OAKALND — The Oakland Athletics placed Khris Davis on to the 10-day injured list on Friday, due to the hip/oblique contusion he suffered earlier in May.
To take his place on the roster, rookie outfielder Skye Bolt was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas.
Davis originally hurt himself back on May 5. Normally the A’s designated hitter, he was playing left field in an interleague game against the National League’s Pittsburgh Pirates. While chasing after a fly ball in foul territory, he banged into a railing on the wall and immediately grimaced in pain. After trying to play through the injury for the next couple weeks, the A’s finally decided to put him on the IL so that he can fully recover.
“The more he played, it just wouldn’t get healthy,” said manager Bob Melvin. “So we’ll shut him down for five days from swinging, and then we’ll see how he feels after that.”
On multiple occasions since hurting himself, Davis had started a game but was replaced midway through, and he often showed visible discomfort while swinging. He still managed to produce along the way, going 9-for-28 with two homers and a .970 OPS in eight games since the injury, but the more important stat is that he missed six games in addition to the ones he departed early.
“It never really got better, it never really got worse,” said Melvin. “I think there were some days, after a day off it felt a little bit better in [batting practice], but then once he got into the game it was the same. So the prudent thing to do is shut him down for a little bit.”
When healthy, Davis is one of the best hitters on the team and a crucial presence in the middle of the lineup. He leads the club with 12 homers this year, and has hit at least 40 each of the last three seasons — no one in the majors has hit more homers than Davis since 2016. Coincidentally, he also went on the IL last season in late May, and in the nine games he missed, the powerful A’s lineup scored a total of just 15 runs and posted a paltry .456 OPS.
For Bolt, this will be his second stint in the majors this season. The switch-hitter made his MLB debut on May 3, in the same series against the Pirates that Davis got hurt. Bolt appeared in all three games in that series and got four plate appearances, notching his first career hit with a double that nearly cleared the high right-field fence in PNC Park for a homer.
In Triple-A this year, Bolt is batting .311 with six homers, five stolen bases, and a strong .950 OPS, showing off his combination of power, speed, and on-base ability.
“He gives us options in all three outfield positions, and he’s a switch-hitter,” said Melvin of Bolt. “If I need to give Ramon [Laureano] a day off in center, he’s played center field. Another left-handed bat that we have on the bench right now, being a switch-hitter, and he was playing well at Triple-A.”
With Davis out of action, Mark Canha is the DH for Friday’s series opener against the Seattle Mariners. Canha, who himself came back from an injured wrist last week, has blasted five homers in eight games since returning. He and the rest of the A’s will face Mariners left-handed starter Wade LeBlanc, who enters the game with a 7.36 ERA through his first four starts.
“It just kind of felt like having KD there,” said Melvin of Canha’s recent power surge. “We’ve seen Mark Canha do this in the past, where he gets an opportunity and he produces and you get him consistent at-bats and he hits home runs. So if ever there was a guy that we feel really comfortable about replacing KD for a period of time, it would be Mark.”