Injured first baseman Glenn Davis batted in a simulated game situation yesterday and appears to be nearing the day when he heads for the minor leagues for a short rehabilitation assignment.
Davis hit against former Baltimore Orioles reliever Kevin Hickey, who has been invited to work out with the team until he finds work with another organization.
"It's not like something's going to happen in the next two days," Davis said. "There are still a few things I need to do to get ready. But today was another test, and I passed it with flying colors."
It has been 3 1/2 months since Davis went on the disabled list with a damaged spinal accessory nerve in his neck. Manager John Oates says there is no timetable for Davis' return, but indicated that he would likely go on an injury rehabilitation assignment sometime in the next three weeks.
"I think he's going to go on a rehabilitation assignment, and that's got to be by Sept. 1," Oates said. "That's when the minor-league season ends, so there would be no place to play after that until Instructional League, and that's in October."
Oates said Davis probably would not spend more than a few days with a minor-league team before rejoining the major-league club. Davis said he might go for medical clearance before that.
"We've discussed that," he said. "Whether I go back to the West Coast or have Dr. [Charles E.] Silberstein administer the tests, they will give me a release."
Davis is finally in a position to look forward to his return to action, and he thinks he won't have any trouble overcoming the long layoff and producing at the plate.
"I haven't been sitting around all the time and not doing my homework," he said. "I've been keeping tabs on a lot of pitchers. Hopefully, that'll give me an edge."
Hickey gets work, too
Hickey pitched to live hitting for the first time since he was designated for assignment in early July. He hopes to catch on with another team or, failing that, get an invitation to spring training with the Orioles or someone else.
"I used to think that only two things were certain in this world, death and taxes," Hickey said. "Now I know there are three things -- death, taxes and my unconditional release."
Ripken undergoes tests
Second baseman Bill Ripken underwent tests yesterday to determine the cause of the tightness in his rib cage.
"He had X-rays and an EKG [electrocardiogram] to rule out some problems," Oates said. "Everything is fine. He does have a heart after all."
Ripken apparently is suffering from a muscle strain or a rib cage separation. The injury is not considered serious, but that doesn't necessarily mean that Ripken will be back in action soon. Rib cage strains can be slow to heal.
Worthington still hurting
Third baseman Craig Worthington has been in Baltimore rehabilitating the badly strained hamstring that has forced him onto the major- and minor-league disabled lists this year.
He has been on the minor-league DL since aggravating the strain in June, soon after he came off an injury rehab assignment and was optioned to the Class AAA Rochester Red Wings.
"The second time he really pulled it," Oates said. "He had some bleeding in there."
The simulated game situation yesterday also allowed Tim Hulett to get in some work behind the plate. He is the club's emergency catcher.
"It was good for Tim to get back there," Oates said.
Rookie outfielder Chito Martinez had to leave the game after three innings with a slight strain of the left hamstring and was replaced in the lineup by Brady Anderson. Martinez's condition will be evaluated on a day-to-day basis.
Mike Devereaux's 12 home runs tie him for the top spot among AL leadoff hitters. He has the most in a season for an Orioles leadoff man since Don Buford hit 19 in 1970. . . . Martinez has not gone back-to-back games without at least 1 hit.