Manager John Oates said "there is no timetable" for Glenn Davis' return to a Baltimore Orioles uniform after the first baseman played his first game on rehabilitation assignment last night.
"He will commute to Hagerstown, and we'll see how it goes. He'll be here tomorrow for observation and consultation and then go back there [tomorrow]. We'll play it by ear from there on," said Oates.
Davis was the designated hitter, batting cleanup, for the Class AA Suns last night. Hagerstown is in a battle to make the Eastern League playoffs and is involved in a major series against the league-leading Harrisburg Senators.
He had not played in a live game since April 24 and has been on the disabled list since April 26 with damage to the spinal accessory nerve in his neck.
Before he left Memorial Stadium early yesterday afternoon, Davis said he is going to "get four at-bats tonight and let that be my workout for the day. I'll report back here tomorrow and see how I feel.
"Then if everything is OK, and I feel like I'm ready to go, I'll go back and play there on a regular basis. I'll DH at first, then gradually play defensively."
Oates said the process will involve one step at a time rather than have Davis "jump in there all at once."
The slugger has been taking batting practice since receiving medical clearance in California after the All-Star break.
"Our doctors have talked to some of his doctors and were told if he's not feeling pain or discomfort, then they saw no problem in playing now," said Oates. "He can do whatever he feels."
The Suns launched a 10-game homestand Friday night, but the manager said "there's always a chance" Davis will join the Orioles on their next road trip starting Friday in Milwaukee.
"This should get me comfortable facing live pitching again," said Davis. "I want to see what it's like to be in a game situation again. I need to begin adjusting my timing and rhythm."
Davis hinted that he will play again for the Orioles, declaring: "There is still a month and a half left, and I'd like to help this ballclub achieve some degree of respect from the rest of the league."
At first, surgery was recommended for the injury, but that was ruled out after Davis sought additional medical opinions. It was feared he might be lost for the season at that point.
Good stuff, bad execution
Mike Mussina was critical of himself after his second outing against the Chicago White Sox went poorly -- a reversal of the first.
"I was making it rough on myself," he said. "I had pretty good stuff, but I didn't use it effectively. I was in trouble every inning and had to pitch my way out."
Mussina lasted 3 1/3 innings and allowed 11 hits in the Orioles' 7-4 defeat after a 46-minute rain delay at the start.
"The delay didn't help," he said. "That's the first time I've ever had to face that. I like to avoid it in the future."
Oates said the White Sox jumped on Mussina's fastball early in the count and the pitcher agreed. "They did that," he said. "But I kind of let them do it."
Gomez takes a rest
Oates gave third baseman Leo Gomez the day off yesterday, starting Tim Hulett.
"We've got a left-hander going tomorrow [today]," explained Oates. "And the last time Leo came back and played pretty well after a day off.
"Sometimes, mentally a day off when the team is playing can do wonders. It can give you a real lift."
Gomez is batting .149 in his last 14 games and .177 since the All-Star break, but Oates has no thoughts of benching him.
The Orioles took some batting practice off a pitching machine last night "to try to get situational hitting down," said Oates. "We have done a poor job of bunting, hitting and running, getting guys in from third with less than two out.". . . . Chito Martinez still was nursing a hamstring injury, but was available to hit. . . . Left-hander Wilson Alvarez has been recalled from the Class AA Birmingham Barons to start today's game for the White Sox. He was 10-6 with a 1.83 ERA for the Barons and struck out 165 in 152 1/3 innings. . . . Oates said he will decide tomorrow on a starter for the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Texas Rangers.