Davis’ teammates react to his suspension
The Orioles clubhouse was in a state of shock on Friday morning as news quickly spread of first baseman Chris Davis’ 25-game suspension for testing positive for amphetamines associated with the Adderall drug.
“I haven’t spoken to him personally,” outfielder Nick Markakis said of Davis, who is not allowed in the clubhouse during his suspension. “I don’t know if anybody else has spoken to him. Everybody makes mistakes. You have to be careful when you make your mistakes. Now is not a good time to make a mistake, but, these are things you have to deal with, and hopefully we can get far enough along for him to come back and help us out.”
Reliever Darren O’Day, who also played with Davis in Texas, said he did speak with the infielder on Thursday night —which is when Davis found out—but that topic didn’t come. Davis’ absence is the latest hit for an O’s club already without Matt Wieters and Manny Machado, who both suffered season-ending injuries.
“Yeah, it’s similar but different,” O’Day said of the O’s viewing Davis’ situation as another thing to overcome. “You can’t really predict injuries. You failed one test. You can’t put anything in jeopardy and mess around. Yeah, it’s going to be more to overcome for sure.”
O’Day, as the team’s player rep, said he was glad that Major League Baseball was enforcing the drug policy despite the possible ramifications to Baltimore’s playoff aspirations.
“I wish this hadn’t happened to Chris, but I like to know that it’s happening, at least test the right people. As for the TUE’s [therapeutic use exemption], they’ve been tough on it, which is great. It should be a rigorous process to these TUEs. It’s a long season. You’re going to suffer some attrition from the length of the season and the games you have to play so everybody should have to suffer through it the same way.”
Davis said in his statement issued Friday morning that he had a TUE previously but not this season, fueling speculation about what changed and what prompted the slugger -who had already tested positive once— to risk it.
“Look what Adderall is. It’s to get you going, but it’s not something that’s going to sit there and make you look like the Incredible Hulk,” center fielder Adam Jones said. “It’s just something that’s going to get you going for a little bit. It’s unfortunate, but got to move on and stay focused.
Added Markakis: “He didn’t get in trouble for steroids. He got in trouble for amphetamines. Either way, it was wrong. Either way you look at it. I know he knows that. We have rules to abide by. Those are things we have to do as a baseball player. We have to follow the rules and the guidelines, what they set. They don’t set them for just any rhyme and reason. It is to keep the integrity of the game and protect our players, too. It’s just a bad situation overall, and I think he knows that, and we all know that, and it’s something we have to deal with.”
Davis, who was struggling to follow up his magnificent 2013 season, will now have to face suspicions and judgements about last year’s All-Star campaign in which he hit a Major League-leading 53 homers with 138 RBIs.
“Me personally, I wouldn’t question what he did last year,” Jones said. “But you put it into the billions of other people, let their opinion matter, we don’t care. We care about this clubhouse we don’t care about the opinion outside of it.”
The Orioles went on to win their first game on Friday, a 2-1 11-inning victory over the Yankees.
“It’s a big blow,” starter Kevin Gausman said. “He’s a great teammate and a huge part of this team, so it kind of weighed on us a little bit, but once I took the mound I kind of just tried to focus on the game.”
Gausman said he found out watching TV this morning in the clubhouse.
“Obviously it’s one of those things where questions kind of come to your head,” Gausman said. “We didn’t know anything at all. I didn’t know what it was or how it happened or anything like that. Obviously you’re upset, but I think overall everybody’s just kind of focused right. There’s nothing we can do to change the suspension or anything. The only thing we can go out and win ballgames. That’s what Buck told us. The only way to really show how strong of a team we are is to win.”