ANAHEIM, Calif. -- David Segui will not have to share first base with anyone for at least the next three weeks, but he took no joy in the news Thursday that veteran Glenn Davis had accepted an optional assignment to join the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings.
If that constitutes a major career opportunity, Segui is choosing to look at it in more personal terms.
"I'm glad to play every day," he said, "but I don't like to see it at his expense. I think we've become pretty close friends. Glenn and Tim [Hulett] are the guys that I'm closest to on the team."
Baseball doesn't usually make such strange bedfellows. Segui started the season in the background, but his solid performance at the plate eventually pushed Davis out of the everyday lineup. That is the kind of thing that can strain a baseball friendship, but Davis and Segui remained on very good terms right up until Davis departed the club on Thursday.
Segui, 26, has wanted to be an everyday player in the major leagues for as long as he can remember, so it might have been easier to view Davis in more competitive terms. Instead, he finds himself coming to the defense of a player who seemingly has distanced himself from most of his teammates.
"I wouldn't say that they don't like him," Segui said. "I think it's a lot like what happened with Luis [Mercedes]. Maybe a lot of guys just didn't take the time to get to know him. Glenn is not the kind of guy who's going to be in the back of the bus whooping it up. There's nothing wrong with that as far as I'm concerned."
Davis apparently angered club officials by staying at a different hotel than the rest of the team in New York this week, but Segui claims that Davis very much wanted to be liked by the other players.
"He wanted to be liked," Segui said, "but he came here and took care of business. He came to work, not to play cards in the clubhouse or be part of some clique. He came, did his work, and left. Maybe some guys didn't like that, but it never bothered me."
There have long been rumors that Davis was not well liked in the Orioles clubhouse. He came to Baltimore in a deal that sent three good young players to the Houston Astros, and he came to displace another player -- Randy Milligan -- who was very popular among his teammates.
He quickly became the highest-paid player on the club and just as quickly suffered a debilitating injury that kept him from winning anyone over with his performance.
It took awhile, but according to Segui, Davis won a lot of respect with the grueling physical regimen he undertook to overcome his physical problems.
"I think a lot of people are pulling for him to do well," Segui said. "Everybody knows how frustrated he has been. It was hard to hear him getting booed all the time."
Manager Johnny Oates, who himself expressed exasperation with Davis on a few occasions last year, thinks that his players owe it to Davis and to themselves to be supportive.
"I would hope that every guy in the clubhouse is rooting for him, because he's part of this team," Oates said. "I don't think that it should be a situation where he has to win anyone over. I wouldn't expect everybody to want to go to dinner with everybody else, but when they walk through the clubhouse door, I want everybody pulling for everybody."
Segui was with Davis the night before he made the decision to voluntarily accept the assignment to Rochester. Davis has not spoken to reporters about that decision yet, but he confided in his young friend one last time.
"I knew they had talked to him about it," Segui said. "I talked to him a little bit. I think he was kind of ready. He was starting to realize that it was a good thing for him to go somewhere and play."
LATE ORIOLES GAME
Last night's Orioles-Angels game in Anaheim, Calif., did not end in time to be included in this edition. A complete report can be found in later editions of The Sun. For the latest sports results, call SUNDIAL at (410) 783-1800, ext. 5001 (in Anne Arundel County, call  268-7736, ext. 5001).