CLEVELAND — Rajai Davis, the veteran outfielder who hit a dramatic home run in Game 7 of the World Series last year, is joining the Red Sox.
The Sox traded minor league outfielder Rafael Rincones to the A’s on Wednesday for Davis, who gives the Sox a depth option in place of Jackie Bradley Jr., and also a potential postseason pinch runner. Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said he hopes Davis can join the Sox as soon as Thursday in Cleveland, where he played for the Indians last year.
The 36-year-old Davis has five home run and a .233 average this season with Oakland, plus 26 steals in 32 attempts. He’s hitting .303 since the All-Star Break and is primarily a center fielder.
Whether Bradley takes over as the regular center fielder right away wasn’t immediately clear, but it would seem logical with Jackie Bradley Jr. on the disabled list.
“Well, that will be for John [Farrell] to determine when he makes the lineup out,” Dombrowski said. “He's still hit well, particularly the second half of the year. He's hit over .300 since the All-Star break. He's been a guy that's contributed in a pennant race. You saw what he did last year in the World Series. But how he determines when he's going to use him, that would be up to John.”
Dombrowski said the move did not reflect a greater level of concern for Bradley’s sprained left thumb, but noted the MRI that Bradley went for on Wednesday prompted him to expedite the trade. Dombrowski said he reached out to Oakland’s Billy Beane a week ago — well before Bradley was hurt.
Bradley suffered a sprain to a ligament in his left thumb, which is to be immobilized for about a week, Farrell said. Bradley was injured Tuesday night in a slide into home plate, banging his left hand awkwardly on a slide home. He’s on the 10-day disabled list, but given the period of immobilization, he’s expected to be on the DL longer than the minimum.
“The encouraging thing is through the X-ray and MRI imaging, there are no tears, no fractures,” Farrell said. “He is immobilized currently in a splint and that will probably be in the next coming days, 5-7 days, and hopefully at that point we’re able to get some range of motion and strengthening back in there. Unfortunate that he ends up in an awkward position to slide last night and rolled over on the thumb.”
Steve Selsky was designated for assignment Wednesday, clearing a 40-man roster spot for Davis.
Davis is a Connecticut native.
“We think the world of him,” Dombrowski said. “Fantastic guy. He's the type of person everyone thinks the world of when they meet him. We know he'll fit in with the ball club well, and can play on a pennant contender, which we hope to complete as we get through the stretch run here. He's been through it.”