Davis takes another step on road back Outfielder plays game night after undergoing chemotherapy treatment


September 19, 1997|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Eric Davis' comeback took another giant step forward last night.

For the first time, Davis played in a game the night after a chemotherapy treatment, starting in right field and batting fifth against Milwaukee left-hander Scott Karl.

And though he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, he did play the entire nine innings.

"He said he wanted to go, so he's going," manager Davey Johnson said before the game.

Sitting in front of his locker beforehand, Davis said he was feeling "a little tired, a little woozy" from the treatment, his eighth of a scheduled 22. But he had no reservations about appearing in his third game since being activated Monday.

"I don't know how long I'll be able to go, but I'm going," said Davis, who took batting practice and shagged fly balls after last Wednesday's treatment. "Every game is the next step to getting back to where you're playing nine innings. The more at-bats I get now can only help me in the postseason. The results aren't that important. It's just a matter of me seeing the pitches and recognizing them and not getting fooled."

Davis said it would be "selfish" of him to talk about how important it was to participate in the postseason. "It's important for the whole team, the organization, the city," he said.

"If I'm not on the postseason roster, I'm not going to pack and go home. I'm going to stay here and root like they rooted for me all year. I'm not a selfish individual. If me not being on the postseason is going to make this team better, than I'm all for it."

Davis' return to the outfield has been accompanied by some playful exchanges with Jeffrey Hammonds as they chase down fly balls in right-center field. "The hardest job I've got since I came back is trying to keep him where he needs to be," Davis said, smiling. "I've got the fans getting on him."

Erickson OK

Scott Erickson was moving through the clubhouse with ease after taking a line drive by Julio Franco off his right thigh in the first inning of Wednesday's loss.

"He limped that one time covering first, but then I didn't see any signs [of injury]," Johnson said.

A roller-coaster ride

Who better to pass along a bit of philosophy on the the life of a utility player than Jeff Reboulet, someone who this season has alternated between invaluable and invisible?

tTC "If you're in there and you get hits, that's great for a utility guy," he said. "If you're not in there and you feel like crap, that's great for a utility guy. But when you're in there and you feel like crap, that's bad for a utility guy because you don't get that many at-bats. That's just the way it is."

Here's the way it is for Reboulet these days: He hasn't been in there as much as other stretches of the season, and he feels as though he's "still searching" each time he steps to the plate, where he's 3-for-16 this month.

Reboulet has started two of the past 12 games. He had started 28 of 37 while Roberto Alomar was out with a pulled groin `D muscle.

With Alomar's return to the lineup and Aaron Ledesma eating up a lot of the available innings since joining the club two months ago, Reboulet has gone back to what he considers "a normal situation again," meaning his playing time is more spread out -- thinly.

"It's been kind of a seesaw thing with me -- playing, not playing, sporadically playing. But it's part of the job. You never know what you're going to be asked to do," he said.

Around the horn

In Brian Williams' first three appearances after being recalled Sept. 1, he gave up six runs and eight hits, with three walks, in 3 1/3 innings. In his three outings since then, Williams has thrown 6 1/3 shutout innings, allowing three hits and walking five. Fans attending tomorrow's and Sunday'a games against Detroit will receive a team photo magnet. The giveaway was supposed to be a 1998 magnet schedule, but the game dates for next year haven't been made final. Jerome Walton fouled a ball off his left ankle and had to leave the game in the sixth inning.

It's your call: Should Ripken sit?

Cal Ripken's back injury is causing him pain, raising the question of whether he should rest, ending his record streak of consecutive games played. Because the Orioles have clinched a playoff berth, should he take this opportunity to take some time off in the hope that his condition will improve for the playoffs?

To respond, call SUNDIAL at 410-783-1800 and enter code 6110.

Pub Date: 9/19/97

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