CLEVELAND -- Rajai Davis joined Red Sox on Thursday afternoon, less than 24 hours after a trade from the Athletics moved him from last place in the American League West to first place in the AL East."Well, a lot of things changed, obviously," said Davis. "Instead of going on a
CLEVELAND -- Rajai Davis joined Red Sox on Thursday afternoon, less than 24 hours after a trade from the Athletics moved him from last place in the American League West to first place in the AL East.
"Well, a lot of things changed, obviously," said Davis. "Instead of going on a five-hour flight back to the west [from Baltimore], I made a trip back to the hotel and just coming here, obviously that's what we play for, to be in playoff contention and be in an opportunity to play in the World Series."
Though the outfielder was not in Boston's starting lineup Thursday, the former Indians outfielder entered as a defensive replacement in a 13-6 loss to the Indians and received a standing ovation at Progressive Field. Manager John Farrell indicated Davis will start Friday night's series opener against the Orioles at Fenway in center. Davis will get a lot of playing time at least until Jackie Bradley Jr. returns from a left thumb sprain in September.
"Well, I'm just excited about this opportunity. I can't be more grateful, thankful to be in this position," said Davis.
Davis will wear No. 25 for the Red Sox. In a corresponding roster move, infielder Deven Marrero was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. In addition, right-hander Blaine Boyer was activated from the 10-day disabled list and righty Hector Velazquez was returned to Pawtucket in a corresponding move.
In Davis, the Red Sox get a player who can serve as a key speed weapon off the bench once Bradley returns.
"He is a weapon in a number of different ways, whether it's as a starting player or coming off the bench in a pinch-run role," said Farrell. "He can be a game-changer with the speed that he is, the base-stealing ability that he has."
Davis joined the Red Sox at the same venue where he smashed a game-tying homer against Albertin Chapman in Game 7 of last year's World Series.
"He was one of the more popular guys here," said Indians manager Terry Francona. "And it wasn't just the home run he hit. He was always ready to run. I mean he worked at it so hard that whether he was starting a game or pinch-running. He did a good job. Everybody enjoyed him, myself included. When he didn't come back, we knew we were going to be missing 50 stolen bases because he took care of himself and he can do that. He'll really help the Red Sox."
Davis has previously played for six teams over his 12-year career, hitting .264/.313/.384 with 391 stolen bases.
The New London, Conn., native grew up as Mets fan, but is looking forward to being closer in proximity to his family and friends.
"There's a lot of excitement buzzing around the town, from what I hear," said Davis. "I'm looking forward to coming back home, as they say."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.