Athletics sign Khrush to Minor League deal

August 4th, 2021

OAKLAND -- A familiar face is rejoining the A’s organization.

Prior to Wednesday’s game against the Padres, Oakland announced the signing to a Minor League contract. Davis, who was traded from the A's to Texas in a five-player deal that brought veteran shortstop Elvis Andrus to Oakland in February, was released by the Rangers on June 13 after hitting just .157/.262/.333 with two home runs in 22 games.

Assigned to the Arizona Complex League, it’s a chance for Davis to turn his season around after nearly two months out of professional baseball.

“Given an opportunity, we’d love to have him back in the organization,” manager Bob Melvin said on Wednesday. “It’s giving an opportunity for him to get back to where he was in the past, and he hasn’t had the opportunity here recently, so we’ll see what happens in Triple-A.

“Obviously, we wish him the best. We hope he gets off to a good start and plays his way here.”

Davis was one of baseball’s best power hitters in his first stint with the A’s from 2016-20. He led the Majors with 133 home runs from 2016-18, hitting .247 and at least 42 homers in each season. In 2018, he claimed the AL home run title with 48, his career high, won the Edgar Martinez Award as the top designated hitter in the Majors and finished eighth in the MVP Award voting.

Davis’ numbers began to decline in 2019, when he sustained a left hip contusion while playing left field at PNC Park. Since then, he has hit only 27 regular-season home runs.

In the shortened 2020 season, Davis’ struggles continued. He hit .200/.303/.329 with two home runs and 10 RBIs and 26 strikeouts, losing the starting DH role partway through the season. Davis’ season began to look up in September, when he went 8-for-27 (.296), and in the playoffs, where he hit three home runs to go with a .902 OPS in six games.

“In the beginning, it probably had a little something to do with his injury, and then just kind of snowballed into something that he would have a tough time getting out of,” Melvin said. “I think confidence would probably have a lot to do with that. [Triple-A] Las Vegas is a pretty good place to get the ball in the air and hit some home runs, so I don’t put anything past him.”

Melvin said the plan for Davis is not yet certain, but he will likely ramp up baseball activities in Arizona before seeing game action with Las Vegas. If Davis finds his footing with the Aviators, that could open the door for a big league reunion.

“This is the place that probably resonates with him the most,” Melvin said. “He’s had his best times here; he was well loved by the fan base here. A lot of things played into his success here.

“This is a special place for him, and I know that this is a place he wanted to come back to. Hopefully we see him at some point.”