Davis flashing power for Rangers
Big first baseman has eight long balls since June 26
CHICAGO -- Rangers rookie Chris Davis has at least one thing in common with American League counterparts Carlos Quentin, Alex Rodriguez and Grady Sizemore: The four sluggers are atop the league in home runs since June 26.
Davis stands one above those power hitters, in fact, with eight. His home run total is already tied for seventh-most among big league rookies, and tied for fourth among AL rookies.
"That's pretty cool," Davis said before the afternoon rubber match against the White Sox on Wednesday at U.S. Cellular Field. "Somebody asked me yesterday [if] I expect to go out there and hit a home run every time. I don't think anybody expects to do that. I'm obviously not going up there trying to hit the ball over the fence every time. I'm just going up there trying to put the ball in play and give myself a chance to get on base."
Whatever he's doing, it's working.
Davis' longest drought without a home run is three games. He matched a career high Tuesday night with three hits, including his eighth home run.
Davis, a lefty, has hit three of his eight homers against left-handed pitching. He entered Wednesday with a .348 batting average against southpaws, compared to a .231 average against right-handers.
"He's gonna be an everyday guy, so he needs to go out there and fight," manager Ron Washington said. "He makes adjustments. He's a type of hitter that if you make a mistake, he'll make you pay."
"I've been fortunate here and there to get some pitches that I can do something with," Davis added. "Off [Mark] Buehrle last night, he was tough on us and did a good job of keeping us off-balance, just changing speeds and spotting up.
"First at-bat of the game, I had an opportunity to put a run across the board, and I didn't get the job done. That's something that we have to take advantage of. Any chances we have to put runs on the board, we have to capitalize, and I didn't do that. So it's always good in a way to kind of redeem myself later on in the game."
Davis joins Texas farmhand Nelson Cruz among the overall pro ball leaders in home runs this season. Davis is one of just three players in baseball to have cracked 30 home runs already.
Between Double-A Frisco, Triple-A Oklahoma and the big-league club, Davis has 31 home runs.
"I'm not surprised by his power because his power is what it is," Washington said. "If you throw it in the wrong place, he doesn't miss. His power is legit. You can see that. It's not just [batting practice] power. It's legit."
Davis reiterated his manager's opinion.
"The power has always been there," he said. "I've always been able to hit for power.
"I know what I'm capable of and I know the ability that I have, but I don't think you can ever predict or expect to just go out there and hit a home run at will. I was able to hit a lot of home runs in the Minor Leagues, but obviously this isn't the Minor Leagues. The pitching is better. It seems like they're always one step ahead. I'm pretty pleased with the results so far, but I still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do."
David Just is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.