The rehabilitation of Orioles first baseman Glenn Davis passed a critical test yesterday when he hit in the batting cage for 15 minutes and suffered no ill effects.
It was the second straight day Davis faced live pitching -- albeit in the person of hitting coach Greg Biagini. He hit two balls into the left-field seats at Camden Yards and bounced several off the wall in left. Afterward, both Davis and manager Johnny Oates talked about his return from the disabled list with cautious optimism.
Davis went on the disabled list April 14 -- retroactive to April 7 -- with a strained muscle under his left armpit. He is eligible to return at any time.
Barring a setback in workouts this weekend, Davis said he thinks he could be playing in "three or four days."
"If everything goes good, I don't think it will be longer than a week. . . . I could be playing this homestand -- a lot of games."
The Orioles began a 10-game homestand last night, defeating Seattle, 15-1, in the first of three games against the Mariners.
Before Davis took his pre-game batting practice, Oates said that the 31-year-old veteran could be activated as early as Tuesday, "if all goes well."
Where and how Davis returns are yet to be determined. Oates left open the possibility of a rehabilitation assignment in the minors before rejoining the Orioles. "Either way, I welcome it," Davis said. "I'm prepared to do either."
Asked how Davis would get back in the swing, Oates said, "He'll probably be a pinch hitter the first couple of days, then build up to DH, and it will likely be six or seven days before he plays first base."
Davis said he did some isolation exercises on Wednesday to build the strength in his shoulder-blade region, then woke up with soreness Thursday. But the soreness did not worsen with Thursday's workout. Davis said he "didn't have the sensation of soreness" after yesterday's workout, and was able to swing the bat with "authority."
Davis missed 105 games last season with a rare injury to the spinal accessory nerve in his neck.
Walking wounded, part II
Orioles reliever Mark Williamson, placed on the disabled list April 17 with a swollen right elbow, stepped up his rehab program yesterday with encouraging results.
Williamson threw at "70 percent" velocity in the outfield for 15 minutes. "It felt good today, but I haven't thrown off the mound yet," Williamson said.
He lobbed the ball in a Tuesday workout, then long-tossed on Wednesday.
Cardboard to leather
The Oriole Advocates, the Orioles and Legg Mason ask all fans to bring used gloves, bats and balls to tonight's game. The equipment will be recycled for youngsters in Baltimore City and the Dominican Republic, where many youngsters use cardboard for baseball gloves.
Police increased security for last night's game in the wake of the Rodney King verdict and reactions of violence across the country. . . . Tonight's Mariners starter, Erik Hanson, has a lifetime ERA of 4.54 against the Orioles -- along with a 4-0 record. . . . Mike Mussina (2-0, 1.19) faces Seattle's Rich DeLucia (1-2, 8.10) in tomorrow's series finale. All children 14 and under get a Donruss baseball card book, sponsored by The Baltimore Sun. . . . Fewer than 1,000 tickets are left for each of the two remaining games of the series. . . . The Orioles announced that Lou Michaelson, vice president of sales, will be moving to a consulting capacity beginning later this month. Vince Dunbar, director of sales operations, will assume day-to-day responsibility for management of the sales department. . . . Nolan Ryan will start Tuesday for the Texas Rangers. The Orioles haven't named a starter.