ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- First baseman Glenn Davis looks as if he's ready to make everyone forget about his injury-marred 1991 season, but the trick will be forgetting it himself.
"When you go through a couple of serious injuries, any pain you get, it tends to magnify it and put a question in your mind," he said. "I've done that several times this year, only to find out that I'm just working the kinks out."
Davis missed 105 games last year after suffering a rare nerve injury that sapped the muscle strength from his right shoulder. He returned last August to prove to himself that he could withstand the rigors of regular play, but he still catches himself worrying when there is any stiffness or soreness in his neck or shoulders.
This spring, he has flexed his muscle at the plate on a couple of occasions, driving the ball with enough authority to dismiss any notion that he might be any less than 100 percent healthy, but even some slight muscle spasms in his upper back were enough to cause him some concern this week.
"Two days ago, it stiffened up on the right side," he said. "The next day it was OK, but there was a spasm in the other side. It's confusing, to tell you the truth. It's not even in the same region, but [last year's] injury tends to blow it out of proportion. That's what a severe injury will do to you. You have to battle to overcome the mental part of it, too."
The Orioles have gambled more than $6 million that he will be able to play regularly the next two seasons. Davis appears to be ready for the challenge.
"I feel like a different person this year," he said. "I think that I gained a lot of character from that injury, but don't ask me to explain that right now. Talk to me later in the year."