Orioles first baseman Chris Davis had been taking batting practice indoors for the past two days, but until Friday’s game against the Houston Astros, he couldn't get a true feel for how well he has recovered from a strained left oblique muscle.
During his first outdoor batting practice session, Davis littered the Camden Yards seats with home run balls, hitting 15 balls out in his final four rounds.
"I felt great,” Davis said. “I felt really good the last three days. That's when we started doing a lot of stuff. … I felt really good, man. I said at the beginning, I was surprised when I got the news on how bad it was because I didn't feel that bad. I think that was kind of a positive at the beginning. But everything's gone about as good as it could have. Hopefully [I] go somewhere [Saturday] and rehab and see how it goes from there."
As long as Davis recovers well from Friday, he will begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment Saturday at Double-A Bowie, the Baysox announced. Davis said he didn't know how many games he’d need before he can return.
"In all honesty, if it was up to me, I wouldn't rehab at all,” Davis said. “Stay here, hit [batting practice], do everything like I was playing in a game, and go straight into a game. But just for peace of mind, I think guys want to see how I react after a game, being on my feet that long, swinging after you've been standing around for a while. We'll see how it goes."
Davis said he will play first base on his rehab assignment.
“Yeah I think so,” he said. "I haven’t DH-ed yet this year. The way we’ve been using it, I don’t see that I will too often. So there’s really no point in me DH-ing down there. I want to see if I can range all the way, left and right, spin, make the throws, stretch on the bag. You’ve got to check everything.”
Davis said his oblique feels better now than it did before the injury, which he said makes him wonder how long he’s been affected by it and whether it explains his lack of homers (two) after leading the majors with 53 last season.
"I was really surprised how much better I felt, and it kind of made me wonder how long this has been going on," Davis said. "I don’t know if you can tell that stuff by MRIs or anything like that. I’m not keen to that. But to be able to extend on a pitch away and really drive it the other way and not just flap it.”
Davis also said he feels he’s now able to turn on the ball easier.
“To be able to turn on the ball in, I mean these guys have been eating me up [pitching inside] the first month, and it’s frustrating knowing that I’m seeing a pitch there, knowing it’s going to be there and not being able to get to it,” he said. “So now I know the cause, and so it’s good to really let it eat and show that power again.”