BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP) — A difficult week to be a sports fan in Baltimore. First, the Ray Rice video and punishment. Now, Chris Davis, one of the Orioles’ most productive and popular players, is suspended after a positive drug test.
Mark Viviano has more from Davis and the team.
It’s supposed to be a celebratory time for the Orioles, as they close in on clinching a division title. Baltimore is leading the AL East by 10.5 games with 16 left in the regular season.
But that excitement has stalled–at least temporarily–by news that one of the team’s most popular players, Chris Davis, is suspended for illegal drugs.
Chris Davis broke the news to manager Buck Showalter in a phone call Thursday night. Davis violated Major League Baseball’s drug policy by testing positive for Adderall, a prescribed drug that contains amphetamine.
Adderall is a drug often used in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy. It is, however, also known as a performance and cognitive enhancer.
“It’s just a bad situation overall, and I think he knows that and we all know that and it’s something that we have to deal with,” said Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis.
The 28-year-old Davis said he used the drug last year with a therapeutic exemption, which the league allows in select cases. He did not have the exemption this season, but still used the drug. His positive test leads to a 25 game suspension.
Davis is prohibited from entering the clubhouse during the ban.
In a written statement, Davis said: “I apologize to my teammates, coaches, the Orioles organization and especially the fans. I made a mistake of 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.”
Last season, Davis set an Orioles record with 53 home runs and was named the team’s Most Valuable Player. This year, he has struggled, batting .196 with 26 homers and 72 RBIs in 145 games.
Davis will sit out the rest of the Orioles’ regular season and won’t be eligible to return until the playoffs—maybe as late as the World Series—if the O’s make it that far.
The Orioles are already without catcher Matt Wieters and third baseman Manny Machado, both of whom sustained season-ending injuries.
“I’m disappointed, but I know Chris is too. It is what it is,” O’s manager Buck Showalter said. “We’re going to try to deal with it and move on. You’ve got to learn to deal with the problems and challenges along the way. And if they’re self-inflicted, there’s no ‘woe is me.’”
The suspension came as the Orioles were set to open a four-game series against the Yankees, who were 10 1/2 games back in the AL East.
“We support him. Everybody makes bad decisions. We’re going to have to pick it up in other places because he is a big part of our team and our lineup and our clubhouse,” said Orioles outfielder Adam Jones. “We’re just going to have to pick it up. But we’re going to miss him and we still support him.”
Davis is the second Orioles player suspended for testing positive for amphetamine. Relief pitcher Troy Patton was suspended prior to the season. He was since traded to the San Diego Padres.
Derek Valcourt spoke to fans, stunned by the news.
Fan favorite Chris Davis had been known for a squeaky clean image off the field and his contributions on the field.
That’s why news of his 25 game suspension for taking the prescription drug Adderall without league permission has left so many Davis fans, including sports radio callers, feeling the pain.
“How selfish can you be to do this not only to your fans, but your teammates?” one caller said.
Many Orioles supporters wore Davis jerseys as they made their way into the ballpark for Friday’s double header.
“I’m very disappointed,” said James Dorsey.
“To me, it’s selfish. Him doing that. It’s just not thinking of the team,” said Luke McQuay.
“It kind of hurts the team, and you have to think more about the team than you do yourself,” Sean Oliver said.
For many O’s fans, Davis’ suspension is another embarrassment to Baltimore sports–fresh off the heels of the Ray Rice scandal that’s made headlines around the world.
“I just think it’s been a really bad week for Baltimore,” said Rhonda Hughes.
“I’m just crushed that these things keep happening here,” said Ricardo Mujaca.
“I just want all this stuff to go away and let’s get the Orioles in the World Series and the Ravens back on their track,” Bob Hughes said.
While fans say they are disappointed, they say they do not expect the loss of Chris Davis to impact the rest of the Orioles’ regular season, and hopefully, into the postseason.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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