Chris Davis returns but Kohl Stewart decides to pause his season

After undergoing, by his count, at least eight COVID-19 tests over the past few days, Orioles first baseman Chris Davis said today he does not have coronavirus. After being away from the club for two games, he returned to Camden Yards this afternoon. He is not in tonight’s lineup against Tampa Bay, but he is available when a three-game series starts at 7:35 p.m.

As the Orioles get Davis back today, they lose right-handed pitcher Kohl Stewart, who is headed to the injured list and is removed from the 40-man roster and 60-man player pool.

The club issued this statement from Stewart: “For the time being, I have decided to pause my participation in the 2020 season. My elevated risk of serious complications of COVID-19 due to type 1 diabetes continues to be of great concern. I am grateful to the organization, as well as my coaches and teammates, for their incredible support.”

Stewart-K-Throws-Orange-Exhibition-Sidebar.jpgStewart is being replaced on the roster by right-hander Thomas Eshelman, added from the Bowie alternate site. The Orioles now have 39 on their 40-man roster and 55 on their player pool.

Stewart was under consideration to start Sunday’s game against the Rays, but now that start will go to left-hander Tommy Milone after Alex Cobb starts tonight and Wade LeBlanc Saturday.

Davis said he feels healthy and ready to return to the field.

“I feel fine,” he said during a Zoom interview with reporters. “I feel well rested. We basically think it was just like a little sinus infection. But obviously, having to go through what we’ve had to on a day-to-day basis with the checkups, it raised some red flags. And I had to go through several tests and then kind of go through the protocol, and everything looks good. Everything came back negative and I feel fine. For me, being able to come back here and go back to work will give me peace of mind.”

Davis said he never felt he had contracted the virus at any point.

“I didn’t think that I had any symptoms, I wasn’t showing any symptoms. I felt normal, but obviously with everything going on the last few days, I wanted to be cautious and to make sure that I did things the right way. Our training staff did an outstanding job getting everything set up.”

Davis said test results for COVID-19 confirmed he could return to the club.

“I tested negative, I mean, at least eight times just in the past few days,” he said. “I didn’t have a fever. My temperature was a little bit higher than normal, but like I said, it was really just more my sinuses flared up. Usually I go through this a few times during the season, especially when we start traveling and going to different climates. Unfortunately, I had to go through the protocol and steps to make sure everything was OK. I did not feel like at any time I had any symptoms or there was anything going on. The tests were just confirmation of that.”

Davis feels the protocols in place can work and his case from the last few days may be proof of that.

“I think so. It’s new to everybody and it’s obviously something where we have to learn on the go, but I think we’re doing it the right way and going about it the right way. I think it’s better to be more cautious than more careless. Especially with how quickly this can spread and how close we are together and how much we are together during the course of our day. I think it’s probably better to be cautious so we’re doing a good job of, not only in our clubhouse, of adhering to the health and safety protocols, but league-wide for the most part teams are doing it the right way,” he said.

Davis had not played since Sunday’s win at Boston, when he produced an RBI double in the ninth inning. It was his first hit after an 0-for-10 start.

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