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Davis making most of few pitches to hit

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BOSTON -- Chris Davis hasn't been hitting a lot of home runs early on for the Orioles. But the first baseman isn't getting many chances.

After Monday's 7-6 win over the Red Sox, in which Davis went 1-for-2 with an RBI and two walks, the slugger pushed his team-leading total to 12 free passes. He's also been hit by pitches three times, tied for second most in baseball, to go along with just one homer and nine RBIs. In his first 17 games last year, Davis had seven long balls and 21 RBIs en route to an historic 53-homer season.

"I turned over a new leaf this year. I'm trying not to hit any more home runs this year and just walk," Davis joked. "Try to swing as few times as possible, take it easy on my body, try to get as many years out of it as possible. Yeah, guys have been pitching me differently. Who should be thanking me are the guys around me, because they're raking -- in front of me, behind me, it doesn't matter -- which is good, because they've been picking me up.

"[I've] just kind of been trying to take what they give me early on. It's kind of good and bad at the same time. Last year, I got off to the best start of my career, was locked in from Day 1 and just kind of rode it out for the whole season. This year, obviously not quite as hot as I was last year. But getting a chance to see a lot of pitches, being patient, which is not something that I'm used to."

Davis, like several of his teammates, has watched a few deep fly balls fade on the warning track as the Orioles have played in unusually cold temperatures and climates -- in Detroit, New York and Boston -- that have been steadily in the 40s during the game's start.

"It's crazy, because last year I felt so comfortable in the box that I wasn't trying to do too much, I was just letting the ball travel. And everything was leaving," Davis said. "Probably a little of that was due to the fact that we started in a dome [at Tropicana Field] where it was warm, but I'm not real upset with the way I've been swinging the bat this year. I've been taking what they give me, I'm trying to not do too much. There's been games where I've been a little impatient and try to be a little too aggressive, but for the most part, I feel like I'm doing my job right now."

Davis is riding a 17-game streak of reaching base safely -- tying his career high set last August -- and did acknowledge that opposing pitchers have done a better job of pitching inside to him and locating this year, as opposed to 2013, when Davis felt they were more going in for show.

"They have the advantage, man. When it's cold, you are trying to get the head [of the bat] out," Davis said. "I've rolled over a few pitches that were inside that I couldn't quite stay through. It's coming along. I said last year I wish I could bottle up the feeling I had; I'd be a really rich man if I could sell that. But it's part of it."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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