When the Texas Rangers acquired slugger Khris Davis in an offseason trade with Oakland, they no doubt imagined home runs flying out of Globe Life Field in all directions with Davis and Joey Gallo paired in the batting order.
Maybe now that will happen.
Davis missed the first five weeks of the season while on the injured list with a Grade 2 left quad strain suffered in spring training. He was activated Saturday and is expected to make his first start for the Rangers when they complete a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners on Sunday afternoon in Arlington, Texas.
The Rangers sent shortstop Elvis Andrus to the Athletics in the deal that brought Davis to the Lone Star State to help balance Texas’ lefty-heavy lineup.
“He feels healthy, his body feels good, swing (looks good),” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said of Davis. “I expect, or assume that it won’t be perfect at first, obviously, with him not having played every single day up to this point. But I do expect him to be (OK). He said he’s fine. He said timing-wise, he’s in a good place, so it feels good and his body feels good. That’s the most important.”
With the score tied at 7 on Saturday, thanks in part to two home runs by Gallo, Davis made his Rangers debut as a pinch-hitter for David Dahl in the eighth inning. Davis lined a single to left field, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored the go-ahead run on a double by Jonah Heim in a 9-8 victory.
But the Rangers acquired Davis for his bat, not his legs.
He hit more than 42 home runs each season from 2016-18 with the Athletics, including a major-league leading 48 in 2018.
In 75 career games against the Mariners, Davis has hit .208 with 25 home runs and 51 RBIs.
Woodward praised Davis’ role in the clubhouse during spring training and hopes that continues.
“He definitely brings a presence of, you know, he’s been there, he’s done that, he’s been on winning teams,” Woodward said. “Just his attitude in general. He brings a calmness to the group. He brings a little bit of an edge at times. Just, ‘Hey, let’s go out and beat these guys.’ A lot of people feed off of that. The Oakland clubhouse said the same thing. Everybody kinda rallied around this guy all the time.”
Woodward said Davis will primarily play against left-handed pitchers, which is the case Sunday against Seattle’s Justus Sheffield (2-2, 4.18 ERA), who is 1-0 with a 2.81 ERA in three career games against Texas, including two starts.
The Rangers are scheduled to start right-hander Dane Dunning (1-2, 3.81), who will be facing the Mariners for the first time.
Both teams hit three home runs Saturday, and center fielder Adolis Garcia threw out the potential tying runt at the plate to end the game.
“There’s so much that happened in the course of that game, I don’t know quite where to start,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “It was wild game. You have those games down here once in a while.”
–Field Level Media