HOUSTON — Khris Davis is returning to the city that hatched his big league career, but whether the A’s slugger will be at full strength is another story.
Davis left Sunday’s loss to the Astros after three at-bats due to lingering effects from being hit by a pitch in the left elbow Saturday. He started Sunday’s game at designated hitter but was in obvious discomfort from his first plate appearance.
The pitch Saturday caught Davis on the funny bone, and it’s a nerve issue that’s bothering him down through his fingers. He was holding his left hand awkwardly during his first-inning at-bat Sunday. He tapped a comebacker for a fielder’s choice, then grounded out to short and struck out in the sixth before being lifted for pinch hitter Billy Butler in the seventh.
“It got worse during the game,” Davis said Sunday. “It felt a little better this morning when I woke up, but as soon as it started getting worse, I knew it’d be better for the team if I came out.”
The timing isn’t ideal.
With the A’s beginning a two-game series Tuesday against the Brewers in Milwaukee, Davis will face the team with which he smacked 60 homers over the past three seasons. The Brewers dealt him to the A’s in February for minor league catcher Jacob Nottingham and minor league pitcher Bubba Derby.
He’s found a home in the middle of the A’s order and is on pace for a career year, with 14 homers and 36 RBI through 57 games. Davis hit a career-high 27 homers with Milwaukee last season and had a career-best 69 RBI in 2014.
Davis said he looks forward to renewing acquaintances with former teammates such as Scooter Gennett (they were both part of the 2009 draft class), Jonathan Lucroy, Martin Maldonado and others. But Davis said he hasn’t been circling this series on the calendar.
“Before the game and during batting practice, I’ll probably say ‘what’s up’, and that’ll be it,” Davis said.
Monday’s day off comes at a good time considering his injury, but A’s manager Bob Melvin said he was unsure of Davis’ availability for Tuesday.
With Marc Rzepczynski enduring a rough eighth inning in Sunday’s 5-2 loss, warming up out in the A’s bullpen was … Jesse Hahn?
Hahn lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Friday’s start. Sunday was his regularly scheduled day to throw his side session. Rather than throw it in the morning as usual, Melvin had him hold off in case Sonny Gray got in trouble early in Sunday’s game.
By the eighth, Melvin said Ryan Madson was the only available reliever at his disposal, and he didn’t want to have to call on his closer.
Rzepczynski gave up two runs in the eighth and was visited by assistant trainer Walt Horn at one point, but he stayed in.
“He’s fine,” Melvin said afterward.
Stephen Vogt went 3-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. He’s batting .370 (17-for-46) with seven RBI during the streak to lift his average to .281 overall.
“I feel like I’ve slowed myself down and I’m seeing good pitches,” Vogt said. “You get some good pitches to hit when you’re hitting in front of (Danny) Valencia. I’ve been fortunate enough not to miss them lately.”