It's been a long time coming, but Glenn Davis finally got back to the field last night.
Davis, who started at first base on Opening Day against the Cleveland Indians, got his second non-DH start of the year in the 110th game of the season last night against the Indians.
"I feel better than I did in the past," said Davis before the game.
Davis, who went 1-for-3 on Opening Day, went on the disabled list the next day with a strained rib-cage muscle.
When he returned 25 games later, he was used exclusively as the designated hitter until he could prove to himself and &L; manager Johnny Oates that he was sufficiently healthy to play the field.
Davis, who got the only hit in the Orioles' 6-0 loss last night, told Oates two weeks ago that he was ready to field and throw, but the manager saved his return.
tTC "The only reason he's playing tonight [Saturday] is because I wanted both him and Sam [Horn] in the lineup," Oates said.
Horn, who had not played in nine days, became the other beneficiary of Davis' return to field, and Randy Milligan was bumped out of the starting lineup.
"[Davis] has been doing very well at the DH, and I'd said I'd pick the right time to put him in," said Oates of Davis, who is batting .376 in his past 25 games. "I like the way he's swinging the bat and I didn't want to change anything."
Milligan, meanwhile, has been as cold as Davis has been sizzling. Milligan is 6-for-23 with 12 walks and seven runs scored in the last nine games. His home run on July 21 against the Chicago White Sox's Wilson Alvarez was his only homer in his past 41 games, and his only extra-base hit in his past 27.
"I want to help the team win, that's always been my philosophy," Milligan said. "Johnny puts the best lineup in to win the game. I never question his judgment."
Still, Milligan has been helping in his own way by drawing walks. He is fourth in the American League with 76 walks, and has drawn 29 in his last 27 games and 40 in his last 38 games to bring his on-base percentage to .398, fifth-best in the AL.
Last night marked only the second start for Horn in the last 29 games since July 6, although he has pinch hit in seven of his past nine games.
"Any time you can play, you are happy," said Horn, who is hitting .310 as a pinch-hitter. "I'm going to continue to come to the park and strive forward."
Despite a recent 0-for-20 slump that dropped Horn's batting average from .285 to .245, Oates expected him to hit well against Indians starter Charles Nagy. But Horn went hitless, as did every Oriole except Davis.
"I wanted to get Sam in the ballgame -- he's had a lot of success against Nagy," said Oates, noting that Horn went into the game 7-for-13 lifetime against Nagy.
Oates would not say whether Davis would stay at first for the Orioles' upcoming series in Toronto.