BALTIMORE -- Endy Chavez was signed during the offseason to provide speed and defense as a fourth outfielder. Now, only two months into the season, he has stepped into the role of everyday fixture with Opening Day starters Nick Markakis and Nolan Reimold on the disabled list.
The shift seemed detrimental from an Orioles perspective, as Chavez had hit .123/.153/.153 during the first two months of the season and was being asked to replace two of the team's most important bats at the top of the order.
But Chavez has acquitted himself well to this point, notching six hits in his last four games entering Saturday, when he made his sixth consecutive start in the outfield.
"I feel comfortable," Chavez said. "Just trying to do my best to help the team, especially with Markakis out. I'm trying to prove to myself that I can still play baseball."
Even as Chavez was struggling, manager Buck Showalter remained confident the proven veteran would turn it around.
Despite Chavez spending May 10-29 on the disabled list with a strained oblique, Showalter never hesitated to activate him at the soonest available moment and plug him back into the lineup.
"That's not some big step-out move by a manager," Showalter said. "He's got a great track record of being successful. I thought having the opportunity to play consistently and get healthy were two things that should play in his favor, and he's got a lot of want-to and I think he wants to show everybody the player that he has been and is capable of being."
"That's a big thing," Chavez said of Showalter's confidence in him. "That put me in more intensity that I want to do on the field because he trusts me, and I don't want to disappoint him. He treats me good, he's got confidence in me, and he believes the things I can do on the field.
"Right now I feel healthy, I'm more confident, and things started going right."