“It’s just a really annoying occurrence to have happen, but I guess the bed or the pillow (in D.C.), I don’t know what it was, but I woke up yesterday and couldn’t turn my head left or move it up. So, we’re working hard in there,” he said.
“It’s been pretty painful, but trying to loosen it up and do some deep tissue massage and everything you can to try to loosen it up, because you hate, especially playing a National League team, you hate to not be available, so trying to do everything you can and see if I can at least go in there and pinch-hit. I’m going to go out and try to take some swings. But yeah, yesterday definitely wasn’t happening. I took some dry swings and it was hurting pretty bad.
“I think today might be ever so slightly better, so yeah, I’m hoping to kind of keep it warm and keep it loose just in case I’m needed out there.”
A late flight to Atlanta and minimal sleep aren’t considered remedies for neck pain.
“Probably not too much, but that happens,” he said. “So, I tried to keep my posture upright. My posture’s usually not that great typically, so I tried to keep my back straight and keep everything in line. Just trying to keep it moving and not let it stiffen up there.”
Chris Davis has returned to the lineup, and first base, after missing the last eight games. He sat at his locker this afternoon with vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson, who worked on Davis’ hitting and the mental aspects of the game.
The latter part held the same importance as adjusting a stance or moving hands.
“That was just as big to me as a lot of physical things,” said Davis, whose average dipped to .150 before manager Buck Showalter sent him to the bench.
“A lot of times when you’re really grinding, a lot of times when you’re really trying to find a feel that you know is there, mentally you keep going even when the physical part won’t let you. And I think that’s something that really I was just beating the same drum to the same tune and I wasn’t making any progress. And there needed to be an adjustment made.
“There were a lot of things going on around me, there was a lot of crowd noise, so to speak, but I just needed the time to get back to who I was, and I feel like I am, I feel like I am.”
Showalter wasn’t going to play Davis again without his approval and recommendations from Anderson and hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh.
“It was a team effort,” Davis said. “I mean, there’s no doubt about it. I think a lot of it was really just kind of quieting down everything. I have a tendency to try and explore, I guess is a good word to use, especially when I’m scuffling trying to get that feeling back, trying to do too much. I think that was another reason that I was given the time off.
“Buck realized the effort was there. He realized that I was trying to make the adjustment, but that it wasn’t clicking, and I would have tried to run out there and gone out there and hit .050 if that’s what it took, but I think they realized what was at hand, what was going on. And really the time that I needed off and the time to get that, I kind of needed to go back to square one and say, ‘This is what I do well and this is how I go about it.’
“I appreciate it. I’m excited to play again. I feel like it’s been a year.”
Davis skimped on the specifics of his sessions with Coolbaugh and Anderson.
“There are a lot of things,” he said, smiling. “Do I have to tell you every little thing?
“Just a few things that I’ve done in the past that I know have worked, have kind of helped me stay grounded, things that I know mentally that I can do physically, if that makes any sense.
“Just little mechanical things here and there. I think the break was obviously more just to give me an opportunity to sit down and try to make some of these adjustments and not have to go out and do it in the game. That’s one of the hardest things about this game is trying to make the adjustment, especially when it’s something as drastic as what we’ve been talking about. I don’t mean mechanically, I mean just kind of the feel, certain things that I’ve been doing over the last couple of years that were kind of counterproductive and I had kind of forgotten how to correct that or recreate that feel.
“It was good. It was nice for me to have a chance to sit there and root for my teammates and get excited and feel like myself again and I’m fired up. I’m excited to play tonight.”
Davis missed three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer last night, but he gets Braves left-hander Sean Newcomb. Not an ideal matchup for a struggling hitter, but which ones can be deemed favorable during such an extended period of futility?
“It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter,” Davis said. “It never mattered.”
For the Braves
Ender Inciarte CF
Ozzie Albies 2B
Freddie Freeman 1B
Nick Markakis RF
Tyler Flowers C
Charlie Culberson LF
Dansby Swanson SS
Johan Camargo 3B
Sean Newcomb LHP