ARLINGTON, Texas -- Glenn Davis made his first start in four games -- and second since coming off the disabled list -- but he almost got knocked out of the lineup before last night's game began.
During batting practice Davis was hit in the face by a grounder off the bat of Sam Horn. The ball deflected off the glove of Randy Milligan before it hit Davis, who was momentarily stunned and fell to the ground.
The impact, however, wasn't enough to bench Davis, who was the designated hitter and seventh batter.
Manager Johnny Oates said the primary reason Davis was in the lineup was because Horn had no previous success against right-hander Bobby Witt, last night's Texas Rangers starter. "Sam had seven strikeouts in 10 at-bats against Witt," said Oates, "so it seemed like a good time to get Glenn some at-bats.
"But if Sam's numbers had been good enough for him to bat fourth, Glenn would've been sitting with me."
Oates said the fact the Orioles had lost two of three to the Chicago White Sox last weekend had nothing to do with his decision to play Davis. He previously had said he wouldn't disrupt the lineup while the team was winning just to get Davis some game action.
"But we do have to find a way to get him some at-bats," said Oates. "Chito [Martinez] has been struggling, so why not him [Davis]?"
Before last night, Davis had played only three games. After playing Opening Day, he was sidelined by an injured muscle in the area below his left armpit.
Davis came off the disabled list a week ago. Counting his 0-for-4 last night (including a shot to the left-field warning track), he has gone 1-for-10 in three games since. "He came to me and told me he was ready to play," said Oates, "and nothing has changed since then."
Rotation is off, too
The two days off this week (Monday and tomorrow) have caused another slight realignment in the pitching rotation. Bob Milacki will go a week between assignments, making his next start Saturday in Chicago.
Jose Mesa won't start again until Tuesday, when he faces the Oakland Athletics at home. Oates will continue to work his rotation around his three top winners -- Rick Sutcliffe, Ben McDonald and Mike Mussina, who are a combined 13-2.
Milacki was available for relief work last night, and Mesa will beable to work out of the bullpen through Friday game in Chicago.
An injury to catcher Ivan Rodriguez necessitated the Rangers' promoting Doug Davis from the Triple-A Oklahoma City 89ers. To make room for Davis, who was hitting .218 in 16 games with the minor-league club, the Rangers designated pitcher Mike Campbell (0-1, 9.82) for assignment.
In other moves, right-hander Todd Burns cleared waivers and was outrighted to Oklahoma City and left-hander Brian Bohanon was activated from the disabled list and optioned to Oklahoma City.
Rodriguez is expected to be out of the lineup at least until Friday with a strained ligament in his left thumb.
Chris Hoiles had reached base safely nine straight times before flying out to end the sixth inning last night. During the streak Hoiles had four hits and five walks, two of which came on his first two at-bats against Witt. . . . The Orioles have allowed 3.2 runs per game, the lowest figure in the AL. They have scored an average of 5.1 runs, most in the AL, just ahead of the Tigers, who have two fewer runs (160) in the same number of games (32). . . . Last night's start was the 42nd of McDonald's career, but his first against the Rangers. . . . There was no immediate post-operation report yesterday on Mark Williamson, who underwent surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow.