Injured Orioles first baseman Glenn Davis hasn't set an exact timetable for his return, but it appears he will remain on the disabled list at least another week, with perhaps his final test coming on a minor-league rehabilitation assignment.
Davis said yesterday that he discussed that possibility in a telephone conversation with manager Johnny Oates on Sunday night. Oates wants Davis to return only when he's 100 percent, and Davis agreed a rehabilitation assignment "could be good for me."
That, however, was not the extent of the 90-minute conversation. Davis said he was "furious" over reports describing the club's frustration with his latest injury. But, after talking with Oates, he said that he felt reassured of the club's support.
"Anybody would get frustrated," Davis said. "They make a trade for you, they pay you a lot of money, you're not able to play for them -- I would get frustrated, too. It's like someone's got candy, and the candy is being taken away. You get angry and frustrated until you get it back.
"That's just human nature. I don't blame anybody. But, at the same time, I'm sitting here saying, 'Does anybody know what I'm feeling?' I'm walking around like I've got a black cloud over my head. The last thing I would want is to be hurt. I want to play more than anyone on the ballclub."
Davis spoke of his desire to return in an hourlong interview yesterday at the Greenspring Valley Sports and Medical Rehabilitation Center in Owings Mills. He has undergone extensive physical therapy at the center, and resumed baseball activities at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Thursday.
Barring setbacks, he will take batting and infield practice when the club returns home this weekend. He said his progress the past two days has been considerable. General manager Roland Hemond said Davis was smiling yesterday after hitting, throwing and running the bases.
"I was actually letting it go without much pain at all," Davis said. "It's just mild stiffness now. When I first started throwing six days ago, I couldn't lift my [left] arm up and throw [with my right]. Now, my throwing's come back. I'm thoroughly pleased with my work."
The injury, originally diagnosed as a strained rib-cage muscle under his left shoulder blade, is actually a strained muscle under his left armpit, Davis said. The injury surfaced in spring training and gradually worsened. Davis has played in one regular-season game.
His apparent rift with the club resulted in part from his decision to seek outside medical advice. Davis is being treated by Dr. Richard Schlesinger and his wife, physical therapist Jennifer Schlesinger.
He said his agent, Robert Fraley, met last week with Hemond and club president Larry Lucchino to explain "what was going through my mind."
"We're all in this together," Hemond said. "It would be nice if he was going to our own people, but the big thing in the long run is to get him well. The guy is striving so hard to get well, that's when he needs some support."
Said Davis: "I have to do what's best for Glenn Davis. With this injury, I wanted to make sure that I'm getting the best possible help. I thought they were the best qualified to treat me, to get me back on the field the quickest."
That, Davis said, is his goal. He missed 105 games last season with an injury to the spinal accessory nerve in his neck. As a result, he asked for a lower base salary ($2.815 million) than the club originally offered for this season, seeking to earn the additional money through incentives.
The way Davis' contract is structured, he can receive as little as $50,000 for playing in 80 games, or as much as $600,000 for playing in 140. This is the third straight season he has spent time on the disabled list. He said this injury is not related to any of the others.
"I will be playing," Davis said. "We've got a lot of baseball left. It's early. Yeah, I got hurt. But that's behind me now. The thing for me to do is get the best possible help, get myself well and get back on the field. That's how I can help the ballclub out.
"We're going to win a lot of games this season. We're going to have a lot of fun. Guys are picking me up now. I'm hoping there comes a time when I'll pick them up. I believe it's going to balance out. I wish I was out there playing now. When I'm not, life is miserable for me."