Davis gets day of rest for Rangers
Struggling at plate, first baseman replaced by Blalock
ARLINGTON -- Chris Davis was looking forward to being in the Rangers' lineup on Sunday with right-hander Chad Billingsley on the mound for the Dodgers.
Manager Ron Washington had other ideas. He decided to get Davis a day off, deciding instead to go with both Hank Blalock at first base and Andruw Jones at designated hitter."I'm just giving him a day," Washington said, pointing out that Davis had started 11 straight games against the Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays and Dodgers. "He's played 11 days in a row, and the last five days here, the heat has been tremendous. The kid has worked his tail off, and I thought he needed a day off. That's a pretty good stretch of facing some pretty good pitchers." Davis batted .270 in those 11 games but without a home run and just four RBIs. He went into Sunday's game hitting .208 with 12 home runs, 27 RBIs and a league-leading 92 strikeouts in 59 games. "I feel much better," Davis said. "The last few days I have been swinging the bat well. With a right-hander pitching, I feel like I should be in there but ... I want to be in the lineup. I hate sitting on the bench, but if Wash thinks I need a day, that's fine." The Rangers have been waiting for Davis to get going all season, but he has yet to take off. He was up to .240 in middle of May but then hit .160 with two home runs and six RBIs in 25 games since then. Both those home runs came in one game against the Yankees on May 26. His defense is keeping him in the lineup regularly and probably in the Major Leagues as well. His defense has been outstanding at first base, and the Rangers don't want to lose that even though Davis is struggling at the plate. "When you're struggling, defense is a big factor," Washington said. "It's hard to take a guy off the field when he can play defense like that, even when he's struggling offensively, especially if you have confidence that he can make a difference on offense with one swing of the bat. Chris has been outstanding defensively. Every night he makes plays." That hardly mollifies Davis, who has been frustrated by his offensive performance. "[Defense] can help me only so much," Davis said. "I'm obviously giving up a lot by not hitting. Defense is all well and good, but if I'm not producing at the plate, there comes a point where I'm not going to be in the lineup."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.