Orioles’ Davis clears air with manager after dugout clash
BALTIMORE (AP) — Orioles first baseman Chris Davis said he reached a “breaking point” when he charged at manager Brandon Hyde in the dugout on Wednesday night, and expressed his regret during a lengthy conversation with Hyde on Friday.
The flare-up occurred in the fifth inning of Baltimore’s 14-2 loss to the New York Yankees. Hyde walked over to Davis and said something that the first baseman clearly didn’t like, and Davis attempted to charge at the manager before being restrained by teammate Mark Trumbo and hitting coach Don Long.
“It happened. Brandon and I have talked,” Davis said Friday, hours before the last-place Orioles hosted the Houston Astros. “I knew right after it happened we were going to be fine, and we are.”
Davis is batting .182 with nine homers and 31 RBIs, hardly the production the Orioles expected from a slugger who’s in the middle of a $161 million, seven-year contract. Last season he batted .168, the worst average in major league history by a player with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title.
Davis has taken some consolation from his play in the field, but on Wednesday night he lamented being unable to snag a bouncing throw to first base that preceded a New York home run.
“For me, that was really kind of the breaking point,” Davis said. “It all boiled over. It wasn’t just from that play. For me, it’s been the last couple weeks.”
His reaction to that play in the field, his struggles at the plate and the beating the Yankees were inflicting upon the Orioles triggered the ugly scene in the dugout.
“He came off the field really frustrated about his play, and I got frustrated how he was responding,” Hyde said. “I thought some things were inappropriate and I called him out on it. I wish now that I would have pulled him down in the tunnel, but that was just me being reactionary to something I didn’t think was right.”
Davis regretted charging at Hyde, and that the scene occurred in the dugout.
“I think it just made it worse for everybody involved,” Davis said. “We addressed it. We’re moving forward. We have so much to look forward to; I don’t want this to be made into something it’s not.”
Davis was removed for a pinch hitter in the fifth inning. He said he remained in the clubhouse until the game ended before leaving the stadium “just to be respectful” to his teammates.
The Orioles are in beginning stage of a major rebuild, and Hyde often speaks proudly about how the players have remained upbeat and positive during a season in which Baltimore has been in the AL East cellar since April 20.
For that reason, Hyde’s highly visible, lamentable clash with Davis was tough to take.
“I don’t like that being the spotlight of what our club is about, which is the exact opposite,” Hyde said. “That really bothered me.”
First-year general manager Mike Elias echoed that sentiment.
“For me, the unfortunate aspect of it is that it drew undue negative attention to what I think has been one of the bright points this year, the environment here in the clubhouse and on the field,” Elias said.
Elias said Davis’ production on the field, not his actions in the dugout Wednesday, would go a long way toward determining his future with the Orioles.
“I hope he starts playing better. We will continue to revisit our plan there,” Elias said. “But I’ve said before, he’s on the team. We don’t have any plans or expectations to alter that fact. We’re not going to walk away from the fact that he’s talented and he’s here for a while.”
The left-handed hitting Davis was not in the starting lineup against lefty Wade Miley of the Astros. Hyde said that was the plan all along, even though Davis is 3 for 9 against Miley.