OAKLAND, Calif. — In a whirlwind year of change and frustration, slugger Khris Davis is back in a familiar place and uniform, chasing something in September.
Davis was promoted by the Oakland Athletics from Triple-A Las Vegas on Wednesday as a September call-up. He’s hoping to contribute to a fourth straight playoff run for the A’s, who traded him to division opponent Texas nearly seven months ago.
“I’m a hitter, and that’s what I’m born to do,” Davis said on a video call with reporters. “Give me the ABs (at-bats), I’ll figure it out. I’m not going to just go out there and waste ABs. If you just gave me the opportunity, I’m going to figure it out for my teammates.”
Davis led the major leagues with 48 home runs in 2018.
The A’s brought back the popular designated hitter on a minor league deal Aug. 4 after he spent almost two months training on his own at home in Arizona while hoping for another shot. He was released by the Rangers on June 13.
Davis stuck with the belief he would soon get that next chance. He stayed in touch “every chance I got” with his Oakland pals, checking their stats and checking in via text message.
“Where he came from and where he is right now, it can be a hard road,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “To get traded and get released, there’s a period of time where you’re not sure what’s going to happen and you have to go back to the minor leagues, which obviously he’s been past that route before. And to do what he did to get back here, it takes some guts.”
The 33-year-old Davis found his stroke in the minors, but it was unclear whether the A’s would call him up with the new limit on expanded rosters being two players, from 26 to 28. He hit .333 with 10 homers and 25 RBIs in 16 games for Las Vegas from Aug. 12 to Aug. 31 — the totals ranking best in the majors or minors for that stretch.
But with Mitch Moreland landing on the injured list Tuesday with a wrist injury, Davis became an ideal choice.
“It feels great just to play baseball again. I was at home for a couple months and just working out, and you don’t realize how much you miss it until you’re gone,” Davis said. “I’m just thankful the A’s are giving me this opportunity. Like BoMel said, I have a lot of baseball left, a lot of good baseball left to play in me. I know I do, too.”