Luis Sardiñas came in after the game last night and had a lower back … issue, soreness," Showalter said. "He's not a whole lot better today, so we'll see where his availability is like by game time. They're working on it now. He had it some last year. Had it in '17 and '14, same thing, looking back at the history."

Showalter said before the game that the team was trying to make plans to cover for Sardiñas with another utility infielder, but with Norfolk in Charlotte and Double-A Bowie playing at Akron, it was unclear if that was possible before Sunday afternoon's game.

"We're working on that," Showalter said. "You're trying to stay legal."

Considering Danny Valencia's late hamstring problem forced Pedro Álvarez into the lineup at third base, Sardiñas absence was felt Sunday. Showalter said they'd like to make a like-for-like switch of infielders to replace him, but the Orioles also have to activate slugger Mark Trumbo (quad) off the disabled list Tuesday.

Around the horn

Trumbo had two hits and an RBI on Saturday against Charlotte in a rehab game for Norfolk Saturday, and went 0-for-4 on Sunday as the designated hitter. He's scheduled to join the team in Anaheim. ... Center fielder Adam Jones started Sunday at designated hitter to give him a day off his feet before Monday's scheduled day off, leaving the Orioles with an outfield of Rickard, Craig Gentry, and Anthony Santander.

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