Chris Davis admitted last night that his safety concerns increased after seeing reports of the positive COVID-19 tests among Marlins players. He also said he’d probably wear a mask at first base.
Davis gave the impression that he’d be playing in tonight’s home opener against the Yankees, but he’s absent from the lineup and away from the team.
“CD, he’s not here today,” manager Brandon Hyde said during his Zoom conference call. “He’s unavailable, so not in the lineup.”
Asked whether Davis’ absence is related to baseball, Hyde declined to offer more specifics.
“I can’t comment any further than what I said,” he replied. “Unavailable.”
The Orioles haven’t added a player to the 30-man roster for tonight’s game. They don’t have a taxi squad at home, but could have dipped into their alternate camp at Bowie.
Davis could be on COVID protocol and kept away from the team until he’s tested again. It’s pure speculation at the moment. But he’d be replaced on the roster if the team put him on the COVID injured list.
The Orioles got their team back together for opening day after outfielders Anthony Santander and Dwight Smith Jr. tested positive and arrived late to summer training camp. Both players are in the lineup tonight, with Santander in right field and Smith serving as the designated hitter.
Davis told the media last night during his Zoom call that he’s discussed the risks with his family.
“I would say I’m definitely a little bit more concerned just as far as they’re considered,” Davis said. “Ultimately, I’m not going to be able to protect everyone, I’m not going to be able to protect anyone other than myself, and I think that’s kind of where my head is as far as the mask is concerned. If I can do everything in my power to alleviate that stress, at least in my own mind, I think it’s probably the best thing for me.
“I can’t even think about bringing this thing home, but it’s the risk that I’ve assumed. My wife (Jill) and I have talked about it on more than one occasion and I think it’s something that we both feel like it’s worth at least going out there and giving it a shot before we just call it quits. So I’m going to do everything I can to protect myself and, hopefully, be able to get through the season with no hiccups.”
Davis also said it was an easy decision to accept the Yankees as the opponent for the first home series after the Marlins were shut down.
“We weren’t sure at first who it was going to be, if we were going to try to reschedule the game with the Marlins, if we were going to push it back to next week or what we were going to do,” Davis said. “Obviously, there are a lot of unknowns with the number of guys they had test positive, and guys didn’t want to put themselves in harm’s way.
“I think as an organization and definitely as far as our team is concerned, the guys we have in the clubhouse, I feel like we’ve done a really good job of wearing our masks, doing the things that we need to to stay safe. Once the game starts, we’re going to have to make a few adjustments on the field. ... But, yeah, once we were able to kind of figure the logistics of everything out, I think it was pretty much a no-brainer.”
Davis was hitless in his first 10 at-bats before his run-scoring double Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park.
He seemed to be looking forward to playing tonight.
“The baseball aspect is really what gives you kind of a release,” he said. “It gives you a little bit of a break from everything else that’s going on around you. To be around the guys, to play the game that you love, to be out on a big league baseball field with other big leaguers and just doing what you love, it kind of takes you away from everything that’s going on around you.
“Even when you have hand-washing stations at the end of the dugout, trainers spraying hand sanitizer at you left and right, wearing masks. I mean, there’s enough of a break between the white lines to really give you peace of mind and allows you to sleep a little bit better at night - at least for me. I can’t speak for the other guys, but I feel like they’re having a pretty good time.”
Left-hander John Means is expected to come off the injured list and make Thursday night’s start. Hyde hasn’t shared his rotation for the Rays series.
“It’s very, very probable that John pitches tomorrow,” he said. “Great chance that you see John Means on the mound tomorrow.”
For the Yankees
DJ LeMahieu 2B
Aaron Judge RF
Gleyber Torres SS
Giancarlo Stanton DH
Aaron Hicks CF
Mike Ford 1B
Gary Sánchez C
Gio Urshela 3B
Brett Gardner LF
Gerrit Cole RHP