What to do with Davis (updated)

Before I proceed with this morning's blog topic, I want to talk a few people off the ledge.

My blog and Twitter account were besieged last night with fans who were in a total panic over a report out of Louisiana that pitcher Kevin Gausman was definitely returning to LSU instead of signing with the Orioles, who made him the fourth-overall pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.

I checked the story, which you can read here, and it now says he's "strongly considering" staying in school.

MLBTradeRumors.com, in passing along the link last night, wrote "Kevin Gausman, the No. 4 overall pick in this year's draft is unlikely to sign with the Orioles because his heart is still with Louisiana State University, writes Albert Buford of the New Orleans Times-Picayune."

Nowhere in the story does Burford (his actual name, according to the byline) state that Gausman is unlikely to sign.

Gausman's final quote reads, "I have no problem at all going back to LSU. We'll see what happens."

Yes, we'll see what happens. We'll see whether this is the usual posturing, which is an annual occurrence as the deadline approaches. That's my guess.

Maybe he does go back to school and re-enters the draft. I would just hold off making the assumption that he's committed to another season at LSU. The Orioles remain encouraged that he'll sign.

Don't read too much into what you read.

I'm sure Kevin has considered how many powdered mini donuts he could buy with $4.2 million.

UPDATE: LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri issued the following statement:

"Kevin is still in negotiations with the Orioles, and any reports portraying his return to LSU as definite are premature. This is a monumental decision in Kevin's life, and as much as we want him back with us, we also want him to do what is in his best interest."

As for the Home Run Derby, I didn't watch a single swing. It bores me. I'd rather back-back-back-back into a moving train than be subjected to 12 hours of ESPN's coverage.

And as for today's topic, I had planned on speculating that Joe Mahoney would be optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on Friday when the Orioles activated right fielder Nick Markakis from the disabled list, but they made the roster move yesterday - just as I was preparing to sit down to dinner.

They still have to make room for Chris Tillman, who is scheduled to start on Sunday. Infielder/outfielder Steve Tolleson could be headed back to Norfolk.

Davis Dugout White tall.jpgI've been asked many times about the impact Markakis' return will have on Chris Davis. I can't offer a firm answer, but a move to left field is one possibility.

Davis hasn't played left in the majors, but he didn't play right until appearing in 16 games this season.

The conflict, of course, is that Xavier Avery has been starting in left and he provides better defense. They both bat from the left side, which eliminates a traditional platoon setup. And what happens when Endy Chavez, also a left-handed batter, comes off the disabled list? His injury-rehab assignment started yesterday in the Gulf Coast League.

Davis hasn't gotten much action at first base with Mark Reynolds making most of the starts. Jim Thome is clogging up the designated hitter slot. Manager Buck Showalter is reluctant to play Davis at third base.

Avery could be optioned when Chavez is activated. Steve Pearce is out of options and he bats from the right side. Until then, Showalter will have to find ways to get Davis at-bats.

I would expect Markakis to bat third, as usual, in Friday night's game against the Tigers at Camden Yards. And I would expect J.J. Hardy to continue batting second despite a horrific slump.

The four days off could be exactly what Hardy needed. And if they don't do the trick, Hardy should be lowered in the order.

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