Orioles manager Johnny Oates and newly activated first baseman Glenn Davis held a shouting match in the clubhouse yesterday in a dispute over Davis' playing time.
The brief but noisy row led Orioles officials to clear the clubhouse of reporters 30 minutes earlier than usual.
After the argument, Davis, who returned to the Orioles' roster yesterday upon the completion of a minor-league rehabilitation assignment, and Oates met with general manager Roland Hemond and assistant general manager Frank Robinson in Oates' office, where the confrontation had taken place.
Hemond emerged 45 minutes later, just before the first pitch of last night's game, to say that Oates and Davis had reached a truce.
"He [Davis] was upset that he wasn't in the lineup," said Hemond. "Glenn understands that the manager decides the lineup. They've discussed it and they've put it to bed. People say things when they're upset. They sometimes regret it when they've said them."
Hemond said Oates did not ask for Davis' release from the club.
Davis, a right-handed hitter, was angered that Oates chose Mike Pagliarulo, a left-handed hitter, over him to replace David Segui (jammed toe) at first base last night against Seattle left-hander Dave Fleming.
Davis confronted Oates in the manager's office, wanting to know why he was not going to be playing. The exchange took place in tones that were clearly heard outside the closed doors of Oates' office.
"I asked you a question," said Davis.
"I answered you," said Oates.
"No, you didn't," said Davis.
"You just didn't get the answer you wanted," said Oates.
The discussion continued with both men calling each other "a ------- liar," before Oates was heard to say, "Somebody better get this ------ out of here. That's the last thing we need right now."
Finally, Oates was heard to say to pitcher Rick Sutcliffe, "Sut, you'd better get this guy out of here." Sutcliffe got between the two men, and tempers cooled.
After the game, Oates and Davis were mum about their dispute.
"The discussion that Johnny and I had was solely of the nature of competitiveness," Davis said. "All things have been resolved. It's a dead issue. Simple."
Said Oates: "It's been taken care of. The closest of families have heated discussions at times. As far as I'm concerned, it's been taken care of."
The argument was the latest incident in the checkered Orioles career of Davis, whose two-year contract with the team ends after this season.
Davis, who was obtained in a three-for-one trade with the Houston Astros on Jan. 10, 1991, missed 169 games in his first two seasons with the Orioles with injuries to his rib cage and neck.
This season, Davis hit .177 in 30 games with the Orioles before accepting a Triple-A assignment in late May in an attempt to regain his batting stroke.
During the assignment, Davis, who has not played with the Orioles since May 23, suffered a broken jaw when he was punched by a bouncer outside a Virginia Beach, Va., nightclub on June 6.
Davis reluctantly accepted a rehabilitation assignment two weeks ago and in his last at-bat, homered in the ninth inning Saturday night to lead the Double-A Bowie Baysox to a win over the Albany-Colonie Yankees at Memorial Stadium.
Oddly enough, Oates said before the argument that it was "unsafe" to assume that Davis would not be used with a game on the line.
"I can use him any time I want. If he's in uniform, he's ready to play and he can be used at any time," said Oates.
"There's certainly a progression you want to take. But like anybody else, he could be used at any time."