More on Davis’ 25 game suspension
BALTIMORE— The Orioles were dealt another major blow on Friday morning, as Major League Baseball officially announced a 25-game suspension for first baseman Chris Davis due to testing positive for amphetamines associated with the Adderall drug.
The suspension —which means this was Davis’ second violation — is effective immediately, and will cause him to miss the remaining 17 regular season games as well as eight postseason games should Baltimore advance that far. The O’s, who entered Friday’s doubleheader with a 10-game lead in the American League East, are now without catcher Matt Wieters (Tommy John surgery), Manny Machado (knee surgery) and Davis as they head into October.
Davis —who hit a Major League-leading 53 home runs with 138 RBIs last year— issued a statement through the MLB Players Association shortly after the news broke, explaining the positive test.
“I apologize to my teammates, coaches, the Orioles organization and especially the fans,” Davis said. “I made a mistake by taking Adderall. I had permission to use it in the past, but do not have a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) this year. I accept my punishment and will begin serving my suspension immediately.”
Davis found out on Thursday night and called manager Buck Showalter to personally deliver the news. The All-Star first baseman also reached out to several of his teammates.
“It was tough. Put a little damper on the Ravens game, that’s for sure,” Showalter said of his conversation with Davis. “You’ve got to learn to deal with the problems and the challenges along the way and if they’re self inflicted there’s no woe-is-me. And this is self-inflicted. Chris is, like he does a lot of things, I think you guys will see the next day or so he’s going to attack it head on.”
Davis, named the Most Valuable Oriole last season, has not been able to replicate his monster 2013. The slugger has hit 26 homers with 72 RBIs in 127 games, but hit just .196 with 173 strikeouts, dealing with prolonged slumps and even the occasional benching. But with Machado out for the season, Davis has shifted to third base quite a bit and has given the team steady defense despite his struggles at the plate.
How will this positive test be viewed in light of Davis’ accomplishments last season?
“At this point it’s not up to me to gauge what’s fair or not fair,” Showalter said of the perception perhaps shifting around Davis. “I know what the positive test was for and believe me I’m not condoning any positive test. Everybody knows what the rules are, so it is what it is. We’ve all made mistakes and none of us would like to have our whole life judged by our worst decision.”
“I’m disappointed,” Showalter added. “I know Chris is too, but it is what it is. We’ll try to deal with it and move on. Timing’s never good, but it’s one of those challenges. It’s why we have this in place. Fully supportive of it. These are the things that everybody knew about beforehand and it’s another way that we want our fans to be able to trust a lot of things.”
The Orioles are 72-55 this season with Davis and 14-4 without him in the lineup. They enter Friday with a magic number of eight and will rely on some of their smaller role players to fill the void. New Oriole Kelly Johnson, who the team acquired in a trade late last month, started at third base in the first game Friday, with Steve Pearce over at first. Showalter said the team is also weighing bringing up an extra infielder from the taxi squad in Sarasota, Fla. But having to cover for a major loss on the field is nothing new for this year’s club.
“We asked that same question where Matt was concerned, where Manny was concerned, where J.J.’s been concerned, where some pitchers we’ve had go down,” Showalter said. “I’ve got a lot of confidence in our guys. We’re always looking at the what-ifs. Chris has had some physical issues that we’ve been able to plug some people in that did a nice job for us, so we’ll see.”