ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- If there were any doubts about the physical well-being of Orioles first baseman Glenn Davis, he removed them with one big swing of the bat in yesterday's 8-4 exhibition victory over the Chicago White Sox at Al Lang Stadium.
Davis drove a ball into the parking lot that lies beyond the lawn that lies beyond the left-field fence that stands about 350 feet away from home plate. The third-inning blast off White Sox right-hander Alex Fernandez had to measure at least 400 feet on the fly.
It's just the first week of spring training, but Davis needs to show he has regained the strength he lost last year when a damaged nerve in his neck caused muscles in his right shoulder to atrophy. He came back to prove he could play late in the 1991 season. He provided further proof that he is as strong as ever yesterday.
"I don't know where it landed, but it felt good," Davis said after the Orioles' fourth straight exhibition victory. "It doesn't count, but hopefully, I can get some momentum going toward the season."
Davis isn't sure it is a major step in his comeback since he flexed his rebuilt shoulder muscles during the final two months of last season. He hit six homers after returning in August, proving he still had enough strength and bat speed to be a dangerous hitter.
"I feel good and I am proud of myself," he said, "and I thank God I was able to overcome this obstacle. Getting there wasn't easy."
There still is room to wonder whether he can withstand the rigors of a full season -- his last injury-free season was 1989 -- but Davis, 30, doesn't seem particularly concerned.
"I don't even think about it anymore, to tell you the truth," he said of the neck injury. "It's like it never even happened. There are little things that remind me that I experienced something, but it doesn't bother me.
"The best thing about today is, you take batting practice and you hit some balls good and hit some balls bad and you wonder when it's going to come around. Then you hit one like that and it's like, why was I even worried about that? It's there. It builds your confidence. It makes the next few days a little easier."