July 31, 2014 at 8:54 pm

Suddenly, Tigers' Rajai Davis finds himself at center of attention

Detroit — Did Rajai Davis know what was going on in the seventh inning Thursday, when he was entering the game for Austin Jackson?

“Nah,” said Davis, laughing, “that’d have been a good question to ask.”

Davis had a pretty good idea, though. After all, it’s not every day you see the general manager and other front-office suits in the dugout, during a game.

“Obviously, it was something important,” Davis said. “I overheard them saying he’s gotta come out.”

That’s because Jackson was no longer a Tiger, having been traded to the Mariners in a three-team blockbuster that netted the Tigers an ace in David Price from the Rays.

Of course, it also opened up a hole for Detroit. Jackson, their starting center fielder since Opening Day 2010, has to be replaced.

And that task will fall on Davis, as well as Ezequiel Carrera, being called up from Triple-A Toledo.

Davis, 33, for one, seems very open to the move. Get this: He said he feels playing center field actually is easier than playing on the corners.

“You don’t have to cover as much ground (on the corners), but you get a different look (in center),” he said. “For me, I think it’s easier just to see the ball off the bat, and take some really good angles.”

That’s an interesting statement from Davis, who has, at times, struggled on reads playing left field — particularly on line drives hit right at him.

It’s not that center is new to Davis, either. That’s the position he grew up playing in the minor leagues, and where he mostly played for the Pirates, Gianits, A’s and Blue Jays, until the Jays shifted him to more corner work in 2012.

This season, he’s played just six games in center, with the rest of his work in left field.

Of course, he has the speed the play the position. Then again, that’s a whole lot of ground to cover – particularly at vast Comerica Park.

“It’s good,” said Davis, chuckling again, “cuz I don’t have to worry about running into the wall.”



Rajai Davis played center field in the minor leagues. / Elizabeth Conley / Detroit News