After 3 1/2 -month layoff, Davis is happy to be back in action

August 12, 1991|By Kent Baker

Glenn Davis acknowledges "I have my work cut out for me" in his quest to return to the Baltimore Orioles, but the early signs on his rehabilitation assignment are encouraging.

Saturday in Hagerstown, Davis faced live pitching for the first time since April 24, going 0-for-4 as the designated hitter for the Class AA Suns.

He will return to Hagerstown tonight and play there as long as he deems necessary to prepare himself for a return to the Baltimore Orioles.

Just being in a game was enough at this point for the first baseman, who has missed 3 1/2 months after suffering damage to the spinal accessory nerve in his neck.

"I think this is going to give me a totally different outlook toward the game," said Davis. "Whether I do well or bad, I'm going to have fun just putting on the uniform and walking across that line."

He hit the ball hard twice against the Harrisburg Senators, one a foul shot down the third-base line, the other a 400-foot drive to the center-field wall.

"The performance didn't really mean anything," he said. "If I had gone 4-for-4, it probably would have been detrimental. I wouldn't have had anything to work on, and three or four days down the line I might have hit a roadblock."

A leaping catch by Harrisburg's Ralph Katzaroff denied Davis an extra-base hit but gave him "a little shot in the arm. I was trying to hit the ball to right-center field, and that showed me it still jumps."

"Glenn came through with flying colors," said Orioles manager John Oates. "He'll go back and continue to play until he's ready."

Davis said he has to work on his rhythm and timing and was appreciative that one Harrisburg pitcher threw him nothing but breaking balls. "I know I can hit the fastball. The breaking ball is what I want to see."

When Davis returns to first base will depend solely upon his wishes. The Suns are home through next weekend, so it is likely he will play some defense in that period.

"I think I'll be doing a little bit of both [first base and DH]," he said. "That's the direction the Orioles want me to go in.

"it's an ideal situation for me to rehab with the minor-league club so close. If I had been out for two or three weeks, I could have done it with the big-league club. But when you've missed three months, it's not fair to my teammates."

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