Orioles first baseman Chris Davis left Wednesday’s game against the New York Yankees shortly after a verbal altercation with manager Brandon Hyde in the dugout.
MASN cameras caught Davis and Hyde speaking to each other in the dugout in the middle of the fifth inning, with the Orioles trailing by five in what became a 14-2 loss to compete a Yankees sweep. After Hyde said something to Davis and headed down the tunnel toward the Orioles’ clubhouse, Davis charged toward him and had to be restrained by teammate Mark Trumbo and hitting coach Don Long.
Jace Peterson pinch-hit for Davis in the bottom of the fifth, with Davis striking out in his only at-bat of the night against Yankees left-hander James Paxton. Davis did not speak to the media after the game.
While Hyde did not say who or what sparked the “disagreement," he did say the decision to pull Davis from the game came after the argument. Hyde added that he and Davis have yet to speak about the altercation but that they will.
The Orioles are off Thursday before beginning a three-game series with the Houston Astros on Friday at Camden Yards.
“It was just a disagreement that we had in the dugout,” Hyde said. “What was said and what we talked about, I’m not going to get into. We’re going to keep it in-house. It’s private. It’s just something that happens sometimes, and frustration boils over a little bit when we’re not playing our best baseball the last couple of games. Unfortunately, I’m embarrassed that it was caught on camera and people had to see it. Sometimes, those things happen.”
Trumbo, who has yet to play this season but is with the team as he works to rehab from knee surgery last season, said he didn’t know what started it and echoed Hyde in saying such disputes happen during the course of a lengthy and, in the Orioles’ case, frustrating baseball season.
“There was obviously a little bit of a disagreement," Trumbo said. "I think this game was particularly tough. Almost nothing went our way. Everybody was pretty frustrated, and those things, they tend to happen. Hopefully, they don’t happen in front of everybody, and in this case, it kind of did, so not ideal, but not that big a deal.
“This stuff happens. It rarely gets talked about ’cause you don’t see it all the time, but tensions are always high in the big leagues, and tonight, just a little bit too much.”
Trumbo said Davis “seemed better a few minutes after.”
Davis, 33, is the most veteran member of the Orioles, in terms of age, service time and time with the team. Hyde is in his first year as Baltimore’s manager and has publicly been a supporter of Davis in an up-and-down season for the one-time slugger, though he criticized Davis after a recent strikeout binge during the Orioles’ series loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
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“Me and Chris have a good relationship,” Hyde said Wednesday. “These things happen in competitive environments. It’s something that’ll pass and we’ll get through it, but it was just unfortunate it happened in the dugout.
“We’ll move past it, and hopefully be closer for it.”
As an Oriole, Davis twice led the majors in home runs in 2013 and 2015, but he has generally struggled since signing a 7-year, $161 million contract with the team before the 2016 season, bottoming out last year by having the lowest batting average for a qualified player in major league history at .168.
Between the end of last season and the start of this year, Davis set major league records for longest streaks of hitless at-bats and hitless plate appearances. He broke out of the funk with a strong month but soon found himself slumping again. He started the Orioles’ recent West Coast road trip 0-for-16 with a walk and 14 strikeouts before hitting a go-ahead home run against the San Diego Padres in the trip’s final game.
Davis is hitting .182 with nine home runs and 111 strikeouts in the fourth season of his contract. He won’t be a free agent until after the 2022 season, with $42 million of his contract coming in deferred payments from 2023-2037.