Orioles first baseman Chris Davis has lost his role as a regular, at least for now, Joe Trezza of MLB.com writes. Manager Brandon Hyde said he’ll “continue to pick my spots” when it comes to playing Davis, who’s nearing the conclusion of a second straight horrific campaign and the end of the fourth season of a seven-year, $161MM contract. The rebuilding Orioles are aiming to give more at-bats to young players and a possibly returning Mark Trumbo than Davis, owner of a .179/.270/.312 line in 300 plate appearances this season. Notably, the 33-year-old Davis got into a dugout altercation with Hyde on Aug. 7, and has started just five games since. But Hyde complimented Davis on Thursday, saying that “he’s been a pro the entire way — 100% pro. He understands. He’s been in the dugout supporting our guys. He’s been real great in the clubhouse and he’s handled this situation really well.”
More from the AL…
- After re-signing with the Yankees on a two-year, $34MM contract last winter, left-hander J.A. Happ has trudged through a rough season. The Athletics pummeled the 36-year-old on Wednesday over four innings, scoring five runs on four hits (including two homers) and a pair of walks. Factoring in that performance, Happ has pitched to a sky-high 5.58 ERA/5.69 FIP over 129 innings this season. “I haven’t struggled like this in a while,” Happ admitted after the Oakland loss, though he and manager Aaron Boone expressed hope the hurler will be able to right the ship this season (via Ken Davidoff of the New York Post). Even though Happ has been undependable, the World Series-contending Yankees have no choice but to run him out there, as they’re lacking better alternatives, Davidoff observes. Happ’s woes are among the reasons New York appears set to enter the playoffs with an iffy-looking rotation.
- Angels righty Keynan Middleton is nearing a return to their bullpen, Maria Torres of the Los Angeles Times tweets. Middleton hasn’t pitched in the majors since May 2018, when he underwent Tommy John surgery, and has dealt with multiple setbacks during his recovery process. Just last month, mild ulnar neuritis forced Middleton to temporarily shut down his rehab. When healthy from 2017-18, Middleton looked like a potential building block for the Halos’ bullpen. The hard-throwing 24-year-old owns a 3.43 ERA/4.24 FIP with 9.36 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 76 major league innings.
- Meanwhile, injured Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons could rejoin the club for its weekend series in Houston, though he’s not a lock to be activated then, Torres reports. A left ankle sprain and a bone bruise have prevented Simmons from playing since Aug. 2. He also missed a little over a month earlier this season with a sprain in that ankle, but the nature of the injury isn’t the same this time. While Simmons was durable from 2017-18 – arguably the two best offensive seasons of the defensive master’s career – his production at the plate has gone backward during this injury-plagued year. Simmons will try to improve on the .274/.315/.382 line he has put up across 305 PA when he returns.