As Orioles first baseman Chris Davis missed his seventh straight game Wednesday night to help him rediscover his form and return to some modicum of productivity, manager Buck Showalter shot down the idea that his former All-Star slugger was following a path the team has already used for a struggling hitter before: outfielder Hyun Soo Kim.
After Kim, no longer in the organization, struggled with major league velocity and same-side pitching in his first spring training in 2016 after signing from South Korea, Showalter and the Orioles kept him out for long stretches to try to find the proper pitching matchups that could get Kim a good feeling in between his batting practice work.
Showalter said that once Davis returns to the lineup — something he’s “thinking in the next couple of days, for sure” — he’ll be in it for good.
“Whether we’re facing a left-hander or right-hander, when I think it’s time, then he’s going to play,” Showalter said. “He’s going to play every day and unless he needs a day here or there or somebody else is really in need of playing — this will be a team thing. But the potential to get Chris back where he’s capable of is certainly a priority.”
Showalter gave some insight into how the team has gone about getting to that point, though nobody can t know for sure until it’s tried in a game.
“Proof’s in the pudding, right?” Showalter said. “Like a lot of guys, he’s been able to kind of back off without the game there, and really working on some things and trying to get some return.
“We’ve had some pitchers from the [High-A] Frederick club throwing to him in a lot of game situations, and being able to do a lot of things, not only hitting, but some other things where we hopefully kind of get a reset button on him and do a lot of things that take more than just a day or so. If you or we or all of us are expecting there to be an instant return, I think that’s the wrong approach to it. But [we’re] trying to get Chris back to some things that he’s capable of.”
Davis is batting .150/.227/.227, with his last home run coming May 9.
Rasmus rehab over
With a home run and a single in the first game of Double-A Bowie’s doubleheader at Harrisburg on Wednesday, outfielder Colby Rasmus (hip) hit the end of his 20-day rehabilitation assignment, and the team must decide what to do with him.
“I believe we have 48 hours,” Showalter said. “I’m not sure how Dan [Duquette, executive vice president] is going to approach that for sure yet. He won’t be playing down there, I think, anymore. We’ll prepare for him to come here, and if there’s a chance he’s not, we’ll adjust.”
If the Orioles don’t add him to the 25-man roster — sparing them removing a younger player — Rasmus would need to be designated for assignment.
Around the horn
After allowing a run on three hits in three innings last Thursday and pitching to that same line Tuesday in four innings for Bowie, right-hander Gabriel Ynoa is nearing a return, Showalter said. His next outing, covering five innings, is expected to be Sunday. … Infielder Tim Beckham doubled and scored a run Wednesday for Triple-A Norfolk on a rehab assignment. He’s eligible to return Saturday in Atlanta.