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If Orioles win Sunday or Monday, Davis most likely would miss ALCS

Chris Davis
(Rob Carr/Getty Images)

DETROIT — If the Orioles win Sunday or Monday against the Detroit Tigers to clinch the American League Division Series, suspended slugger Chris Davis almost certainly would not be included on the club's American League Championship Series' 25-man roster, according to an industry source.

That could change, however, if the Orioles don't win the ALDS until Game 5 in Baltimore. If that scenario plays out, the Orioles, who are currently up 2-0 in the best-of-five ALDS, would be more likely to hold a roster spot open for Davis. Even that is far from a guarantee, though.

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Although no decision regarding Davis has been made — the Orioles aren't discussing a potential ALCS with this series ongoing — the sense within the organization is that Davis would have to be eligible for at least four of the seven potential ALCS games to be a sensible inclusion. Rosters must be set at 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 10, the morning of Game 1 of the ALCS.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter, asked about Davis during his news conference on Saturday, said the club is focused on winning the ALDS and nothing else. The manager said he texted with Davis as recently as Friday and that the corner infielder has been watching every pitch of the club's playoff games.

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Davis will return to the club's minor league complex in Sarasota, Fla., shortly, Showalter said. Last week, Davis played in several Instructional League games there.

Davis received a 25-game suspension on Sept. 12 for testing positive for Adderall, a prescription drug used to treat ADHD that is on Major League Baseball's banned substances list. It cannot be used without a therapeutic use exemption. Davis had an exemption in the past, but not in the last three seasons.

He served 17 games of that suspension during the regular season and two more so far in the playoffs heading into Sunday, which will be his 20th game away from the team. If the Orioles clinch on Sunday, Davis would still have to sit out five more playoff games. If the Orioles included Davis on the ALCS roster, they would have to play short for up to five games in the series, something the club wouldn't want to do.

The Orioles likely wouldn't carry an empty roster spot for four ALCS games, either — it's possible the best-of-seven series would be over before Davis would be eligible to return.

If it is only three, however, there would be a possibility the Orioles could include Davis, who batted .196 with 26 homers in 127 games for the Orioles this season.

Several in the organization believe that Davis' presence, despite the low batting average, makes a difference in the lineup because is requires teams to game plan for his power. Steve Pearce seemingly has seized the first base job, but Davis could play third base or be the designated hitter if Nelson Cruz is in the outfield.

If the Orioles win the ALDS and ALCS in the minimum number of games required, Davis wouldn't be eligible until Game 2 of the World Series. If they lose at least one game on their way to a World Series, however, Davis would be eligible for the full October Classic, assuming the Orioles chose to activate him.

If the Orioles don't play in five more playoff games after Sunday, Davis will have to finish his suspension at the start of the 2015 season, though he would be able to play in spring training games.

The 25-man postseason rosters can be re-set for the start of each playoff series, but then cannot be altered for that series unless there is an injury that is verified by Major League Baseball.

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