Orioles manager Johnny Oates scratched Glenn Davis' tentative return to first base last night after a brief pre-game conversation with Davis.
Oates suggested Tuesday that Davis probably would see defensive duty at first in the series finale against the Oakland A's last night. Instead, Davis was the Orioles' designated hitter.
"I told him I wanted to be sure I had his bat this weekend," Oates said. "We're facing two lefthanders, and I didn't want him to get sore by playing tonight.
"He may DH through the weekend."
Davis missed 25 games with a strained rib-cage muscle. Since he returned from the disabled list May 4, however, he has been used only as a DH. On Tuesday night, Davis hit his first home run of the season. Last night he was 1-for-3 with an RBI, but popped out in the fifth inning with men on first and third and one out.
"Johnny knows what's going on," Davis said of his physical condition. "He's managing me the way I can help the club out the best.
"I'm improving, but I'm having to make adjustments to get by."
Being used as the DH gives Davis the luxury of more time to regain his strength, he said.
"I only have to swing the bat, I don't have to worry about the other things involved," he said. "There's less stress on the body.
"I'm certainly gaining strength and improving. At the right time, I'll be back on the field playing."
* WHO LOVES YA, BABY? The A's Rickey Henderson had this to say about the Orioles fans at Camden Yards before last night's game:
"The fans have been excellent. They keep me in the ballgame, they keep me laughing. They love me. They go home and people say, 'What happened in the game?' They say, 'I don't know what happened, but Rickey was acting crazy.' "
* BRADY'S BUNCH: Going into last night's game, the Orioles' Brady Anderson ranks second in total bases (79) and extra-base hits (20) among the 38 American League outfielders with the qualifying number of 65 plate appearances. He also is fourth in RBIs (29), third in stolen bases (13), seventh in batting (.286) and fifth in on-base percentage (.383).
* STILL THE BEST: Chris Hoiles leads all 17 AL catchers with at least 65 plate appearances in batting (.319), RBIs (21), runs (26), extra-base hits (15), total bases (72) and homers (eight).
* MORE OF SAME: Asked if the presence of closer Dennis Eckersley in the Oakland bullpen affects how he plays the A's, Oates responded in the affirmative. "Sure it does," he said. "[Our players] better be thinking about that, too.
"But they [the A's] aren't the only team with a guy like that. The team coming in here this weekend, you better get something quick against them, too."
That's because the Angels have closer Bryan Harvey waiting to snuff out any late threats.
* AROUND THE HORN: The Orioles and A's played with a three-man umpiring crew last night after Rocky Roe was scratched with the flu. That left the game in the hands of Jim Joyce (home), Terry Craft (first base) and Dave Phillips (third). . . .The Orioles have 4,000 tickets remaining for tomorrow night's game against the California Angels, and 1,000 each for the Saturday and Sunday games.