Orioles notes: Showalter, Duquette talk defensive shifts with rules changes possible next year

Orioles manager Buck Showalter shed some light on his work on Major League Baseball’s competition committee and the topics it has been discussing when asked at the “State of the Orioles” event Saturday about large-scale changes to the game, including defensive shifts.

“They may be getting rid of them next year,” Showalter said. “There’s been a lot of talk about just having two infielders on each side of the bag. How do you feel about that? I know Chris Davis would like that.”


While the Orioles first baseman being robbed of hits is something the team would like to see stop, considering he’s a pull hitter who entered Saturday batting .156, there are plenty of other things Showalter brought up. He talked about the possibility of expanding or contracting MLB, realignment of divisions and whether the designated hitter should continue to exist.

He said he’s on the competition committee because “when you’re as old as I am, they feel sorry for you. But a lot of those things are being discussed.”


“You find out why some things don’t happen,” Showalter said. “I call it the arteries of the decision. Very easy, let’s just get rid of the DH. What about the 15 DHs and their families? … There’s a lot of arteries to those decisions, but believe me, they’re being talked about.”

Executive vice president Dan Duquette said the Orioles will still look for well-rounded players who can do more than hit home runs to take the shift and other defensive adjustments out of play, with the philosophy staying the same.

“I like the three-run homer,” Duquette said. “Good pitching, good defense and the three-run homer. That still works. But talking about defense and the defensive positioning, three’s a lot more in it than where you put the fielders. … I think you’re probably going to see some legislation on that from the league. That’s probably going to curtail that some. But I don’t think it changes, really, the kind of players that you’re looking for. You’re looking for players who can cover ground on defense. The more ground they can cover, the more valuable they are. Players that can run quickly around the bases, and players who can hit the ball over the fence.”

Bundy ready for Sunday

Orioles right-hander Dylan Bundy, who allowed three home runs in the first two innings Wednesday before the game was postponed because of rain, pitched a light bullpen session this week and is “ready to go” for Sunday’s start.

It’s a quick turnaround, but Showalter used the short outing Wednesday as an opportunity to push back rookie Yefry Ramírez and conserve his innings. Ramírez is available in the bullpen Saturday, and will start Tuesday at the New York Yankees.

“We did a long thing, a lot of work on the innings and where guys may fall if they stay on turn or what have you,” Showalter said. “This kind of helps us a little bit with that, for Yefry and Dylan. It’s hard.”

Around the horn

Showalter said right-hander Jimmy Yacabonis, who walked five, allowed seven runs and retired two batters in a start Friday for Triple-A Norfolk, didn’t have any physical problems that caused that. … Short-A Aberdeen was rained out Friday, but outfielder Austin Hays (ankle) began his rehabilitation assignment there Saturday. … Showalter said he hopes now that second baseman Jonathan Schoop is turned around, left fielder Trey Mancini will be next.