BALTIMORE -- The assumption for why Chris Davis wasn't in the Orioles' starting lineup on Saturday was that Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton was exceptionally tough against lefties in the two starts before landing on the DL in April.
That's part of it. There's also the fact that Davis is still dealing with a cough and trying to work on a few different things to bust out of his season-long slump.
A day off could do him some good. Paxton holding lefties to a .133 average is just another reason to make that day Saturday.
"Chris is working on some things," manager Buck Showalter said. "He's still coughing up a lot of stuff, not that anybody wants to think about that. He spent a lot of time in the cage today."
A year after leading the Majors in home runs, RBIs and total bases and finishing third in American League Most Valuable Player voting, Davis hasn't been able to fix his slump that has seen his batting average plummet to .196 -- the worst it's been since he started the season 0-for-6.
Davis' fly balls are dying in the outfield. Hard hacks are becoming soft grounders. He's lacing line drives into the shift and batting just .253 on balls in play. Most often, he's striking out -- he leads the AL with 125.
"When Chris is right, he hits them where you can't play," said Showalter, who doesn't think the shifts have affected his first baseman. "I haven't seen a shift yet where you can put a guy in the stands. When he's right, he's not a dead pull guy."
The first 14,000 fans 14 and younger who walked into Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Saturday got to take home a Davis action figure that portrays the former All-Star as superhero "Crush" Davis.
When the promotion was scheduled, it seemed the honoree would be in the midst of another exciting, power-packed campaign. Instead, his play has made it difficult to even ensure him an unquestionable, everyday starting role
"I didn't want to put any extra pressure on him with the superhero figurine," Showalter joked.
David Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.