Orioles' Davis confident he can keep up hot hitting when season starts - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Orioles’ Davis confident he can keep up hot hitting when season starts

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

One of the nicest surprises of the Orioles’ truncated spring training was the hitting of Chris Davis.

When the season begins, Davis will begin the fifth year of a seven-year $161 million contract, and after hitting a combined .172 in 2018 and 2019, the 34-year-old first baseman started off the spring strong.

Davis was hitting .467 with three home runs and nine RBIs in nine games before spring training was halted on March 12.

“I am confident that I can pick up where I left off,” Davis said on Tuesday during a conference call. “If you’re optimistic, which I’ve been trying to be, I feel like it’s something I can look at as a positive.

“While I didn’t go out there and continue to get regular game at-bats, I know that once we start up again, I’ll have an opportunity to go back out there and get more comfortable, get more at-bats, get more of a feel of where I want to be, but it was nice to see some results and give me a little peace of mind to know what I’m doing this offseason really worked and just to continue doing that.”

During the offseason, Davis worked with former Orioles teammate Craig Gentry and added 25 pounds of muscle.

“I feel like I’m swinging the bat just as well as I was when the games ended, and I look forward to the chance whenever we can start back up.”

Davis describes his home gym as modest, and is working during the layoff. As the Orioles’ player representative, he checks in with his teammates and says they’re working out adequately since most gyms around the country are closed during the pandemic.

Live batting practice isn’t possible, but that’s the same for everyone.

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“How long do I think it’s going to take me?” Davis said. “I honestly feel like I’m still ready to roll right now. I think that’s my mindset. I’m hoping that’s the mindset of my teammates. Whenever we get the call to fire things up again, we’re ready to roll. As far as how long, I don’t know. For me, as a position player, it’s just a couple of days of at-bats.

“I know pitchers are a little bit different. They need to stretch out and do certain things. It will be interesting to see once we start talking about a possible start date what [a second] spring training is going to look like.”

During the pause because of the pandemic, Davis has been communicating with the Orioles, officials from the union and colleagues on other teams.

“I’m very proud of the way we’ve handled ourselves as players as a group,” he said. “I feel like we’ve shown that we’re unified, that we’re in this together, that we’re willing to do whatever it takes to play as many games as possible.”

Davis said that no matter how much practice a player is able to get at home, there’s a limit.

“You’re never ever going to be able to substitute or re-create in-game at-bats,” Davis said. “We still have time. This is very abnormal, very unusual. It’s something we’ve never been through before, but I feel like, especially in our situation, with the guys that we had in camp, and the guys I’d been talking to, even since the last day of camp, I feel like it’s brought us together.”

In the last two seasons, the Orioles lost a combined 223 games, but when spring training came to an abrupt end, they had a 9-7-3 record. Davis likes what he saw, and how the players have responded to the uncertainty.

“It’s forced us to lean on one another and really rely on one another to keep each other motivated,” Davis said. “Keep each other focused and positive. I’ve been extremely impressed with just the responses I’ve gotten overall from the guys.

“I expected it from the guys that were a little bit older, the Alex Cobbs, the guys that have been around, but when you start talking about some of these younger guys and how impressive they’ve been to me, just communicating, wanting to know what’s going on, wanting to be involved, wanting to be up to speed with whatever’s been going on, I’ve just been extremely pleased with our guys.”

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. CalsPals

    April 1, 2020 at 7:39 am

    April fools, sorry, couldn’t resist, hopeful…go O’s…

  2. Orial

    April 1, 2020 at 8:10 am

    I sure hope, mainly for Chris’ sake,that optimism carries over but I really have my doubts. A,lot of self discipline will be needed by him between now and July 1(if that’s a goal). Nice guy but I look at his contract expiring.

  3. Boog Robinson Robinson

    April 1, 2020 at 9:02 am

    Just remember to go the other way big fella.

  4. NormOs

    April 1, 2020 at 12:15 pm

    I’d like to talk about another player. Ryan Mountcastle was the 2019 MVP in the International League AAA. His Stats .312 BA 25 Homers. True, he did strikeout 130 times in 127 games (BTW the 25 home runs were also in only 127 games). Also, he only grounded into 10 DPs. If, in his wisdom, Elias is going to keep this kid at AAA when he belongs on this MLB team, then he should pay him minimum MLB salary. He has earned the right to play MLB. There is only one MVP per league per year. The O’s should do what’s right by this kid. It’s not his fault The O’s are in this cocka mamee “REBUILD” that will start sometime, anytime, soon…………….maybe!.

    • CalsPals

      April 1, 2020 at 12:23 pm

      Not going to get an argument here, BUT this has been argued back & forth ad nausem since last spring, Rich made a good comparison to Machado & a winning team doing a similar thing earlier this week, it’s a philosophy that Elias has that we can’t currently argue, as he’s in charge & we know nothing…go O’s…

    • ClayDal

      April 1, 2020 at 12:26 pm

      The Orioles like Mountcastle. In an ordinary year, sending him to Norfolk for a month or so allows them to keep him around an extra year.His defense is still below average and he can work on his plate discipline. Unfortunately, the shut down probably moves his MLB debut to May 2021. I’m not a big fan of holding back someone for service time, but sacrificing 3 weeks or so for an extra year down the road is probably worth it

    • CalsPals

      April 1, 2020 at 12:29 pm

      How about we just throw this out there, play your best players, oh wait, we have…go O’s…

    • ClayDal

      April 1, 2020 at 12:36 pm

      What the Orioles are doing with Mountcastle is similar to what major college football programs do in red shirting players. It allows them to maximize their potential. If this were a normal year( which it obviously isn’t) keeping Mountcastle at AAA for 3 weeks means he would under team control through 2026. Bringing him up to start the season means he could leave after 2025. In the long run, it makes more sense to have Mountcastle on the team in 2026, by which time the Orioles should be better than to have him here for a few weeks on a last place team. Of course this argument is a moot point since nobody is playing anywhere

    • CalsPals

      April 1, 2020 at 3:28 pm

      I coached in college for 20 yrs, comparing the cash cow football to any other sport is ridiculously out of proportion, they can redshirt an elite athlete because they have 80 scholarships, Mountcastle had legitimate stats to make the team last yr out of spring training & never smelled the majors, they claim he doesn’t have the defense or position, do you remember our defense last yr, it’s a philosophical decision they say, I cry BS, it’s STRICTLY a monetary decision, they’d have some of my respect if they’d just come out & say it…oh well…go O’s…

    • ClayDal

      April 1, 2020 at 4:05 pm

      So you would sacrifice one whole year of service time ( when the Orioles might actually be good ) for 3 weeks or so in 2020 for a last place team? Besides if the Orioles call him up a few weeks in the season, they would probably have to go to arbitration 4 times instead of 3. Cubs did it with Kris Bryant, Braves with Acuna and the Blue Jays with Vlad Jr. Waited until the season was a few weeks old to stretch another year out of them. And Bryant and Acuna can actually field

    • CalsPals

      April 1, 2020 at 4:09 pm

      No guarantees anywhere, play your best players, all the time, it should be a non-negotiable…go O’s…

  5. Mike1966

    April 1, 2020 at 7:34 pm

    Maybe the answer will be playing in front of no fans. Hoping for the best, but it’s long past the time to clear a roster spot for Mountcastle.

    • CalsPals

      April 1, 2020 at 7:58 pm

      Two thumbs up…go O’s…

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