SAN DIEGO (AP) — Buck Showalter is counting on Chris Davis to bounce back next year.
The Baltimore Orioles manager will have to wait until the second game of the season, April 7 at Tampa Bay, to pencil his slugger into the lineup. Davis has one game left to serve in a 25-game suspension imposed in September following a positive test for Adderall, a banned amphetamine.
“He is doing well. I think he’s in a good mindset,” Showalter said Tuesday at the winter meetings. “I can’t really see anything that would point to something being negative towards Chris having a big year and getting back on the saddle, so to speak, of where he was. I’m expecting him to be solid for us.”
After losing Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis to free agency, the Orioles need Davis to return to his All-Star form of 2013, when he hit .286 with 53 homers and 138 RBIs. Davis hit .196 this year with 26 homers and 72 RBIs before his suspension Sept. 12, and he averaged a strikeout per 3.03 plate appearances — the worst in the major leagues among qualifying batters.
Davis’ suspension included the final 17 games of the regular season, a three-game sweep of Detroit in the AL Division Series and a four-game loss to Kansas City in the AL Championship Series.
Davis is eligible for arbitration after making $10.5 million last season, including performance bonuses. He can become a free agent after next year’s World Series.
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