DETROIT -- The kid gloves are off Jonathan Schoop, as the second baseman started a third consecutive game Sunday for the first time since returning from the disabled list on July 5, and he showed no signs of fatigue in the Orioles' 9-3 victory over the Tigers.
Schoop, who missed 2 1/2 months with a right knee injury, blasted a three-run homer off Justin Verlander in the fourth inning as part of a 2-for-4 afternoon. He went 6-for-12 in the weekend series and is 11-for-32 (.344) with three homers and seven RBIs since returning from the DL.
"He feels good," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Schoop, who has four multihit games and has hit safely in seven of nine games. "I think the break and talking with him a little bit, he wanted to keep going. It was more [head athletic trainer] Richie Bancells and my decision [to take it slow] more than anything else. The gloves are off him. He's at that point now where he doesn't even think about it."
Schoop made a leaping grab in the ninth inning of Saturday's 3-0 win and said Sunday that though he's happy with the way he's hitting, there's still improvements to be made. And he will get ample opportunity for that as Showalter said the 23-year-old will not have any more restrictions on his playing time as the team is confident the knee injury is behind him.
"It was really good," Schoop said of the way his knee has responded. "The rehab games helped me a lot because I got a lot of playing time to test myself out. And I felt really good about it. I feel stronger than before [the injury]."