MINNEAPOLIS -- Manager Johnny Oates had a phone conversation with Glenn Davis Sunday night and reported that the Orioles injured first baseman hopes to take batting practice when the club returns home this weekend.
"I don't think he knows for sure when he might be ready," said Oates, "but he said there's been a lot of improvement in the last few days. He's been hitting off the machine and hopefully he'll be able to take batting practice by the end of the week."
Davis, who has been out of the lineup since the day after the Orioles' season opener, is sidelined with a muscle injury below the left shoulder blade.
Oates said he is not frustrated by Davis' prolonged absence from the lineup. "He can't help it, and the club can't help it, that he's hurt," said Oates. "We just have to get him better and back in the lineup."
Davis' absence is compounded by the fact that his replacement, Randy Milligan, has been out of the starting lineup for the past five games. Last night, Milligan proclaimed himself ready to play, but Oates would not commit to his return before tomorrow.
"I'm going to sleep on it and see how things go tonight [last night]," said Oates. Milligan has been out since a collision with second baseman Bill Ripken in the fifth inning of Wednesday's 2-1 win over the Kansas City Royals.
"The headaches are gone and the soreness is gone except for a crick in my neck," said Milligan, who suffered a concussion. "I'm ready to play."
But Oates has been in no rush to put Milligan back in the lineup. "David [Segui] has been playing very well, so maybe something positive has come out of this," said Oates. "He had been struggling, and this has given him a chance to get some at-bats."
Playing time for Tackett
In all likelihood, Jeff Tackett will make his second start of the season tomorrow afternoon, when the Orioles close the series against the Twins.
"A day game after a night game seems like a good time for it," said Oates. "That would give Chris [Hoiles] two days off [with Thursday's schedule break] to rest -- and then go home and catch 10 straight games."
Oates had been reluctant to take Hoiles out of the lineup while Milligan was sidelined. With the first baseman's right-handed bat back, Hoiles will get a day off and Tackett another start.
When Rick Dempsey reported to the Orioles clubhouse last night, he found his equipment in a locker in the manager and coaches' room. "The players sent me in to infiltrate," said Dempsey. "But take a quick look because as soon as I get dressed I'll be out there [in the players' dressing quarters]."
Hoiles kept off base
Chris Hoiles failed to reach base in three at-bats last night, breaking his season-long string of 18 straight games reaching base by a hit or a walk. He was the last player in the American League to reach base in each of his team's games.
Hoiles had his consecutive game streak of reaching base ended last night. He had reached by hit or walk in all 18 games. . . . Bill Olson, father of Orioles relief ace Gregg, has been named to coach the U.S. 13- and 14-year-olds Pan-American team. Olson is a longtime high school and American Legion coach in Omaha, Neb.