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Orioles’ Chris Davis says hitting ‘breaking point’ led to altercation with manager Brandon Hyde

Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias talks about not pulling off any trades before the deadline.

Standing outside the Orioles’ clubhouse, first baseman Chris Davis said Friday that frustration with his defense led to his disagreement with manager Brandon Hyde during Wednesday’s 14-2 loss to the New York Yankees.

The altercation, caught on television cameras in the middle of the fifth inning, prompted Mark Trumbo and hitting coach Don Long to restrain Davis and led to Hyde removing him from the game. The top of the fifth inning began with a throwing error by second baseman Jonathan Villar, a throw that Davis said Friday he should’ve been able to corral. The next batter, Gio Urshela, hit a two-run home run, one of the Yankees’ 16 in their sweep at Camden Yards.

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Davis returned to the dugout after the top of the fifth and expressed his frustration, leading to the altercation with Hyde.

Davis, 33, is hitting .182 with nine home runs in the fourth season of a seven-year, $161 million contract with Baltimore, setting major league records for consecutive hitless at-bats and plate appearances between the end of last season and the start of this one.

“That was really kind of the breaking point,” Davis said of the play in the field. “I think it’s pretty obvious the offensive struggles I’ve had for quite some time. I feel like night in and night out, I’ve done a real good job of still being there on defense and trying to pick guys up, and at that spot in the game, at that point in the series, that was kind of where it all … like I said, I hit a breaking point.

“It’s going to happen. It’s going to happen when you have that much frustration, when you’re constantly having to deal with failure, you’re going to have episodes where you just have to let it out. Unfortunately, it was in the dugout. I wish it hadn’t been. I wish it had been underneath, but it happened, and I can’t go back and change that.”

Although Hyde declined Wednesday to elaborate on what caused the dispute, he provided some clarity Friday.

“I think he came off the field really frustrated about his play, or whatever it was, and I got frustrated with how he was responding to his frustration and what happened,” Hyde said. "I thought some things were inappropriate, and I called him out on it.

“That was just me being reactionary to something I didn’t think was right.”

Hyde did not confirm a report that Davis’ frustration led to his manager being hit with equipment.

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“Anybody that’s been in a Major League Baseball dugout, there’s guys that snap, and there’s equipment slammed, and there’s all sorts of things," Hyde said. "So I’m not going to get into specifics of that. But that’s not uncommon, where people get angry and show frustration by slamming a helmet or whatever it may be.”

Hyde pulled Davis from the game, and Jace Peterson pinch-hit for Davis in the bottom of the fifth. Davis said Friday that he left the ballpark before the end of Wednesday’s game, an action neither Hyde nor executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias expressed any issue with.

“I wanted to be out of the clubhouse by the time guys started coming in, just to be respectful to them,” Davis said. “Obviously, it wasn't a highlight or a high point for me, but I just thought it was best to be out of there by the time guys started coming off the field, just to give everybody time to cool off.

“It was something that I don’t want to focus on, something that I don’t want them to focus on, and at that point in time, I think it was just best for me to kind of distance myself, and to give not only myself space but to give Hyde space, and the other guys as well.”

Davis was out of the lineup for Friday’s series opener with the Houston Astros, though Hyde said that was planned with former Oriole left-hander Wade Miley as the opposing starter.

Davis said he and Hyde talked for “over an hour” earlier Friday, with Hyde saying he talks to Davis “more than I’ve talked to any player this season.”

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Hyde said the incident weighed on his mind throughout Thursday’s day off, saying he woke up Friday morning excited to meet with Davis. Davis spent Thursday’s off-day with his family.

“We both knew that we had an off-day,” Davis said. “I think it was probably best that we did, just to kind of give us a little bit of time. I didn’t think about it a whole lot. I tried not to. I think he was kind of in the same boat. When we’re not here and we’re not in uniform, we’re not working, we’re just regular human beings.”

That was an idea Davis seemed to want to punctuate throughout his nine-minute meeting with media Friday. He has heard plenty of criticism in recent years, especially given his contract. The lengthy deal came after he won two major league home run titles in three seasons. But Davis is slashing .200/.294/.386 during his contract, which keeps him from being a free agent until after the 2022 season and includes $42 million in deferred money from 2023-37.

“I think everybody has their breaking point, and I think probably one of the things I’ve heard the most that just isn’t true is that I don’t care,” Davis said, “that I don’t show enough emotion, that maybe I don’t care because I’m not blowing up every other at-bat. And that couldn’t be further from the truth. What was said is between [Hyde] and I, and it’s going to stay that way. It was silly. It was in the heat of the moment.

“For people to assume that I don’t care because I don’t blow up, that’s just not accurate. I understand that I’m one of the older guys on the team, and I understand that I have an example to set, and I didn’t do a very good job of that the other night. But I feel like looking back on the last couple years, I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job of it night in and night out, but everybody has their breaking point.”

Said Hyde: “He only knows what he has gone through, and it’s not easy. And he’s had a tough time offensively for a couple years. We’ve tried to help him through all of that, and I know there’s frustration there, and I get it. It’s not easy to do. One, it’s not easy to play in the big leagues. Two, he’s got expectations of himself that he’s not living up to. That’s not easy. I think he’s handled himself incredibly well this whole year, and I know he’s going to handle himself well the rest of the year.”

Around the horn

The Orioles recalled infielder Rio Ruiz from Triple-A Norfolk to fill out their 25-man roster. Ruiz was hitting .238 with five home runs before being optioned July 25. ... Double-A Bowie’s Michael Baumann and Triple-A Norfolk’s Ryan Mountcastle were named the Orioles’ minor league pitcher and player of the month for July.

ASTROS@ORIOLES

Saturday, 7:05 p.m.

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TV: MASN2 Radio: 105.7 FM

Orioles starter: Aaron Brooks (2-5, 5.45 ERA)

Astros starter: Aaron Sanchez (4-14, 5.76 ERA)

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