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Jaylin Davis is feeling the pressure


Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports


There are so, so many ways you want to be compared with Willie Mays.

Jaylin Davis found the wrong one.

“I’ll just have Willie Mays talk to him about his start,” Bruce Bochy cracked Tuesday about a legend who began his career 0-for-12. (He would bounce back.)

Davis got that first hit out of the way right away, in his first game, but little have followed. The September call-up, who put up video game numbers with Triple-A Sacramento (.333/.419/.686), has gone 2-for-15 without an extra-base hit in five games entering Wednesday’s Oracle Park matchup with the Pirates.

His swing has raised questions because so many hard-hit shots are winding up in the ground instead of the air. But Davis points to his head as the issue.

“I’m just putting a lot of pressure on myself right now,” the right fielder, batting seventh Wednesday, told KNBR. “Just trying to relax a little more and let it go and I’ll be fine.”

The 25-year-old has waited since being drafted by Minnesota in 2015 for this shot, and he shows off tools that compensate when his bat is quiet. While not the biggest base-stealing threat, he runs well and has made a few nice running catches in a difficult outfield to navigate. His arm is a weapon that was deployed Monday on a terrific ninth-inning throw home, which Buster Posey dropped.

But he was called up for his power after slugging 35 minor league homers this season. He said along with the pressure, his timing has slipped.

“I’m kind of just in between right now. [The Giants coaches] told me just to relax,” said Davis, whose first career RBI came Monday. “Just going up there and trying not to do much. Basically just play the game.”

What the Giants coaches haven’t told him (yet) is to reconfigure his swing. The Appalachian State product has hit a startling 85.7 percent of his batted balls on the ground, albeit in a small sample size.

Davis isn’t worried about it. The Giants want him to exhale. He wants to exhale. The fact he is not in the lineup every day does not help him adjust.

“It’s something that’s a big difference for me. But I expected it coming up here,” Davis said. “Kind of getting used to it.”

This is all new for Davis. This is not new for Bochy.

“I’ve seen it so many times when a guy comes up. Doesn’t matter what you say, there’s a tendency to impress a little bit,” the manager said. “You want hits. You want a good first impression.

“He’ll be fine.”

 

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