Davis' home debut draws rave reviews
Rangers first baseman crushes first homer, flashes leather
ARLINGTON -- Milton Bradley had his own unique description for what he saw."He's got stupid pop," Bradley said admiringly in the Rangers' clubhouse afterward. Pitcher C.J. Wilson calls him "The Hulk" -- and not just because he has a resemblance to actor Lou Ferrigno.
"He's got just monster power," Wilson said. "He's a big Texan who reminds me of another corner infielder we used to have."One start and Chris Davis is already drawing comparisons to Mark Teixeira. But Davis did make an impressive debut at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Friday night, hitting his first Major League home run and making a couple of slick plays on defense that came up big in an 8-7 victory over the Phillies. He also struck out three times, but that didn't seem to bother anybody. "He came through big when we needed it, that's all that mattered," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. Davis' home run finished off the Rangers' five-run third inning, a towering opposite-field shot over the left-field wall. Texas trailed, 5-1, going into the inning, but the home run, coming with a runner at third and two out, gave them a 6-5 lead. "It felt good after my first at-bat," Davis said. "I chased a curveball down, and I told myself to relax and see the ball. He threw the ball over the plate and I hit it out to left field." That may have been the most impressive thing about the home run. Left-handed hitters do well at the Ballpark because they can pull the ball into the jet stream toward right field and reach the Rangers' bullpen or the Home Run Porch. Davis went the other way. "He has power everywhere," Washington said. "That's not the first time I've seen him do that. It's damaging if you can do that ... go the other way. Then, if they come inside, he'll turn on it." Davis, playing in front of his parents and other friends from his East Texas hometown of Longview, also made a key defensive play in the fifth inning, making a diving stop on Shane Victorino's grounder down the first-base line. The Phillies had a runner on first and two outs, and Davis likely saved a run. "That shows how much work I've put in on the defense," Davis said. He also made a nice play to his right on a sharp grounder by Chase Utley to get the first out in the ninth inning. Afterward, he was the postgame guest on television, and one of his teammates rewarded him by dumping a cooler of ice water on him. That was instead of the usual pie in the face. "I think it was [Josh] Hamilton," Davis said. "I didn't get a good look at him, but that's the word on the street. But it felt great."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.