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Friday Bird Droppings: Where things aren’t getting better for Chris Davis

The Orioles’ much-maligned first baseman added three more strikeouts to his total yesterday, giving him 15 in 27 spring at-bats. That’s not ideal.

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MLB: Spring Training-Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Can you believe it? We are only six days from the start of the regular season. This time next week, I’ll be introducing Friday Bird Droppings like, “Boy, how about that Opening Day game yesterday? That sure was quite a (win/loss)! What a (great/terrible) performance by (Orioles player or players TBD)! Sports, am I right?”

I’ll workshop that.

Anyway, the O’s are winding down the Grapefruit League schedule and, theoretically, now is when the Birds’ expected starters should be rounding into game shape. For Chris Davis, unfortunately, that game shape looks frighteningly similar to what we saw in 2018.

Davis had four plate appearances against the Pirates yesterday. He struck out in three of them. In 33 PAs this spring, Davis has more strikeouts (15) than he has hits and walks combined (10). He has one extra-base hit, and fewer homers than Carlos Perez and Dwight Smith Jr., among others. He’s batting .148 with a .259 slugging percentage.

Granted, spring stats aren’t the be-all, end-all. In fact, they hardly mean anything. But it’s not just the numbers that are worrisome about Davis; it’s how he’s looked at the plate. If there’s any difference in his approach or his mechanics compared to last year, I haven’t seen it. He still seems overly tentative and afraid to pull the trigger, and when he does swing, his bat speed is noticeably lacking. The odds of Davis having a comeback season seem poorer by the day.

Come March 28, Davis will get another fresh start. The O’s, who aren’t competing for anything, figure to give him a bit more rope before they have to face an unpleasant decision on his future with the club. We can only hope for the best...and prepare for the worst.


Hess recovers after slow start (O’s lose 7-5, updated) - School of Roch
Some other things happened in yesterday’s Grapefruit League game besides Davis being bad. For instance, David Hess pitched pretty well and further solidified his hold on a rotation spot.

Orioles face decisions on Mark Trumbo, Jesus Sucre -
The Orioles’ official decision on Mark Trumbo’s health status is basically, “We literally could not care less. Play for us, don’t play for us, stay on the injured list...just do whatever, dude.”

Getting that coaching call: An inside look from Orioles staff on learning they were headed to the majors – The Athletic
The Orioles’ new coaching staff includes a lot of guys who paid their dues in the minors for a long time, and Dan Connolly has their stories. I like that Jose Flores, upon being hired, tried to prevent his wife from looking up the Orioles’ record last year.

Baltimore Orioles: Eight Days Until Opening Day And Eight Wishes - Birds Watcher
The 2019 season doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. Nick Stevens offers eight wishes that, if they came true, would put a much more positive complexion on the Orioles’ campaign. I would add wish No. 9: the Orioles finally announce a Gary Thorne/Jim Palmer dual bobblehead promotion.

Working on a strong spring, Paul Fry looks to cement roster spot - Steve Melewski

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! One Oriole currently at spring training is celebrating his big day today: Andrew Susac, who turns 29. Susac, a non-roster invitee, is hitting decently in Grapefruit League play — 5-for-18 with three extra-base hits — but will probably be edged out of the backup catcher competition by Jesus Sucre or (if healthy) Austin Wynns. Still, happy birthday, Andrew. It’s also the birthday of 2013 damaged-goods first baseman Mike Morse (37) and the late 1957 third baseman Billy Goodman, who would have been 93 today.

On this day in 1981, O’s manager Earl Weaver was suspended three games by AL president Lee MacPhail — the Orioles’ former GM — for removing his team from the field in a spring training game because he was upset the umpires didn’t provide him with an official batting order. So if you thought Earl was a more mellow guy in spring training, apparently not.