Looking for a heavyweight season, Glenn Davis may enlist the services of Riddick Bowe's strength and conditioning coach.
The Orioles first baseman and designated hitter, who has been beset by injuries his two years here, has received permission from the club to explore the possibility of a personal training program. The arrangement is part of his agreement to waive his no-trade clause for today's National League expansion draft.
"It's not for sure yet," Davis said of his hookup with Mackie Shilstone, who, in addition to the newly crowned heavyweight champ Bowe, also has worked with boxer Michael Spinks and basketball player Manute Bol. "I've heard that Mackie has a good program and I'm currently in the process of exploring it.
"I asked the club if they would mind and they gave me their approval," said Davis.
After missing most of the 1991 season because of a neck injury, Davis was hampered by muscle weakness in the left shoulder area last year. "I feel good right now," said Davis, who has foregone his regular strength routines in favor of complete rest since the season ended. "But I feel like I have some work to do [to prepare for spring training].
"The first thing I want to do is find out if there was a reason why this happened -- if there's something that has to be fixed. I'm going to have a complete MRI of my left side in the next few days and see what that shows."
After those tests are completed, Davis will likely spend time with Shilstone in New Orleans. "His program takes into consideration your age, your strength, what you need to work on, what you have to do," said Davis.
"I don't want to have to look back and give myself the excuse of saying 'if I had done this, or worked harder there, or if I had taken my preparation a little more serious,' " said Davis.
"This [the injuries] is something I hadn't had to deal with before -- and I haven't handled it real well. I don't know if I can put myself through many years of that."
Davis thinks he aggravated his condition last year by not taking the proper precautions. "I felt I had a lot to overcome from the year before," he said.
"I know that I can still play the game," said Davis, who yesterday announced a youth-oriented program for the Baltimore area that he and Storm Davis are sponsoring. "I've just been unfortunate enough to suffer injuries that limited me on the field. The last couple of years have been a total shock to me.
"It's a complex issue," Davis said of the injuries. "It's frustrating for some to understand -- and more frustrating for me to try to explain.
"I did a lot of extra work early in the year [during spring training] and I think I strained some muscles," said Davis. "I didn't take the proper precautions to get better and I wound up tearing myself down. I ended up being my own worst enemy.
"There wasn't one day the whole year where I felt good. I chose not to take the avenue of rest and during the course of the year it got better and better until in the second half I could play on a consistent basis.
"My goal [going into the season] was to contribute to the team and I feel like, under the circumstances, I was able to do that. I felt like I drove in some big runs, that I hit some home runs that helped the team win and was able to get on base late in the game when we needed it.
"I was proud of the fact that I stayed on the field and did the best that I could," said Davis.
In the two years he's been with the Orioles, Davis has logged 574 at-bats, roughly the equivalent of one full season. "Last year I was able to hit for my highest average [.276] and if you put together my home runs [10 and 13] and runs batted in [28 and 48] it comes close to a normal year," he said.
Davis reiterated the reason he waived his no-trade clause for today's draft was to help the Orioles. "I'd be greatly disappointed if I was picked," he said. "I like it here -- that's why I had the no-trade clause to begin with -- I think it's a great place to play, a great town with great fans.
"Ever since I've been here I feel like I've had a good relationship with the club and I felt like I'd be doing a favor for the team and the fans [by allowing himself to be exposed to the draft]," said Davis. "I feel the odds were less that I'd be taken instead of a younger player.
"I don't know who the Orioles protected in my place, but hopefully it's somebody who'll be here after I'm gone."
And before he leaves, whether it be next year (when he can become a free agent) or a few years down the road, Davis is hoping to shed the injury label he's worn the last two years.