MINNEAPOLIS -- Center fielder Rajai Davis returned from the disabled list in time for Tuesday's series opener at Target Field, as the A's welcomed back their leadoff man.
"When we signed Raj in the offseason, it was to lead off and play center field, and when you take him out of our lineup, it takes a lot of speed out of our lineup," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We've been missing that some, so it's nice to get him back."
A left hamstring strain kept Davis out of action for nine games. He was hitting .214 with one home run and seven RBIs at the time of the injury.
Davis' return means Jaff Decker will slide back into a reserve role. Decker racked up six hits in his first 15 at-bats following his promotion, but has since gone 2-for-27 over his last eight games.
Axford throws off mound
Reliever John Axford joined the A's in Minneapolis on Tuesday to throw a bullpen session in front of the club's coaching staff as he continues his rehab from a shoulder strain.
Axford reported no issues following the 20-pitch outing and expects to throw another one Thursday, so long as he rebounds well in between sessions. He hasn't pitched this season, having sustained the injury while warming up during the club's first series.
"It feels like I haven't thrown in three weeks," Axford said, smiling, "so it's just a matter of getting used to that and working out those kinks, but as far as the shoulder and the lat, it feels good."
Axford will likely throw several bullpen sessions, before facing hitters and graduating to a Minor League rehab assignment. The A's could have him back by the end of the month.
• Sean Manaea (shoulder) is expected to throw a bullpen session in the next day or two and remains on track to return from the DL soon after he's eligible (May 7).
• Chris Bassitt (Tommy John surgery) is scheduled for four innings and 60 pitches with Class A Advanced Stockton on Thursday.
• Daniel Mengden (foot surgery) is set for a three-inning, 45-pitch outing in extended spring training on Wednesday.
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.