NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Khris Davis confirmed Monday that he will play for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic this spring.
The A’s left fielder, who led Oakland with 42 home runs and 102 RBI last season, was also on a preliminary list for Team USA, and he’d been weighing which country to play for.
“I’m just excited to represent Mexico and felt I should be loyal,” Davis told CSN California in a phone interview. “I’m flattered that Team USA invited me and was considering me, but at the end of the day they weren’t going to guarantee playing time like Mexico was. … (Mexico) has been on me for years, since before I was even a big leaguer.”
Davis was born in Southern California, but his mother, Sonia Alarcon, is from Ensenada, which makes him eligible to play for Mexico. He was exposed to the country’s baseball culture as a youth while traveling with his father, Rodney, who was a scout for the Dodgers and Diamondbacks.
“His mom is from Ensenada, I think he was proud to say that,” Team Mexico manager Edgar Gonzalez said. “People didn’t know that, and his mom and his whole family are going to be very proud of him to represent the country that they grew up in.”
Gonzalez’s brother, Dodgers star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, will also play for Mexico, and Edgar has visions of Davis combining with Adrian as part of a potent heart of the order.
“It’s a 42-home run bat in the middle of the lineup, which is pretty impressive,” Gonzalez said. “Those are impressive numbers for somebody in that stadium (The Coliseum).”
Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna also is expected to suit up for Mexico, and Davis said he’s hopeful that a good friend of his, Orioles pitcher Yovani Gallardo, also will be a teammate.
Mexico is scheduled to begin first-round play March 9 in Jalisco, so Davis will report to spring training with the A’s before leaving to play in the WBC. Major league clubs can’t prevent their players from participating in the event, although factors are taken into consideration if there is an injury risk. A’s general manager David Forst said early in the offseason that he had no issues with Oakland players taking part in the WBC.