A's slugger Davis begins running on field

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Friday, March 1, 2019

MESA, Ariz. -- Oakland Athletics slugger Khris Davis stepped up his rehab for a left calf strain and began running on the field Friday.

Athletics manager Bob Melvin said he expects Davis to be ready by the season-opening series in Japan in mid-March.

Davis has yet to play in a spring training game because of the leg injury.

"At least we got him out on the field," Melvin said.

The major leagues' home run leader last season with a career-high 48, Davis has been able to work on his swing even if he can't get into games.

"They're putting together every day some simulated stuff for him over at the minor league camp," Melvin said. "As long as we keep him healthy, I'm OK with the timetable right now."

Will Davis be ready for the Athletics' early opener?

"We've got to get there," Melvin said. "My guess is we'll have him in some (spring) games here before we leave" for Japan.

The Athletics will play the Cubs on March 13 in Arizona then leave for Japan and play two exhibition games against Nippon on March 17 and 18 before their two regular-season games against the Seattle Mariners on March 20 and 21 at the Tokyo Dome.

Stephen Piscotty batted third on Friday, which is where Davis usually bats. "Every day it'll look like there's a big hole in there without him," Melvin said, referring to Davis. ... Matt Chapman made his first start at third base Friday and is progressing well after undergoing surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder. Chapman will play again Saturday for his first back to back games this spring.