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03/12/10 7:36 PM EST
Davis off to a torrid start early this spring
Slugger collects three more base hits during Friday's win
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Chris Davis went into Friday's game against the Padres tied for fourth in hitting in the Cactus League this spring. That was before he went 3-for-4 with three singles in a 6-2 victory over the Padres at Surprise Stadium. The three singles came in his first three at-bats, giving him a streak of eight straight hits. He had a double in his last at-bat on Wednesday, went 4-for-4 on Thursday against the Rockies in Tucson and had three more hits on Friday before taking a called third strike in his final time up. He is now 11-for-19 to begin the spring, a gratifying start in the eyes of manager Ron Washington. "It is, after everything he went through and how hard he worked over the winter," Washington said. "There are still some people who might doubt him but I don't doubt him. He's made some adjustments and he's worked hard, it's nice to see things coming around." Davis got off to a terrible start last spring with just four hits in his first 26 at-bats. He hit a hot streak late in March but cooled off going into the season and it was awhile before he regained his stroke. "September," Davis said. This time there is no talk of him being a slow starter. "It's just the fact that I started hitting again a lot earlier this offseason," Davis said. "A couple of weeks after the season was over I was in the cage. I wanted to keep that feeling rather than come out here and try and recreate it. Instead you just clear your head and go out and play."
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Of his eight hits, six were singles. He also had a double and a home run."I'm a singles machine," Davis joked, but three of those singles on Friday came against left-handed pitching. He hit .189 against left-handers last year. The singles are also a sign that the approach he is taking this spring has paid off so far, at least after a few games. "A couple of those singles came with two strikes," Davis said. "That's big. I'm not a stranger at swinging at balls in the dirt, but that's when hitting to the opposite field comes in, not trying to do too much but just put the ball in play." Rookie Justin Smoak, who is playing again after missing time with a strained hip muscle earlier this week, replaced Davis at first base on Friday and struck out in his only at-bat. Smoak is now 1-for-7 as he tries to get his hitting stroke back after time off because of the injury. After the game, Smoak headed off to the batting cage for more hitting work. Davis was done for the day. There is no first-base controversy developing in this camp. "Chris is doing well," Washington said. "He's been in camp taking care of business and he's very confident. He's not over-swinging. He's controlling the strike zone. We just want to make sure he stays in the same frame of mind."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.