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Davis rips RBI single in return to Orioles' lineup

Slugger on track for Opening day; catcher Wynns, reliever Hart optioned to Triple-A
MLB.com @Britt_Ghiroli

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles first baseman Chris Davis went 1-for-3 in his return to the lineup, batting leadoff in Sunday's 5-4 loss to the Mets as he works his way back from a right forearm injury.

Davis, playing for the first time in two weeks, had an RBI single and is batting .188 in six spring games. The plan is for Davis to get some at-bats in a Minor League game on Monday as the O's try to make sure the slugger finds his swing.

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles first baseman Chris Davis went 1-for-3 in his return to the lineup, batting leadoff in Sunday's 5-4 loss to the Mets as he works his way back from a right forearm injury.

Davis, playing for the first time in two weeks, had an RBI single and is batting .188 in six spring games. The plan is for Davis to get some at-bats in a Minor League game on Monday as the O's try to make sure the slugger finds his swing.

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"He felt good. Said he felt good. See how he feels in the morning," manager Buck Showalter said of Davis. "If he feels like he did at the end of the game, he'll go over and take some at-bats."

With Mark Trumbo (quad) on the disabled list, the Orioles will be cautious in trying to balance getting Davis consistent at-bats and ensuring he's fully recovered from the injury.

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Davis is trying to rebound from a poor 2017 season, and the club doesn't feel like his Opening Day status is in jeopardy.

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Wynns out of backup catcher battle
The Orioles' backup catching competition got a little clearer Sunday afternoon when the team optioned Austin Wynns to Triple-A Norfolk. Wynns, well liked in the organization, entered spring as a dark-horse candidate to break camp given his defense and aptitude.

"That's the kind of guy Austin is, he's pushing all the time," Showalter said. "He's always -- you know what you are getting out of him. It's one of those thing now where he needs to take a deep breath and get ready to start the season in Norfolk.

"He needs to get some consistent at-bats and start catching and relax a little bit. I think he felt coming in that [Norfolk] was probably where he was going to go, but you start seeing the way Spring Training goes; you never know. There's some things he's done that aren't characteristic of how good he can be. I think he just needs to get down there and take a breath."

Video: BAL@BOS: Wynns delivers a strike, gets Castillo

Wynns played in 14 spring games, batting .222/.391/.556 with two homers and three RBIs. The O's backup job is now down to Chance Sisco and Andrew Susac with Caleb Joseph already pencilled in for one spot.

Hart optioned to Triple-A
Bullpen candidate Donnie Hart was also optioned to Triple-A prior to Sunday's game. Hart pitched in seven Grapefruit League games, going eight innings and posting a 3.38 ERA. He allowed three earned runs on 10 hits with three walks and struck out 11. The lefty was vying to be on the O's roster, and the move could make it easier for the Orioles to keep southpaw and Rule 5 Draft pick Nestor Cortes Jr. Cortes is still in the mix for the fifth rotation spot but could also make the club's bullpen.

"[Hart's] got a couple of guys ahead of him right now, and Donnie, I think he'll work his way back into it," Showalter said.

"Donnie just needs to get back to kind of like he was when he first got here [in 2016]. Just be a little more aggressive and trust his stuff. … He's got three pitches that he can get you out with, and [they're] all the right pitch. We were telling him today. It's just the conviction you throw them with. He second guesses himself. … It's just some indecision, and I think he'll take a deep breath and just kind of trust himself a little more, but he's capable of helping us. I expect him to pitch well and get back on the map."

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Baltimore Orioles, Chris Davis, Donnie Hart