CHICAGO — 3/8 TC CHICAGO -- Baltimore Orioles first baseman Glenn Davis was absent from the starting lineup for the first time this year, apparently because manager Frank Robinson wanted to give him more time to recover from a nagging hamstring strain.
"There was some bad weather today, and I think he's concerned about getting me some rest," said Davis, who was restricted to designated hitter duty on Monday night. "My hamstring has been a little tender, and I don't think they wanted to push it."
Last night's game with the Chicago White Sox at Comiskey Park was delayed by rain in the second inning.
Robinson played it coy most of the afternoon, referring all questions about Davis' condition to Davis, even though the veteran first baseman was not consulted before the lineup was posted. The manager eventually indicated that there were a number of reasons to keep Davis on the bench.
"It's all tied to the hamstring," Robinson said. "He can use the day off and there's a right-hander pitching and the weather and the condition of the field. He had a rest last night as the DH, except for one trip around the bases."
Davis isn't saying the hamstring strain has worsened over the past couple of days, but he isn't saying that it has gotten any better, either.
"It's sensitive," he said. "It's just a day-to-day thing. It might be a good time to take a day off."
Though Davis has been dogged by minor injuries since spring training (he also suffered a neck strain in early March and was hit by a pitch last week) and an early-season batting slump, he still has managed to produce at the plate. He ranks second on the team with three home runs and third with seven RBI, despite a .231 batting average.
His first career appearance as a DH was a qualified success. He homered in his first at-bat but went hitless in four subsequent trips to the plate, including a game-ending at-bat in the ninth inning.
"It started out OK," he said. "Mentally, I was just trying to fool
myself into thinking I was playing in between at-bats. I was always moving. I ran laps in the clubhouse. Everybody was laughing at me."
Ben McDonald reported no residual elbow soreness on the day after he threw 106 pitches in his first major-league start of 1991, but he said that he had one more hurdle to clear in his comeback from the elbow inflammation.
"It's just the psychological part of it that I have to get over now," he said. "Even though the pain has gone away, you expect to feel it when you follow through. Sometimes last night [Monday], I didn't follow through because of that."
The pitch count was extremely high for a 4 2/3 -inning performance, which was an indication of how much McDonald struggled with his control.
"I threw less than that against them the whole game the first time I pitched against them last year."
Right-hander Bob Milacki has done very well in three starts at the Class AA level, including a six-inning, six-hit outing Monday night. He leads the Eastern League with three victories and 15 strikeouts, but the timing of his return to the major-league level remains uncertain.
Robinson said yesterday that Milacki would be "on hold" until there was a place for him on the pitching staff, which means that he might have to wait until one of the club's five starters falters.
"His next start won't be a major-league start," Robinson said.
Relief stopper Gregg Olson was supposed to be on a restricted work schedule this season, but not this restricted. He came into last night's game with only one save opportunity and only three innings of work.
"That might be good for me in the long run," Olson said, "but the more opportunities I get, the more games we win. I'm not saying that because I'm going to save every one of them, but more opportunities mean that we'll have more leads."
Randy Milligan's start at first base was his first since he injured his shoulder last Aug. 7. He was back at first last night.
"It seems like old times," he said.
Milligan also moved down to sixth in the batting order Monday night and was there again last night.
Site: Comiskey Park, Chicago
Orioles starter: Jeff Ballard (1-1, 6.00)
White Sox starter: Charlie Hough (0-0, 4.50)
Radio: WBAL (1090 AM), WTOP (1500 AM)