Orioles' Jonathan Schoop continues hot July as aggressive approach pays off

Jon Meoli
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

Any lingering concern that Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop either wouldn’t be able to turn it around after his slow first three months of the season, or that he’d be affected on the field by the trade of his close friend Manny Machado, have been erased over the past few weeks.

With a home run in Tuesday night’s game against the Red Sox, Schoop has four homers in five games since the All-Star break. He entered Tuesday having raised his July batting line to .360/.355/.653.

That’s helped him raise his season average from .197 to .235, and while the turnaround started with a weekend off at the end of June, manager Buck Showalter said there wasn’t really much behind the turnaround other than Schoop’s own ability taking over.

“Jon’s a good hitter,” Showalter said. “Sooner or later — of course, we’ve been saying that a lot this year about guys with track records who just haven’t seemed to be able to get there.

“I think it’s got nothing to do with one conversation or whatever, but I think Jon’s gotten back to being more of himself, not trying to do too much. The home runs he’s hitting, he’s trying to be selective. He doesn’t let something snowball. If he has an at-bat that he [doesn’t] get a return for, he doesn’t let it snowball.”

While Schoop’s struggles earlier this season were defined by a regression from his patient approach that made him an All-Star in 2017, his recent breakout has been about him being aggressive in the right spots. Schoop is a good early-count hitter, and has been able to stay back on breaking balls more consistently in his recent spell. But having a good approach doesn’t equal walks — Schoop hasn’t walked since June 28.

He also believes the success is simply from not missing his pitches when he gets a chance.

“I’d say the results come from finding good pitches to hit and moving forward, putting a good swing and don’t miss it,” Schoop said. “It’s been great, but regardless of what I’m doing, I’m trying to do everything to help the team win. I just want to win.”

Around the horn

Outfielder Austin Hays (ankle) will begin a rehabilitation assignment in the coming days at Short-A Aberdeen, Showalter said. Hays hasn’t played for Double-A Bowie since late May. … Right-hander Cody Sedlock (shoulder) and left-hander Ryan O’Rourke (elbow) pitched on rehab in the Gulf Coast League on Tuesday. Sedlock allowed a run on two hits with three walks in an inning, and O’Rourke struck out three in an inning. … Right-hander Hunter Harvey (shoulder) is close to pitching in a rehab game, Showalter said.

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