Orioles' Chris Davis to play in instructional league games while he's suspended

Orioles first baseman will report to club's spring training complex in Sarasota, Fla.

September 14, 2014|By Dan Connolly | The Baltimore Sun

Orioles manager Buck Showalter spoke with Chris Davis on Sunday and expects the suspended first baseman to soon go to the organization's spring training complex in Sarasota, Fla., in an attempt to stay sharp.

Showalter wouldn't specify when Davis will get there, except to say he's "headed to Sarasota here before long." Showalter said Davis likely will clean out his apartment in Baltimore — which players usually do in late September or early October — and then drop off his things at his home in Texas before going to Florida.

"I've got a pretty good idea [when], but I'm going to leave a little wiggle room there making sure he can get everything he needs to get done," Showalter said. "I don't think people realize how much adjustments guys make in their lives toward the end of the year."

Davis was suspended 25 games Friday for testing positive for the amphetamine Adderall, a prescription attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder drug. He cannot be with the major league team during the suspension, but he will be able to participate in instructional league games in Sarasota this month, Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said.

Sending Davis to Sarasota as soon as possible has been the plan since the club learned of his suspension. It's not unprecedented for a suspended Orioles player to participate in Sarasota; left-hander Troy Patton pitched in extended spring training games there in April while he was serving his 25-game suspension, also for testing positive for Adderall.

Instructional league games, which start Monday in Sarasota against Tampa Bay, feature select minor leaguers versus other organizations' minor leaguers. The exhibitions will be a way for Davis to face live pitching. The problem, though, is that the games end Oct. 7, and Davis wouldn't be eligible to return to major league play until Oct. 14 — the fourth game of the ALCS — at the earliest. So there would be a week he couldn't play in "organized" games in Sarasota.

Showalter wouldn't go into specifics about his discussion with Davis, but he said the player understands the severity of his actions. Davis, who received multiple exemptions to use Adderall for his ADHD while with the Texas Rangers, was denied the exemption in 2012 and never re-applied. But he used the prescription drug this season, a year in which he has struggled at the plate.

"Obviously, it was a private conversation, but Chris, he gets what's going on," Showalter said. "He's living in reality … This is self-inflicted. He's not looking for any sympathy. … His no-button wasn't working that day. Everybody knew the rules. It's the consequences. He's going to deal with the consequences and take them on."

Showalter said he won't chastise the 28-year-old Davis for making a poor decision.

"I'm not going to beat him up any more than he's already beat himself up," Showalter said. "Piling on really isn't an option for me."

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

twitter.com/danconnollysun

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