Davis excited to buy Giants jersey for Dodgers-fan dad originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SAN FRANCISCO -- J.D. Davis went to Elk Grove High School, which is located just over 100 miles from Oracle Park, but he did not grow up rooting for the Giants or the A's.
The Davis family was from Southern California and his grandmother was a big Dodgers fan. His father, Jonathan, grew up attending games at Dodger Stadium, but on Wednesday he drove down to Oracle Park to watch his son play in orange and black for the first time. Naturally, the Giants were playing the Dodgers, so which colors would Jonathan Davis be sporting?
"I'm going to get him a jersey," J.D. Davis said before the game, smiling. "I think that was the funny full circle. When we (moved) up here he would always tease Giants fans and they would say, 'It's going to come full circle, your son is going to wear a Giants jersey.' My dad was like, 'No way.' Sure enough, here we are right now."
The younger Davis became a Giant on Tuesday, when the front office sent Darin Ruf to the New York Mets for Davis and three pitching prospects. It was a swap of similar players, although Davis brings some traits that will help a roster that had become too DH-heavy.
Like Ruf, Davis can play first base and left field. But he primarily views himself as an infielder and he started at third base on Wednesday night. Davis went 1-for-4, learning what all hitters have about Oracle Park. He led off the ninth by hitting a Craig Kimbrel pitch 386 feet the other way; it would have been a homer in 14 MLB ballparks, but center fielder Trayce Thompson tracked it down in Triples Alley.
Davis is under team control through 2024, and the Giants are hopeful that he can be part of the solution as they continue to build around Logan Webb, another Sacramento-area native. The two got to know each other about six years ago when they shared an offseason workout facility.
While the 2021 season was a breakout one for Webb, it ended in pain -- literally -- for Davis, who had posted a .820 OPS and hit five homers in 73 games for the Mets. A left hand injury limited him at times during the season and he had surgery in October to repair a torn ligament.
Davis said he's still not quite 100 percent. His grip strength in his left hand is about 90 percent of the way back to normal, but he has seen steady progress. The Giants will get Evan Longoria back soon, but in the meantime, they'll take a long look at Davis, a player who fills a hole now and could be a big part of the mix next season.
The Giants hold a team option on Longoria, who has said this might be his final season. First baseman Brandon Belt is a free agent at the end of the year and manager Gabe Kapler expected Davis to see time there against lefties throughout the final two months.
The first two starts come after a stretch that Davis described as a "bit of a rollercoaster." He knew there was a decent chance he would be dealt before Tuesday's deadline, but it worked out well.
"I'm fortunate, this is home for me," Davis said. "It's pretty close to Sacramento so I'm excited."