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. Davis is to join the Red Sox on Thursday in Cleveland, where he played for the Indians last year. Deven Marrero was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket to make room.
The 36-year-old Davis has five home runs 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.
Davis seems set to be the regular center fielder, although that wasn't definitive.
"Likely in center field," Sox manager John Farrell said after a 6-1 win over the Indians on Wednesday. "[Andrew Benintendi] become a very good left fielder, particularly off the wall where he’s had so much repetition there. Rajai has probably played more games in center field, but this is a guy with postseason experience, a speed element that will add to what’s here already. Familiarity with him in Toronto. He’s a very good fit at a really important time.”
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 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 with a reputation for being a good clubhouse presence.
“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.”