Orioles first baseman Chris Davis has been playing through what was thought to be minor elbow soreness during the early games of the Grapefruit League exhibition season.
Now, the club does not know what to think.
Manager Buck Showalter revealed Saturday that Davis was scheduled for an MRI on his right elbow, which has apparently gotten more inflamed and become a matter of much greater concern.
"That elbow is not managing quite like we had hoped," Showalter said. "He came into today sore again. ... He's got a little more tenderness than he had in the past. He's got some concern about it and we want to make sure we know what we're dealing with."
Showalter said the soreness is in the flexor area, which isn't going to put anyone's mind at ease. It's common for a sore elbow -- particularly in the case of an injured pitcher -- to be initially diagnosed as flexor strain and then turn out to be a ligament tear.
Davis said earlier this week that the pain was "muscular" and was not of great concern, but he apparently was not so confident of that when the soreness flared up again.
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The injury was initially acknowledged when Davis was scheduled to play first base Wednesday and had to be scratched from the defensive alignment. He played in that game as the designated hitter and hit a home run, then started as the DH in the leadoff spot Friday and had four plate appearances.
Davis, who signed a seven-year, $161 million contract before the 2016 season, is coming off a disappointing 2017 season during which he missed significant time with an oblique injury. He played in just 128 games and blamed his soft run-production numbers on a lack of aggressiveness at the plate.
This year, he said, would be different, but it appears he might lose an important chunk of spring training -- or worse -- depending on the outcome of Saturday's MRI.
Showalter said it was just a coincidence that the Orioles have reeled in a pair of free agents over the past week that could turn out to be important acquisitions if Davis is lost for an extended period.