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Walker ready to prove he can play in Majors

BALTIMORE -- Orioles No. 5 prospect Christian Walker is well aware of the opportunity that awaits him in Baltimore.

With Chris Davis in line to hit free agency this offseason, Walker wants to prove he can be an everyday first baseman in the Major Leagues. Now, the onus is on him to prove he can perform at that high level.

He might get his shot over the final two weeks of the season after being recalled from Triple-A Norfolk earlier this week. The Tides were eliminated from the International League semifinals on Monday against Columbus.

"Hopefully, they understand what kind of player I am," Walker said. "They understand what I can do on the field. You just hope for the best moving forward."

Walker had a solid season season at Triple-A Norfolk, batting .257/.324/.423 with 33 doubles, 18 home runs and 74 RBIs. He made one appearance for the Orioles on July 8 against the Twins and went 1-for-2.

The Orioles have been impressed with Walker's prowess at the plate. Now, the front office wants to make sure he can be a solid defender. Walker is well aware that is an area that he needed to improve.

"I really focused on that," Walker said. "That's a big priority. I really don't want that to be the reason I am not in the big leagues. I wanted to eliminate that and turn that weakness into a strength for me. I am still learning. I am still getting better. But I definitely made some strides."

Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said there are many challenges for any player trying to make the jump from the Minors to the Major Leagues. Walker has to make the most of any opportunity he may get in the final stretch of the season and then carry any of that success into Spring Training next year.

"It's is never, ever a given. It's a huge jump," Showalter said. "The thing that allows you to keep running them out there is can they defend? Can they turn a hit into an out? Can they make the plays that need to be made at this level? I think Christian has made strides."

Todd Karpovich is a contributor to
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