Davis won’t play again in 2020

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde confirmed this afternoon that first baseman Chris Davis will remain on the injured list through the last eight games of the season.

Davis returned to the IL five days ago with left knee patella tendinitis after already receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection, resting and working out at the alternate camp site in Bowie. He was activated on Sept. 8 after accompanying the team on its trip to New York, but appeared in only one game.

Davis-Upset-After-Strikeout-White-Sidebar.jpgIn his final appearance in a 2020 lineup, Davis had three at-bats against the Yankees in Game 2 of a Sept. 11 doubleheader and was 0-for-3 with a strikeout.

Asked today for an update on Davis, manager Brandon Hyde said, “He’s on the injured list, so he’s not going to be back with us.”

Completing the fifth year of his seven-year deal, Davis slashed .115/.164/.173 (6-for-52) with three doubles, no home runs, one RBI, three walks and 17 strikeouts in 16 games and 55 plate appearances.

Optimism for a turnaround grew in spring training when Davis went 9-for-22 (.409) with two doubles, three home runs, nine RBIs, 10 walks, four strikeouts and 10 runs scored.

The sport shut down on March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic and Davis wasn’t able to carry his momentum into the regular season.

The knee flared up earlier in the summer, though he avoided the injured list until Aug. 21, when the Orioles promoted Ryan Mountcastle to the majors.

Mountcastle is playing first base tonight as the Orioles continue their series against the Rays.

The Orioles optioned super-utility player Andrew Velazquez to the alternate camp site earlier today and recalled reliever Evan Phillips.

Velazquez is batting .159/.274/.206 in 40 games and 77 plate appearances. He’s made 19 starts and 30 appearances at shortstop, two starts at second base and one start in center field.

“With (Austin) Hays and (Cedric) Mullins being here, we feel comfortable about our outfield depth,” Hyde said in today’s Zoom conference call with the media. “With (Pat) Valaika being able to play short, as well as Iggy (José Iglesias) - Iggy’s playing tonight - we wanted the extra arm for coverage and give guys a little bit of a breather here down the stretch.”

The Orioles were eager to bring back Phillips after he struck out all four batters faced in Game 2 of Thursday’s doubleheader. He served as the 29th man and was optioned later.

“The way Evan threw the ball a couple days ago, we’re looking forward to him getting back out there on the mound in a big league stadium,” Hyde said.

Hyde is placing a higher priority on protecting his relievers down the stretch.

“With the games that we play, hopefully we continue to play tight games,” he said. “It’s nice to be on a lopsided one on our side once in a while, but we play a lot of close games and a lot of these guys are piling up quite a few appearances. It would be nice to give these guys a little bit of a break here and there.”

Left-hander Tanner Scott leads the Orioles in appearances with 26, two fewer than American League leader Scott Barlow of the Royals. Paul Fry is next on the club with 20, followed by Travis Lakins Sr. with 19 and Cole Sulser with 17.

The Rays still haven’t listed a starter for Sunday afternoon. The Orioles are sending John Means to the mound in their final home game of the season.

The Orioles will celebrate “Hispanic Heritage Month” be having former pitcher Dennis Martínez, a member of the organization’s Hall of Fame, throw out a virtual ceremonial first pitch before tonight’s game.

Martínez, nicknamed “El Presidente,” will join the MASN and Orioles Radio Network pregame shows to discuss his work aiding COVID-19 relief efforts in his native Nicaragua.

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