By Evan Brunell
Chris Davis is largely an afterthought in Texas these days. The slugger has found the going in the majors hard, striking out far too much and frustrating the Rangers with potential that just won't come through.
They seem to have largely given up and stashed Davis at Triple-A, moving him back to third base to increase his versatility and rewarded him with a callup once injuries struck. But even then, Davis barely played -- until both Nelson Cruz and Julio Borbon went down with injuries not long after Josh Hamilton. Now, simply by virtue of being on the roster, Davis is getting more time at the plate to show what he's capable of.
One such chance came Sunday when he was at the plate with the bases loaded and no out, the Rangers and Angels deadlocked at four apiece.
"[Rangers manager Ron Washington] told me right before I came up when I was standing on deck to just do what the situation asks you to do," Davis told ESPN Dallas. "He told me that [Saturday, when Davis popped out to short in a crucial situation]. It’s frustrating when you’re given opportunities to do a job and you come up short."
He wouldn't Sunday, rapping a single and driving home the eventual winning run on an 0-2 count, another major milestone for Davis. That hit pulled him to 6-for-12 during 0-2 counts, while last season saw futility in that scenario, with an 0-22 mark and 21 strikeouts.
"I feel like today was a great shot of redemption and I was able to get it done," Davis said. "That’s one of things we’re constantly talking about in this clubhouse is you can’t change what’s happened in the past. The only thing you can control is what’s right in front of you. We played great today, our pitching staff was huge for us and we’re glad to get the win."
Davis has been slowly but steadily getting better, lifting his overall line to .256/.326/.462 with two home runs in 39 at-bats. Is that what Davis is capable of? No, but it's certainly the line of a player who will have a solid career. And yet, the strikeouts continue to plague him with 14 on the year. As long as he makes contact to the level of a .250 batting average, though, not the combined .227 line in 555 plate appearances from 2009-10.
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