MESA, Ariz. (AP) — The Oakland Athletics decided their roster needed some tweaking even as other teams have stood pat this month. They’ve swung a couple of significant trades, one of which brought slugging outfielder Khris Davis over from the Milwaukee Brewers.
Davis and his new teammates took batting practice together on Friday against live pitching, the first full-squad workout of the spring for the A’s.
“It’s a great opportunity. It’s exciting and just a new start,” Davis said. “Couldn’t ask for more. Just have to be grateful for the opportunity.”
Davis, who played left field in Milwaukee last year, has hit 49 home runs and driven in 135 runs over the past two seasons.
A .250 career hitter, Davis figures to get a lot of at-bats against right-handed pitching, against which he batted .260 with 21 homers compared to .212 with six against left-handers in 2015.
Davis also struck out 122 times in 392 at-bats and 121 games.
“I was surprised we made that deal,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “I think it came together pretty quickly. Maybe we’re lacking a little bit of punch, and any time you can get some right-handed power, a guy that’s hit, what was it, 27 home runs in less than 400 at-bats last year, it’s a nice complement to the middle of our lineup. So we were lucky to get him and very happy to have him.”
Melvin added that what he saw while pitching to Davis during a drill Friday stood out.
“The ball comes back at you in a hurry. It looks like he’s been hitting for a while. Using the whole field. He’s got power to the other side and it really looks like bat control, too,” Melvin said. “I threw him a couple of pitches in when he was trying to go away and still was able to get his hands inside it and hit it hard the other way.”
Davis said being traded hit him when he first walked up to the Oakland clubhouse at Hohokam Stadium. He was drafted by Milwaukee in 2009 and came up in the Brewers’ farm system.
“At the same time, it’s fast and you’ve got to get over it fast,” he said. “I was ready for it. I’m here for a reason.”
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