Orioles Lose Davis to Drug Suspension

2014 has been a subpar year for Chris Davis by everyone’s standards, including his own. Now, his disappointing season has come to a sudden halt.

Just hours before the Orioles were to begin a day-night doubleheader against the New York Yankees to kick off their final homestand of the regular season at Camden Yards, Major League Baseball announced that Davis would be suspended 25 games for a second positive test for amphetamines, which are banned under baseball’s substance abuse policy. Davis said in a statement through the MLB Player’s Association that he’d tested positive for Adderall (a drug prescribed to treat ADHD). He said he’s gotten a therapeutic-use exemption to take the drug in the past, but didn’t have it this time. After learning on Sept. 11 that he’d be suspended, Davis called manager Buck Showalter to personally break the news to him, as well as to reach out to some of his teammates.

“I apologize to my teammates, coaches, the Orioles organization, and especially the fans,” Davis said in the statement. “I accept my punishment, and will begin serving it immediately.” The suspension will cost Davis the rest of the regular season (17 games as of September 12) as well as the beginning of the playoffs. MLB has ruled that the Orioles can still put Davis on the roster for the American League Championship Series, which would allow him to return to the lineup in the middle of the series after serving his suspension. If Baltimore doesn’t play at least eight games in the playoffs, Davis would have to serve the remainder of the suspension at the start of the 2015 regular season. As Showalter pointed out in his press pregame conference before the doubleheader against the Yankees, Davis made a mistake, and it was his own doing.

“You’ve got to learn to deal with the problems and the challenges along the way,” Showalter said, “And if they’re self-inflicted, there’s no ‘woe-is-me.’ And this is self-inflicted.” Several other teammates, including reliever Darren O’Day, echoed similar sentiments about Davis’ mistake being a self-inflicted one. However, Showalter told reporters that Davis is going to take on this suspension head-on, just like he goes about playing baseball.

Prior to the suspension, Davis was hitting just .196, and had struck out a Major League-leading 173 times this season. He went through several lengthy slumps that at times led to him being benched. However, he did hit 26 home runs, drive in 72 runs, and had even showed he could play third base after shifting over to the hot corner to fill in for Manny Machado, whose season was cut short by a serious knee injury that required surgery for the second straight year.