Chris Davis returned to the Orioles on Friday after missing two days because of a sinus infection. Davis said he was available to play but isn’t in the starting lineup for the Orioles against Tampa Bay left-hander Blake Snell.
“I feel fine. I feel well-rested,” Davis said in a video conference call. “Obviously, having to go through everything that we’ve had to go through on a day-to-day basis with the checkups, it raised some red flags.
“I had to go through several tests, and then go through the protocol. Everything looks good. Everything came back negative.”
Davis said he tested negative for Covid-19 “at least eight times” in the past several days. He said he didn’t have a temperature but it was higher than normal.
Two Orioles, outfielders Anthony Santander and Dwight Smith Jr., tested positive for Covid-19 when they reported for summer training and missed significant time before being added to the Opening Day roster.
On Tuesday night after the postponement of the two games in Miami against the Marlins because of an outbreak of Covid-19, Davis spoke on a video conference call and said he’d wear a mask in the field.
Davis was aware that his absence would spark speculation that he had the coronavirus.
“Obviously, whenever something like this comes up, you want to do your best to keep your head out of all that,” Davis said. “It’s to be expected. For me, to be able to come back to the clubhouse and be around the guys and get back to work, that’s going to give me piece of mind. It’s just something we have to deal with.”
Davis didn’t think he had the virus.
“I wasn’t showing any symptoms,” he said. “I felt normal, but with everything that’s gone on the last few days, the last week, I wanted to be cautious. I wanted to make sure I did things the right way and went about things the right way.
“It’s new to everybody, and it’s obviously something we have to take in stride and learn on the go … We’re going about it the right way, in my opinion. I think it’s better to be more cautious than it is more careless, especially with how quickly this can spread, how close we’re together, how much we’re together, just in the course of the day.
“I think we’re doing a good job, not only in our clubhouse of adhering to the health and safety protocols, but, league-wide. I think that for the most part, teams are doing it the right way.”
Still, at least 18 Marlins players have tested positive, shutting down their season at least through Sunday. The Phillies have had a player and coach test positive. Two Cardinals tested positive on Friday, and their game against the Brewers was postponed. The seasons of the Nationals and Blue Jays also have been affected as Major League Baseball has shuffled its schedule because of the virus.
Kohl Stewart opts out: Right-hander Kohl Stewart, who didn’t pitch in any of the Orioles’ first five games, opted out for health reasons.
“For the time being, I have decided to pause my participation in the 2020 season,” Stewart said in a statement. “My elevated risk of serious complications of COVID-19 due to type 1 diabetes continues to be of great concern. I am grateful to the organization, as well as my coaches and teammates, for their incredible support.”
Manager Brandon Hyde said: “The organization has fully supported his decision.
“Kohl has some underlying conditions. We’ve had a lot of discussions the past few days. I’m going to keep those conversations private.”
To replace Stewart on the 30-man roster, the Orioles selected the contract of right-handed pitcher Thomas Eshelman from the Bowie alternate site.
There are 39 players on the 40-man roster and 55 in the 60-man player pool.
Odds and ends: Shortstop José Iglesias is out for the second straight game because of a left quad injury. Hyde said he was improving and could possibly be available for pinch-hitting. Andrew Velázquez will start at shortstop. Pat Valaiaka will play first … Tommy Milone will start Sunday against Tampa Bay.