Slump buster: Davis contributes to cause

Struggling at start of first year with new club, outfielder hits 2-run single in win

Slump buster: Davis contributes to cause

NEW YORK -- Khris Davis' early season woes have seemingly been magnified by expectations that could be weighing down his bat.

The A's acquired Davis from the Brewers in February to inject power into the middle of a lineup that's in need of it. But when the club entered Wednesday's game in New York, Davis had no home runs to his name. That didn't change in the A's 5-2 victory over the Yankees, but Davis did come through with two hits -- including a two-run single in the eighth -- after entering the game with only six hits and one RBI in his first 45 plate appearances.

"Now you can relax a little bit, especially as big a hit as he got," A's manager Bob Melvin said.

"It's like a breath of fresh air," Davis said. "I went a little more upright. I'm trying to get my foot down really early, exaggerated early, because I'm late. I just gotta be on time and do that pitch by pitch consistently. I was glad I could help the boys out and contribute."

Davis struck out in his other two at-bats, bringing his strikeout total to 20 across 49 plate appearances. That means he's averaging a strikeout every 2.45 plate appearances, worst in the Majors.

Before making a slight adjustment with his foot in Wednesday's game, Davis admitted, "I'm just not seeing the ball at all."

Players go through similar stretches all the time, but the timing of Davis' dip has been adding to the frustration. Of course, he said, he hoped to quickly impress his newest team and fans, a group that's cognizant of Davis' history.

The 28-year-old hit 60 home runs with an .809 OPS for the Brewers in his previous two-plus seasons.

"After spring, I thought I felt comfortable, but once the season started, I'm fighting myself and it just becomes a mental grind and had a snowball effect," he said. "But I've been through this. I have to keep up the confidence somehow, so I'm just trying to fake it really until it turns around. I'm just trying to stay as positive as much as possible."

"We know he's gonna hit," Melvin said Wednesday afternoon. "For all of the things we talked about, whether or not you're pressing, whether or not you're trying to make a good impression on a new team, we know he can hit, so we have to show some faith in him, and we have a lot of faith in him."

That goes a long way for Davis, who said Melvin told him recently that "they still believed in me and reassured me that it would be all right."

To that end, Melvin has stuck with Davis in the starting lineup.

"I think that's what is helping my confidence, because if it were the other way around, I think my confidence would be low, but the fact they're sticking with me makes me want to find a solution for them," Davis said. "You like to feel like you're part of the team and helping the team.

"It all comes back to me because I'm the one competing, so I have to do whatever it takes to go out there and give a professional at-bat."

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.