Jays Watch: Davis in freefall
By MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency
|Blue Jays outfielder Rajai Davis drops a fly ball hit by Indians batter Shin-soo Choo at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ont., June 1, 2011. (MIKE CASSESE/Reuters)
TORONTO - Baseball is full of June swoons, but what CF Rajai Davis is dragging through the month borders on ridiculous. In his first three games this June, Davis was just fine -- he went a collective 6-for-11. But since June 5, he has simply fallen off the map and at the plate looks to be completely lost.
Davis, who wasn't in the starting lineup Tuesday when the Blue Jays played against Pittsburgh, has hit in just five of his past 20 games going 5-for-63 -- an .079 average -- with two extra-base hits. A third of the time he hasn't made any contact. He has struck out 19 times and walked just once.
In his freefall, Davis has lost playing time in centre to Corey Patterson.
With Jose Bautista moving to third base, Davis will be part of a four-man rotation in the outfield that will also feature Patterson, Juan Rivera and Eric Thames.
Centre of attention
Currently manager John Farrell is forced to employ either Patterson or Davis in centre field. Both players are flawed defensively and as stated above, Davis currently can't hit a lick. As proof of how shallow the talent pool is at the position, the Jays will have Travis Snider -- an average left fielder -- patrol centre field for the triple-A Las Vegas 51s when he returns from a concussion. Prior to his injury, Snider played four games in centre but Farrell said Tuesday that upon his return to action he will continue to man the position.
With Carlos Villanueva now a member of the rotation ‹ he has made seven starts after opening the season in the bullpen ‹ the Jays will monitor his innings the rest of the season. A reliever in 2010 with Milwaukee, Villanueva logged just 67 innings. In 20 appearances with the Jays, he has recorded 65 2/3 innings.
"We want to manage his overall innings," Farrell said. "We want to be cautious somewhat with the total number of innings jump that he complies this year over last year. The most important thing is how effective he's been and how valuable he's made himself with the move to the rotation."