AL East-leading Red Sox obtain OF Rajai Davis from Oakland

Former New London great Rajai Davis, right, scoring a run earlier this season against the Toronto Blue Jays, was traded from the Oakland Athletics to the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday. Davis is expected to join the first-place Red Sox on Thursday in Cleveland. (Jeff Chiu/AP File Photo)
Former New London great Rajai Davis, right, scoring a run earlier this season against the Toronto Blue Jays, was traded from the Oakland Athletics to the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday. Davis is expected to join the first-place Red Sox on Thursday in Cleveland. (Jeff Chiu/AP File Photo)

Cleveland — The AL East-leading Boston Red Sox boosted their outfield depth by acquiring speedy Rajai Davis, a New London High School and UConn Avery Point alumnus, from the Oakland Athletics for a minor league outfielder Wednesday.

The Red Sox sent 18-year-old Rafael Rincones to the last-place A's. Hours earlier, Boston put center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. on the 10-day disabled list because of a sprained left thumb.

Davis is expected to join the Red Sox in Cleveland on Thursday for a game between division leaders. He hit .233 with 26 stolen bases, five home runs and 18 RBI in 100 games with Oakland this season.

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said he began discussions with Oakland general manager Billy Beane last week about Davis.

The trade was finalized Wednesday morning, but the deal couldn't be announced until the A's finished their game in Baltimore. Davis didn't play in Oakland's 8-7 loss in 12 innings.

"We're very happy to have Raj," Dombrowski said. "He's a guy we had talked about to add speed to our lineup in September. Raj is a tremendous individual. We think the world of him, everyone thinks the world of him."

The 36-year-old Davis is in his 12th big league season. He led the American League with 43 steals last year for Cleveland and also hit a big home run in Game 7 of the World Series off then-Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman. He also hit for the cycle for the Indians in 2016.

Davis wants another shot at postseason play.

"The atmosphere is just totally different in the playoffs," he said. "I think once you get a taste of a little bit of the playoffs, you want a little bit more. I'm just thankful this opportunity to come my way."

Davis also has played for Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Toronto and Detroit.

"He's hit well the second half of this year and he obviously hit well last year in the World Series," Dombrowski said. "Regardless of the situation, I don't think he'll get rattled."

Oakland manager Bob Melvin said Davis had a major impact on the Athletics' clubhouse.

"He exceeded all that," Melvin said. "He had to deal with some tough circumstance with us not playing him every day after starting to play every day. He was very supportive of the younger players knowing the direction we were going. Bit of a mentor to all these guys."

The Red Sox designated outfielder Steve Selsky for assignment. The 28-year-old went 1-for-9 in eight games for Boston this year.

A 1999 New London graduate, Davis played at Avery Point from 2000-01 and holds the school record for runs scored in a season (64) and a career (117). He was inducted into the school's baseball hall of fame in 2012.

Davis was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 38th round of the 2001 draft. He made his Major League debut for the Pirates on Aug. 14, 2006 in Pittsburgh, going 0-for-1 in a pinch hit appearance against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Davis is a .264 career hitter with 1,053 hits, 593 runs scored, 60 home runs, 371 RBI and 391 stolen bases.

Rajai Davis, then a member of the Cleveland Indians, celebrates after his two- run home run against the Chicago Cubs during the eighth inning of Game 7 of the 2016 World Series. (Charlie Riedel/AP File Photo)
Rajai Davis, then a member of the Cleveland Indians, celebrates after his two- run home run against the Chicago Cubs during the eighth inning of Game 7 of the 2016 World Series. (Charlie Riedel/AP File Photo)
Rajai Davis, left, speaks with his former New London High School baseball coach, Gil Varjas, before Davis was inducted into the UConn Avery Point Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012. (Dana Jensen/Day File Photo)
Rajai Davis, left, speaks with his former New London High School baseball coach, Gil Varjas, before Davis was inducted into the UConn Avery Point Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012. (Dana Jensen/Day File Photo)

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