Davis hits two out in batting practice


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- For the first time since he went on the disabled list April 26, Glenn Davis participated in pre-game batting practice last night.

The injured first baseman took three turns in the batting cage, a total of 11 swings, with the non-starters before the game against the Royals.

Now that he is free of pain, Davis has been cleared to participate in all normal activities in preparation for his eventual return to the lineup. He hit two balls far over the leftfield fence during batting practice, connecting on the final swing of each of his first two turns in the cage.

Afterward, Davis threw briefly on the side with assistant trainer Jamie Reed, and then took ground balls at first base. Judging by the velocity of his throws, Davis will not necessarily be restricted to a designated hitter's role when he returns, as originally had been thought.

"From March 12, when I originally hurt my shoulder, I never had any control of the ball when I threw it," said Davis. "Now I have no pain at all."

"He's throwing the ball as hard as he'll ever have to throw it," manager John Oates said after watching Davis' workout.

Davis has asked to be sent on a rehabilitation assignment before trying to rejoin the Orioles' lineup, and it appears that he may be getting close to facing live pitching.

* SO MUCH FOR PROPER REST: Faced with a torturous travel schedule from the West Coast, the Orioles decided to make sure one member of their starting cast arrived in Kansas City in time to get a good night's sleep.

Ben McDonald, last night's starting pitcher, was sent ahead of the team and arrived Tuesday afternoon. The rest of the team came in on the team charter and checked into their hotel at 6:30 a.m.

So, what happened? The supposedly weary hitters had their biggest first inning of the year (four runs) and put up a 7-0 lead after 3 1/2 innings. McDonald, however, could not stand the prosperity and could not last the five innings necessary to claim a victory. The big righthander gave up eight hits and four earned runs in 3 2/3 innings.

* NO. 1 PICK SIGNS: The team announced today they have signed its top pick in last month's draft, outfielder Mark Smith of Southern California.

Smith, who had a batting average of .336 with 28 home runs and 166 RBIs in his three years with the Trojans and was a first-team All-American, will go to the Orioles' Bluefield, W.Va., club tomorrow for workouts then will be assigned to Frederick at a later date.

* RIP ON THE REBOUND: Six times this year, after going hitless in at least two games, Cal Ripken has bounced back with a multi-hit game. His longest hitless streak of the year has been four games, and he also went three games without a hit once.

After breaking an 0-for-14 streak with a pair of hits against California Tuesday night, Ripken had a single and double and drove in two runs in last night's 9-8 loss to the Royals. It was his 41st multi-hit game of the year, tops in the major leagues.

* JOHNSON REPORT: Dave Johnson's fourth rehabilitation start, his first in Triple A, resulted in a loss last night. Pitching the second game of a doubleheader, Johnson allowed eight hits and three runs in six innings and was charged with Rochester's 3-0 loss to Richmond. The Red Wings also lost the first game, 2-1 in 10 innings.

Johnson previously had won three games for Double A Hagerstown, allowing only three runs in 16 innings.

* THIS 'N THAT: Cal Ripken has a .474 batting average (27-for-57) on artificial turf this season.

Last night's fiasco marked the third straight game that the Orioles and Royals went into extra innings tied 8-8. It was also the third straight extra-inning game for the Royals, only the second time that has happened in their history.

* BILL DOWN, TURNER UP: As expected, the Orioles placed second baseman Bill Ripken on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to July 15, because of a rib cage injury. Ripken is not expected to be able to swing a bat for two weeks.

Shane Turner, who can play the infield and outfield and serve as a third catcher in an emergency, was obtained from Rochester. Turner was hitting .285, with 44 runs batted in, for the Red Wings.

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