With a touch of self-deprecating wit and a firm determination to return, first baseman Glenn Davis made his first appearance in an Orioles uniform in six weeks yesterday.
Davis, whose jaw was broken in June in an altercation outside a Virginia Beach, Va., nightclub, did some throwing and running at Camden Yards before last night's game with the Minnesota Twins.
The activity was largely symbolic, because there is no timetable for Davis' return.
Orioles manager Johnny Oates spoke with Davis and said his return was "still a long ways away."
But Davis left no doubt that, if he is making the decision, he will return this season.
"I'm going to play. You can bet on that," said Davis. "I've always been a fighter and I'm more determined to bounce back better than ever."
Davis, who accepted a minor-league assignment to the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings on May 26, was hurt in a dispute that erupted while he was out with Red Wings teammates Randy Ready and Mark Parent on June 6.
Davis would not comment on the incident in which a bouncer reportedly punched him in the jaw, though no charges were filed. He said, however, that he would make a statement in the future.
He said the incident occurred just when he thought he was making progress toward regaining his batting stroke. At the time he accepted the minor-league assignment, he was batting .177.
"I had a plan and an idea and I started putting it together and then all of a sudden, this happens to me," said Davis.
Davis was hospitalized for five days and had his jaw wired shut, confining him to a liquid diet that he has stayed on almost exclusively since then.
The wiring was removed last week and Davis said he has lost only 5 or 6 pounds. He said he has maintained his strength by working out in his home gym.
Still, Davis said that yesterday was the first day he felt up to running and throwing. The next challenge will be hitting and fielding, but there is no rush for that, especially from the doctors.
Considering that initial reports had Davis out for the rest of the season, any return this season would be remarkable.
"The major concern is about me getting hit. If I got hit in the face, it could really mess me up, though I probably could use the help," said Davis, with a grin.