TONIGHT: Davis cleared for batting practice, giving Birds healthy push forward


OAKLAND, Calif. -- For the first time in almost three months, Glenn Davis has been cleared to resume certain baseball activities.

The injured first baseman traveled with the Orioles to the West Coast yesterday after taking batting practice for the first time in almost three months. Davis will participate in pregame workouts and continue his rehabilitation exercises with all activities closely monitored by trainer Richie Bancells.

Davis took about 25 controlled swings during a regular batting practice workout before the Orioles' departure yesterday. "His progress will depend on how much he can handle," said manager John Oates, who emphasized that Davis "will go very slowly" until he reaches the point where the doctors are satisfied his neck and shoulder can be fully tested.

"Just to be able to go out and swing does me a world of good," said Davis, whose mood was upbeat after the workout. "It feels good just to be able to hit the ball again."

Although the Orioles will use extreme caution and hold expectations to a minimum for the time being, the return of Davis to a batting cage is welcome news for the team as it moves into the second half of the season.

The Orioles will reach the exact midpoint of the season with their 81st game by opening a four-game series against the Oakland A's here tonight (10:05, Channel 2). The Orioles might even get a more immediate lift from the return of Dwight Evans, who could be reactivated for the series against the A's. A decision on Evans isn't expected until later today.

Jeff Robinson (4-6, 4.48) will face Bob Welch (8-5, 3.98) as the Orioles and A's resume play after taking three days off for the All-Star Game.

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