Davis gets rare start against righty

Davis gets rare start against righty

DETROIT -- Rajai Davis received a rare start against a right-handed pitcher in Thursday afternoon's game against the Tigers.

Davis is being used almost exclusively against left-handers this season, but he got the call in right field with Doug Fister on the mound for Detroit, batting sixth.

The move was made in part because of Davis' past success against Fister, while also giving Jose Bautista an opportunity to start at designated hitter to avoid aggravating a right ankle injury in the wet conditions at Comerica Park.

"That's one of the reasons, plus Rajai has hit this guy pretty good," manager John Gibbons said. "It kind of solves two things there. It's a little sloppy out there and we can protect [Bautista] a little bit, too."

Davis entered Thursday's game with a career .423 average (11-for-26) with a pair of doubles against Fister. The move immediately paid off, although not quite the way Toronto was expecting.

The 32-year-old Davis was hit by a pitch during the second inning. He promptly stole second base and eventually came around to score on a sacrifice fly by third baseman Mark DeRosa. He also singled in the fourth.

Davis entered the game hitting only .259 versus righties compared to .289 against lefties. That's one of the main reasons he has been used in a platoon role with left-handed-hitter Adam Lind.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.