Chris Davis reacts to Jim Palmer’s criticism

CHICAGO - Orioles first baseman Chris Davis responded today to critical comments made about him on the MASN telecast last night by Hall of Famer Jim Palmer.

“They say he works hard,” Palmer said on the “O’s Xtra” postgame show. “He told everybody in spring training that he worked with (hitting coach) Scott Coolbaugh. So I asked Scott in spring training. I said, ‘Hey, you must have really put in a lot of work.’ He goes, ‘We didn’t work.’ So I don’t believe anything.”

Davis is batting just .154/.230/.253 with four homers, 13 RBIs and an OPS of .483. Over his past 11 games, he is 4-for-43 with 22 strikeouts.

sidebar-Chris-Davis-Hr-grey.jpg“It’s disappointing when things are obviously not going the way that I want, for that to be called into question by two guys that I have a lot of trust and faith in, that I’ve had a good relationship with for a number of years. I hate that that is where we are,” Davis said in the visitor’s clubhouse.

“But at the end of the day, I know the work that I put in in the offseason. I know the things that I tried to make adjustments and correct. And it’s frustrating for me every day to come in here and not see a return for that. Obviously, the way things are going right now, the last thing I want to hear about is someone in the organization questioning my work ethic, but I guess that is where we’re at.”

Davis was asked about working with Coolbaugh over the winter.

“When he’s in town and when he’s available, we hit together,” Davis said. “I made it a point to start hitting a lot earlier. The guy that I train with threw to me quite a bit. For me to not see a return and continue to grind out early in the season, it’s tough, man. Just because I don’t snap every at-bat or show a lot of emotion doesn’t mean it doesn’t bother me. It bothers me a great deal.”

Coolbaugh said he worked with Davis just a few times last winter.

“I worked with Chris about three times this winter,” he said. “Nothing was talked about a physical change. A lot of it was more about the mental side of it. Being more aggressive in the zone and swinging at pitches that he knows he can handle.

“I think Jim (Palmer) was making an assessment of, you know, what typical players go through in their careers. At times, everyone comes to a point where they have to make an adjustment. They have to self-evaluate and try to adjust mentally or physically. I don’t have an issue with his comments, as far as him saying I didn’t work out with Chris. I worked with Chris about three times this winter.”

I asked Coolbaugh if Davis has been reticent to make adjustments.

“Look, I’m rooting for Chris and have known him a long time. I am here, available every day for any player that wants to work and make any changes they feel is necessary. I think it’s up to Chris to decide what he wants. All the resources are here for him,” he said.

Davis said he has been open to changes and adjustments.

“I feel like I have pretty much wiped the slate clean on a daily basis and said, ‘Is there something else we can try?’ It is foolish for me to go out there and continue to try and do the same thing over and over,” Davis said. “Two nights ago, I squared up three balls and have nothing to show for it. The next night, it looks like I’m standing on the wrong side of the plate. All I know to do is continue to work and trust that there is a history there, a history of success and try to be here for my teammates on the defensive side of the ball.”

Davis said it has been difficult not finding a solution to what ails his bat.

“That is the most frustrating part to me. It’s not just one thing. If it was that easy, we would have found it by now. I feel there are several guys that have offered advice and help,” he said.

I asked Davis if there is some solution he and the Orioles have not yet tried, including benching for a period of time and/or going to the minors.

“That is not a question for me,” Davis said. “My job is to do what I can every day. Work hard and show up every day and that’s what I’ll continue to do.”

Here is Buck Showalter’s take on this: “Evidently this is something that Chris and Scott have had to respond to. I’m not going to get into (whether this criticism is) fair and unfair. I’m going to be supportive of Chris in this. Chris works hard at his trade. Because he is not screaming and yelling and wearing emotions on his sleeve, he cares to a fault. I’m there personally seeing a lot of work that he and Scott do. Which day and what is considered enough or not enough. I just talked to Chris yesterday and spoke to him today about some things. It’s tough sledding right now. Those are the type of things that happen when you are having the struggles we’re having. Scott and him have been together and had a lot of success. I trust them.

“Scott is very confident and I am in his skills. He’s got a proven track record. We are supposed to figure out a reason why we are not performing as we have in the past. But the past is the past. It’s about now. Can we get better right away? You can lean on a track record just so long.”

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