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Did Indians' Davis slide into job security?

By JOE NOGA • Updated Jun 7, 2018 at 9:12 PM

CLEVELAND — Roster moves are expected ahead of this weekend's Cleveland Indians series in Detroit, but if Wednesday's outing against Milwaukee was any indication, veteran outfielder Rajai Davis has represented himself rather well in front of manager Terry Francona and the Tribe's front office.

Davis, starting for the first time since May 25, stole three bases and scored a run against the Brewers in a 3-1 Indians victory. Davis raised his season total to a team-high 11 steals, tied for seventh-most in the American League.

Manager Terry Francona said once the Indians got Davis' speed on the bases, Wednesday's game changed.

"That's the hope when Raj plays, that he can influence the game, and he did," Francona said.

In the fifth inning, with Cleveland trailing 1-0, Davis delivered a one-out single to center and stole second base with Francisco Lindor at the plate. After Lindor walked, Davis scored on Michael Brantley's base hit to beat an infield shift at shortstop.

"I just went out there trying to do what I do, be a threat out there and get in scoring position," Davis said. "Obviously, it's easier to score when you're at second as opposed to first."

The 37-year-old veteran was 2-for-3 with a pair of singles a walk, posting his fifth multi-hit effort of the year. He enters the weekend batting .232 (22-for-95) with a .288 on-base percentage and .551 OPS.

"I was just trying to produce and help us win," Davis said. "That was my main focus at the plate, just trying to get good pitches to hit and just staying with that approach."

Francona said with Brewers starter Chase Anderson on the mound mixing in a good changeup and breaking ball, it was a good day to play Davis in center.

"His first time up, he really hit that ball well and got nothing for it," Francona said. "He had good swings all day."

Davis became the oldest Indians player, at 37 years and 230 days, to steal three bases in a game in the Baseball Reference Play Index era (post 1908). He beat Nap Lajoie's mark of 37 years, four days in 1911 against the St. Louis Browns.

Davis and Jose Ramirez were the last two Indians to steal three bases in a single game, both doing so on Aug. 12, 2016 against the Los Angeles Angels.

Meanwhile, Davis became just the third player in Tribe history to steal 10 or more bases while 37 or older. He joins Omar Vizquel, who had 19 steals in 2004, and Lajoie who did so three times, including 18 steals in 1912.

The Indians are expected to make a roster move today or shortly thereafter when Brandon Guyer is ready to come off the 10-day disabled list. With second-year outfielder Greg Allen getting the nod to remain on the big league roster Tuesday over Bradley Zimmer, veterans including Davis and Melky Cabrera could be fighting for a spot by the end of the week.

"I can't focus on that," Davis said. "I can't make that decision. I don't make those decisions. When my name is called, I try to help us win."

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