BALTIMORE — Less than two hours before the series opener against Boston on Tuesday, the Orioles made some interesting defensive changes to their originally-posted lineup.
Presumably wanting to improve his overall defensive alignment, manager Buck Showalter shifted first baseman Chris Davis to right field, designated hitter Steve Pearce to first base, and right fielder Mark Trumbo to the DH spot. With Trumbo’s limitations in the outfield not exactly a secret and the Red Sox using five left-handed batters against Orioles starter Yovani Gallardo, Davis brings more athleticism to right. Pearce is also considered an above-average defensive first baseman, meaning there should be little to no drop-off in moving Davis out of the position.
Before the flexor mass tendon in his right arm flared up last week, Pearce appeared on track to start in right field with Trumbo serving as the DH against left-handed starters. It remains unclear when Pearce’s elbow will be healthy enough to play the outfield again, but he is apparently able to play first base where the need to make high-stress throws is usually limited.
Of course, playing right field isn’t completely foreign to Davis, who has made 57 career starts there and 29 last season. His last start at the position came on Sept. 8, 2015.
Davis made 28 starts in right field in 2012 in place of an injured Nick Markakis and even started there in the postseason.