Rajai Davis is going to the MAT to be in the A’s lineup
Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group Rajai Davis wants to bring the running dynamic back to the A’s when he returns from the DL Tuesday in Minneapolis.
MINNEAPOLIS – For someone who’s built like a sprinter and who plays baseball with a sprinter’s flair, Rajai Davis has spent a dozen seasons in the Major League while mostly avoiding sprinter-type injuries.
Not so much this year, though. He comes off the Oakland disabled list Tuesday night after a 10-day DL stint devoted to recovering from just the second hamstring injury of his career. And in the last week he’s seen what happens when he and shortstop Marcus Semien aren’t in the lineup.
The sprinter gene was gone from the A’s lineup while he had to sit and watch.
“I’d like to come back and change the dynamic,” Davis said on the eve of his return. “Look at the Astros when they run. They’re stealing bases, they’re going first to third, they’re doing those little things that get irritating for a defense and for a pitcher.”
That dynamic has been missing with the A’s with Davis and Semien, who is out until at least June with a fractured right wrist, missing. They are the key men in whatever running game the A’s have. Davis led the American League in steals last year with 43 steals and while Semien only had four steals last season, manager Bob Melvin was hoping this year would see him more involved in pushing the Oakland running game.
“We need to get Raj back at the top of the lineup,” Melvin said. “It will be great to get him back. We’ve been a little short. Certainly the speed dynamic with he and Marcus out, too, hurt us. Basically they are our only guys who give us speed threats. We’re a little one-dimensional with those guys out, too.”
To make sure that he’s back to stay, Davis has gone back to taking part in MAT, or Muscle Activation Technique, that he’s used for the last few years to keep his muscles supple. When he left the Indians to sign with the A’s, he had to find a new practitioner. It took a while, which is why he says last month’s hamstring injury “was partly my fault.”
“I had to find a new person in a new city,” Davis said. “I finally got the MAT contact, but it was a little too late. But I’ve got it going now.”
And because of that, he is confident he’ll be running with impunity now that he’s back. He’s that confident that his hamstring is going to hold together.
“It’s just a matter of knowing your body,” he said. “I’ve talked to specialists outside of baseball who work with the body through MAT. It’s not that popular a technique, but it works for me. I want to be sure that this can’t happen again.
“I’ve had a little extra time on the DL to make sure I’m 100 percent healthy. I need that, because once I’m out there, I pretty much play at one speed, and that’s fast and hard.
“I’m beyond anxious to get back on the field.”
On Saturday he wore his game uniform onto the field “just to make sure of the fit.”
“Man, that felt good,” he said. “It was the first time in a while I had it on.”
His goal now is to make sure he can keep putting it on the final five months of the season.