UNEDIN, Fla. – Christian Walker is playing left field for the first time as a professional on Tuesday.
With his path to first base blocked by Chris Davis, manager Buck Showalter wanted to see Walker, who’s been taking fly balls in the outfield, play in the outfield.
“It’s something we were thinking about coming in. The timing was everything with it. We hadn’t signed Pedro Alvarez at the time. Trying to get a good look at [Trey] Mancini and see which of them which one of them might fit the mold better,” Showalter said.
Because of Walker’s stronger arm, the decision was made to try him in left instead of Mancini.
“It actually got to the point where I was hoping it would, where it was as much his idea. The day I wanted to talk about it was the day he wanted to come in and talk about it,” Showalter said.
Showalter thinks Walker’s arm is more suitable for left field than right.
“His arm wasn’t an issue at first base,” Showalter said.
“Christian’s got a chance to be a good offensive performer in the big league. I love the fact that he’s always driven in runs. There’s just a little bit different gear he goes into when there’s somebody out there.”
Showalter said that even though the Orioles have Davis, Alvarez, Mark Trumbo and Ryan Flaherty to play first, Walker remains an alternative.
“He can always go back there,” Showalter said.
Who knows if he’s going to be O.K. out there? Step one is he wants to do it. He wants to be good at it.”
Walker did play some outfield at South Carolina.
“It’s not like he has no experience out there at all,” Showalter said.
Showalter, who’s using Hyun Soo Kim as the designated hitter, says that the South Korean’s offensive struggles haven’t convinced him to try Walker out there. He says it was the plan all along.
“It’s about assets. He’s just enhancing his value to us,” Showalter said.
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