CLEVELAND (AP) Rajai Davis got a taste of the playoffs last season. He can’t wait for another one.
”They’re like candy,” he said after joining the Boston Red Sox on Thursday. ”I just can’t get enough of them.”
Davis will likely get his wish after being acquired by the AL East leaders in a trade with the Oakland Athletics for a minor leaguer on Wednesday. He joined his new teammates Thursday.
”I’m just excited about this opportunity,” Davis said. ”I can’t be more grateful, thankful to be in this position. Coming here, obviously that’s what we play for, to be in playoff contention and be in an opportunity to play in the World Series.”
Davis wasn’t in the lineup against the Cleveland Indians, but Boston manager John Farrell said he’d start in center field Friday when Baltimore visits Fenway Park.
Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said talks with Oakland general manager Billy Beane began last week. The timing of the deal is especially important since center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is on the 10-day disabled list because of a sprained left thumb.
Davis, 36, is in his 12th big league season. He hit .233 with 26 stolen bases, five home runs and 18 RBIs in 100 games with Oakland.
”Rajai is an ideal fit for what we were looking for,” Farrell said. ”He can have a major impact. He can be a game-changer with his speed and base stealing ability.”
Davis led the AL with 43 stolen bases with the Indians last season. He’ll be remembered for his dramatic two-run homer off Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman in the eighth inning that tied Game 7.
”Playoff baseball is different,” Davis said. ”It’s different atmospheres, a different vibe out there, the fans are different. There is just so much more urgency. It’s just fun.”
Indians manager Terry Francona thinks Boston made a good pickup
”He’s one of the more popular guys here,” Francona said. ”Everybody enjoyed him, myself included. When he didn’t come back, we knew we were going to be missing 50 stolen bases because he took care of himself and he can do that. He’ll really help the Red Sox.”
Boston sent 18-year-old outfielder Rafael Rincones to the last-place A’s.