New Oriole Davis talks about himself, new O's pitcher Hunter
Chris Davis was in the visiting clubhouse at Yankee Stadium by 10:30 Sunday morning and, within a half hour, learned that he would be batting fifth for the Orioles and starting at first base for his new team.
“I'm eager to play,” said Davis, who along with pitcher Tommy Hunter was dealt to the Orioles on Saturday for Koji Uehara and $2 million. “That's why I got here as early as I did, but I think the biggest thing for me is to relax and enjoy myself and get to know these guys.”
Davis, 25, had spent his entire career with the Rangers, who drafted him in the fifth round in 2006. By 23, he was the Rangers’ Opening Day first baseman and hit 21 homers in 2009 while batting .238. The left-handed hitter has been in an elevator between Triple-A and the majors since. He has hit .250 with three homers in 76 at-bats for the Rangers this season.
“It's tough because I'm from Texas and I grew up there. It's the only club I knew,” Davis said. “But it got to the point where I felt like I wasn't in their plans to play every day, and I feel like I'm an everyday player. I'm glad to get the opportunity to come here.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter was the skipper of the Rangers when Davis was drafted but didn’t really know him. He believes Davis’ lack of big league time had more to do with his path being blocked at the majors by Adrian Beltre and Mitch Moreland than Davis’ high strikeout totals and low average.
“We offer an opportunity to not have him looking over his shoulder,” Showalter said. “At some point, you might have to do it, but he is going to get a great opportunity here. That’s another reason he is so excited about being here.”
Davis’ best position is first base, but Showalter said he could get time at third base and left field.
“He really throws well, athletic,” Showalter said. “He is a good guy. Obviously, he was blocked there by a great player in Beltre. And they really like what Moreland is doing, and I don’t blame them. They have a lot of depth at a lot of different places. There were a lot of players that Andy [MacPhail] talked about.”
But MacPhail, the club’s president of baseball operations settled on Davis and Hunter, another 25-year-old with promise and big league experience. Hunter will join the team in Kansas City.
“It was kind of fun watching [Hunter] throw out of the bullpen because he was throwing 96, 97 mph,” Davis said. “He's a good pitcher, man. He's a smart pitcher. He knows how to pitch. You've got a good pitcher on your hands.”