Athletics' Khris Davis Ready to Ditch `Khrush' Nickname

John Hickey

Khris Davis doesn’t know when he will be back on a baseball field.

The A’s slugger just doesn’t want Khrush Davis doesn’t materialize when Khris and his Oakland teammates return to a Major League Baseball field yet to be named.

Davis, sitting out the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic at home in the Phoenix area with his wife, Jill, and sons Pablo and Phoenix, says he can’t wait to get back on the field. But he wants to do it as Khris, not Khrush.

Talking on the phone Monday while trying simultaneously to feed 1-year-old Phoenix, Davis said last year’s falloff to a slash line of .220/.293/.387 with 23 homers did away with Khrush. From 2015-18 he’d lived up to that billing, averaged .247 each year while clubbing, in order, 27, 42, 43 and 48 homers. That last number led all 2018 American League hitters.

But Davis never thought that Khrush was who he was.

“I can say I’ve put him in the past,” Davis, the A’s designated hitter, said of his “Khrush” persona. “Honestly, I killed Khrush. I’m just excited to be a good teammate to my team. I’m glad I don’t have to be Khrush because Khrush is not who I wanted to be. It’s who someone else tagged me as.

“If I could talk to the kid in me, which I do a lot, I would say, it’s all about playing the game that you love. It’s not about being Mr. .247, you know? It’s been a long time, and I’m exited to be someone new, or to just be me. I just want to be true to me and be true to my team. I don’t feel like I have to live up to certain expectations.

“It’s behind me, and I’m looking forward to a new season.”

For Davis, whose fallback position is as a homebody when he’s not playing baseball, that new season can’t come soon enough. He spending lots of time with his kids, has a home gym to keep fit and a batting cage and a tee out back where he can work on his swing.

“I hope we’re going to get going soon,” he said. “I haven’t been around any players working out, which I definitely miss. I want to get out there. Like right now.”

Even with Davis’ home run falloff last year the A’s set a club record with 257 homers, including 36 each from first baseman Matt Olson and third baseman Matt Chapman, 33 more from shortstop Marcus Semien, 26 more from outfielder Mark Canha, and 24 from outfielder Ramon Laureano, meaning the defending homer champ finished sixth on his own team.

He sees that as positive, that the 97-win seasons of the last two years have put the A’s in position to overtake the Houston Astros in the American League West whenever things get going this year.

“That’s one of the reasons I’m so anxious to get going,” Davis said. “We still have to prove it on a day-to-day basis. The Astros, they are the champions, and taking that from them, that’ll be the first sign that we’re ready to do this.

“This (A’s) team is loaded. It’s scary to look in the eyes of these guys when they are playing. These guys are real. I’m talking about (Marcus) Semien, (Matt) Olson, (Matt) Chapman and Liam (Hendriks) shutting the door for us. Our starting pitching is great.

“More than anything, we find a way to get the job done. That’s what this team is built on. It’s not built around one guy. We’ve had injuries. We’ve had to deal with a suspension (starter Frankie Montas). It’s not one piece. It’s everybody. That’s why we won the 97 last year. It’s the top-to-bottom culture that BoMel (manager Bob Melvin) and the front office want.”

So, it’s not about Khrush. It’s about crushing. Now the A’s just need to get back on the field.

Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3

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