Brewers pitcher Doug Davis was scratched from his Sunday start and placed on the 15-day disabled list with a heart condition called pericarditis, an acute inflammation of the lining around the heart. He is being treated with anti-inflammatory medication and the situation is not life-threatening.
Davis woke up in the wee hours of Saturday morning with discomfort in his chest and, after heartburn medication had no effect, went to the emergency room at Milwaukee’s Frodtert Hospital. He underwent an EKG scan and was seen by Dr. Jim Kleczka, the same specialist who has been working with Brewers broadcaster Bob Uecker in recent weeks.
Of Davis’ condition, Kleczka said, “It can cause pretty intense pain. Fortunately, it’s easily treatable with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, something as simple as ibuprofen can take care of it. Typically, you have to treat for at least 15 days, regardless of symptoms.”
Adam Stern, optioned back to Triple-A Nashville on Saturday, was quickly recalled to take Davis’ spot on the active roster.
Davis spent Saturday night at home and reported feeling much better on Sunday. He will not travel with the Brewers on their weeklong road trip that begins Monday night in Cincinnati.
At first, Davis worried he was having a heart attack. Instead, he has a condition that is caused by a virus like the common cold.
“Bad luck,” Kleczka said. “A lot of people have colds and don’t end up with this. It’s very intense when you get it. It makes you want to sit up and you can’t breathe. Fortunately, it is very easily treated.”
Asked whether pericarditis can be life-threatening, Kleczka said, “It can be. There are different degrees of it. Fortunately, this thus far appears to be a mild case. We’ve done testing and his heart looks great. He’s in great shape here, so we don’t see signs that this could be something bad.”
Davis, 1-4 on the season with a 7.56 ERA, was set to make his eighth start of the season in pursuit of his second win of the year, as the Brewers look to snap a seven-game home losing streak.
The 34-year-old has been through a public health issue before. In March 2008, he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer but was determined to be cancer-free six weeks later and returned to pitch for the Arizona Diamondbacks soon thereafter.
“They seem to have found what it was so we’ll just take our time,” Davis said of his current setback. “It’s nothing to rush through. The worst thing that could happen is me try to go out there to pitch and end up going on one knee and calling Roger [Caplinger, the team’s head athletic trainer] out. We don’t want that to happen, so I’m going to take it day by day.”