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BALTIMORE—Orioles manager Brandon Hyde thought his meeting with first baseman Chris Davis on Friday was a positive one.
“I thought it went really well,” Hyde said. “It went how I was expecting it where, like I said the other night, we have a lot of respect for each other and we have a really strong relationship.
“It’s an incident that neither one of us feels good about. But after talking through it with him, we talked at length about a lot of things, and feel really good about how it went, and I think we’re going to be stronger because of it.
“I think the world of Chris. He’s just an incredible guy. It’s just one of those things that happens at times in competitive environments and in a frustrating situation. And we feel good about moving forward from it.”
In his first season as Orioles manager, Hyde and Davis had a heated exchange in the bottom of the fifth inning of the Orioles’ 14-2 loss to the Yankees. The argument occurred in the dugout and was captured on television. The lasting image was of Davis being restrained by others as Hyde went into the tunnel that leads to the clubhouse.
“When you’re managing, you’re managing people and all different kinds of personalities and different environments and from different places.” Hyde said.
“Sometimes there’s, like in any family, there’s arguments or times when it’s not smooth. That was unfortunate that it was caught on camera. But I think that was probably a build-up of some frustration from him, and I get a little frustrated from how he was handling it and that’s how it started.”
Davis said that he was disgusted by the top of the fifth inning when he didn’t field Jonathan Villar’s poor throw to first on Aaron Hicks’ grounder. Villar was charged with an error. Gio Urshela followed with a home run, and the Orioles’ deficit grew from 4-1 to 6-1.
“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. I wish now that I would have pulled him down in the tunnel and not have everybody see that or see the end of what it was, but that was just being reactionary to something that I didn’t think was right.
“I’ve always been somebody who … I wish I would have handled it a little bit differently. I would have taken him down in the tunnel so that nobody would have seen what was going on, but it was so quick and then that’s why you see me go down the tunnel because I’m realizing at that point that there are cameras here and let me get out of here and try to get him down there.”
General manager Mike Elias said he think Hyde and Davis have dealt with the situation well.
“These things are more common than probably people realize,” Elias said.
“In our situation it’s just very unfortunate that it happened right out in the dugout in the middle of a game and in front of cameras. That’s not where you want these things to take place. I think for me the unfortunate aspect of it is it drew some undue negative attention to actually what has been what I think one of the bright points has been this year is the environment here in the clubhouse and on the field and just the overall energy level that these guys are bringing.
“So it was something uncharacteristic of this team. There’s been a lot of cohesiveness. Brandon and Chris Davis have had a really good relationship. I talked to Chris about it for the first time just a few minutes ago. It’s something that I think is over already.”
Davis still has more than three years remaining on his seven-year, $161 million contract.
“I hope he starts playing better and we’ll continue to revisit our plan there,” Elias said.
“But I’ve said before, he’s on the team. We don’t have any plans or expectations to alter that fact. He’s under contract and it’s not something I take lightly. He’s got a lot of talent and we’re not going to walk away from the fact that he’s talented and he’s here for a while.
“So, we’ll continue to talk to him, we’ll continue to work with him during the season as best we can and we’ll see how the plans are over the offseason. I’ve been keeping in touch with him about his program. This will continue.”
Elias, who discussed the incident with team ownership, said Davis was not punished for his actions.
“This is not something where they’ve got a poor relationship or where this had any kind of ill effects on the team,” Elias said.
“I do think what it reflected was the frustration that a guy like Chris goes through when his statistics are what they are and when the team is losing as many games as it’s losing. Even though we all kind of understand what this team is organizationally, these are red-blooded guys, these are professional athletes, and we’re out here playing the New York Yankees and they’re dropping home runs on us left and right and we’re down 10 runs or whatever it was. That’s not fun to go through, and these things happen.”
The Orioles were off on Thursday. Hyde said he thought about the flare-up a lot.
“It’s been a tough 48 hours, to be 100 percent honest, however many hours it’s been,” Hyde said. “I don’t like reading about myself and I don’t like that being the spotlight of what our club is about, which I think is the exact opposite. So that really bothered me.
“It stayed with me yesterday and woke up today and was looking forward to seeing Chris, to be honest with you. Couldn’t wait to talk to him about it. I thought we needed a breather yesterday and woke up today, texted him and couldn’t wait to get to the ballpark and talk to him.”
Davis has tried not to let his statistics affect his standards.
“I think that’s part of his disappointment is that being one of the very few veteran players we have on this team and handling things correctly,” Hyde said. “He’s done a great job all year and that’s why I think this incident is unfortunate for everybody because I’ve really been pleased with how he’s handled himself in the clubhouse.
“I love our relationship. Listen, 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 and we’ve tried to help him through all of that. I know there’s frustration there. I get it. It’s not easy to play in the big leagues and he’s got expectations of himself that he’s not living up to. It’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.”
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