Red-hot A’s will be without slugger Khris Davis

Oakland places power-hitting designated hitter on injured list with a hip/oblique issue

Khris Davis #2 of the Oakland Athletics reacts to striking out in the second inning against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on May 14, 2019 in Seattle, Washington.
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OAKLAND — Khris Davis fought the railing, and the railing won.

Davis bruised his hip and oblique after colliding with a railing at PNC Park in Pittsburgh back on May 5. This happened as the slugger — playing left field at the National League park — was chasing a fly ball.

That bruise had barked enough since: Davis was finally placed on the 10-day IL retroactive to May 22.

“Never really got better, never really got worse,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said of the injury prior to Friday’s series opener against the Seattle Mariners. “Some days after a day off it felt better in (batting practice), then once he got in the game it was the same.”

Davis pushed through the nagging pain for eight games and 26 at bats — somehow he mustered a .346 average, muscled two home runs and scraped together nine hits in that span. His tentative approach at the plate made it clear that the DH was struggling to take his powerful swing without experiencing pain.

He’ll be shut down from taking swings for at least five days.

But Davis fading in and out of IL purgatory hasn’t had any type of stifling effect on the A’s power resurgence.

On this six-game win streak (and two-thirds of a win, if you want to include a suspended game in Detroit in which the A’s hold a two-run lead in the middle of the seventh inning), the A’s have mashed 16 home runs. That’s a clip more in line with a clicking A’s offensive identity; compare that to the 15 home runs hit over their previous 17 games.

Helping the A’s sustain this home run rhythm with a hobbled Davis is Mark Canha, who’s filled in seamlessly as Davis’ DH replacement.

“If there’s a guy we feel really comfortable replacing KD for a while, it’s Mark,” Melvin said. “Canha does what KD does for us, so it kind of felt like having KD there, even though we’re going to miss him.”

Canha has hit five home runs since his return from the IL on May 13. He’s never had more than a four-home run month in his career.

Skye Bolt was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas to replace Davis on the active roster. Bolt presents about as much versatility imaginable: he can play all three outfield positions and, perhaps most importantly for a squad light on the left-handed bats, provides a switch hitting option off the bench.

This will be Bolt’s first games playing under the Oakland Coliseum lights. He returned to Las Vegas following his debut in Pittsburgh and flew off on a seven-game tear with 12 hits and three RBIs.

“Since coming up two weeks ago and to this day, it’s my understanding that I’m going to be here to contribute in any facet they need me to,” Bolt said.

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