BALTIMORE -- Back in the ballpark where his baseball career blossomed, Jonathan Schoop sat in the visitor’s dugout at Oriole Park on Saturday afternoon, peered onto the field and grew wistful.
“I miss it a bit,” Schoop said. “Now I get to watch the game from the other side. It’s a different view.”
Seemingly unchanged but for the Twins gear he wore, Schoop spoke glowingly of his time in Baltimore prior to his first appearance at Camden Yards as a visiting player. Then he went out and reminded them of the past, excelling over the entirety of Saturday’s doubleheader.
Schoop doubled and scored in three at-bats in the Twins’ 6-5 Game 1 win, and homered twice as part of the eight-homer barrage Minnesota used to secure a 16-7 victory in Game 2. Schoop launched a three-run shot off Mike Wright in the fourth, and added a solo shot in the ninth off Chris Davis, whom he so often shared a lineup with.
All told, Schoop went 4-for-8 with four runs scored and four driven in over Saturday’s twin bill, during which he also received a standing ovation from the announced crowd of 28,409.
“I spent a lot of time here,” Schoop said. “The city is good. The fans are good. I can’t complain. It’s weird to come back, but a good weird.”
The strangeness hit Schoop on Friday night, when, after the series opener was postponed due to rain, he went to his favorite local restaurant and then returned to the Twins' hotel, instead of returning to his house as he would when he lived in Baltimore. The scene underscored the new reality for Schoop, who was traded to the Brewers last July and signed a one-year, $7.5 million contract with Minnesota this winter. Schoop said he’d have been open to returning to the Orioles as a free agent, had the opportunity presented itself.
“I was thinking about coming back, but [the Twins] were the team that gave me the chance,” Schoop said. “I was thinking about it, but [Baltimore] never reached out.”
Schoop earned an All-Star selection in 2017 and played key roles on the Orioles' playoff teams of '14 and '16. He called that '14 run his “best moment." That year, Schoop, an everyday player for the first time, was a big part of the American League East division-champion team that reached the AL Championship Series.
All told, Schoop hit .261 with 106 home runs and a .747 OPS over parts of six seasons with the Orioles, who signed him as a teenager out of Curacao in 2008.
From the trainer's room
One of the Orioles’ injured pitchers is nearing a return. Nate Karns, who has been on the injured list with a right forearm strain since April 9, began a rehab assignment on Saturday at Triple-A Norfolk. The right-hander allowed three runs on two hits and walked two over 1/3 of an inning in the Tides’ 6-5 win over Charlotte.
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said Karns would make at least three appearances with the Tides before possibly returning. The club is taking special note of Karns’ fastball velocity, which dropped into the high 80s earlier this month. After missing much of the past two years with various arm injuries, Karns is 0-1 with a 0.00 ERA across four appearances this season.
CD heating up
Saturday marked another notable day for Davis, his ninth-inning mound cameo aside.
Back in the starting lineup for Game 1 for the first time since last weekend due to a stomach virus, Davis rid himself of two more hitless streaks by collecting his first hit at Camden Yards and first off a left-hander this season.
Davis doubled in the third and singled off southpaw Taylor Rogers in the eighth, the latter marking his first hit off a left-hander since Sept. 4; Davis had been 0-for-11 against lefties this season.
Davis is now 7-for-17 (.411) overall since breaking his historic hitless streak last weekend. Davis, who didn’t start Game 2, raised his batting average to .140 with the performance.
He didn’t start game two, but he more or less finished it, in more historic fashion. Davis’ second career pitching appearance marked the 11th time a position player has pitched for the Orioles. Beside the homer to Schoop, Davis allowed a Byron Buxton double and struck out Ehire Adrianza, with his fastball topping out at 85.9 mph, per Statcast.