Velocity jump helped Erik Davis secure 40-man roster spot

Right-hander Erik Davis was thrilled to get the call that he had been added to the 40-man roster last week and he is primed to take another step forward towards the Nationals in 2013.

“It was huge for me,” Davis said. “I was down in the Dominican Republic when I found out. One of our coaches called me in from shagging batting practice. Obviously, I knew that day was the deadline for that stuff to happen. The emotions just kind of overcame me and it was a dream come true.”

Davis said while thrilled to make the 40-man roster with the Nationals, he is now even more determined to make the next move.

“I am still not where I want to be,” Davis said. “I want to make it to the major leagues and be a contributor there. This is just another step to getting there. I am eternally grateful to the Nationals for giving me that chance and I hope to make them happy that they added me to the roster.”

When he was with the San Diego Padres, Davis found out he had a torn right quadriceps tendon in his right knee. In 2011, after he got traded to the Nationals, there were multiple times where he would throw a pitch and his knee would give out and he would fall to the ground.

He talked to the doctors and tried to make it through the season. Looking back, Davis felt he wasn’t 100 percent. Davis eventually had surgery in October 2011, and then came back strong in 2012.

“I wanted to show the Nationals what I was capable of doing and I think I was able to do that,” the 26-year old Davis said. “I think we both realized that being a reliever is definitely what my future holds and I really took to the role.”

Davis features a fastball, curveball and changeup. The changeup is his go-to pitch and he can throw it in any count. He gets a lot of swings and misses from his changeup.

But the biggest change came in his fastball in 2012. This, year his velocity went up. He was once at 88-91 mph and now with shorter outings, Davis was able to get the velocity up to 95 mph.

Davis continued to do well in Dominican winter ball, going 3-0 with a 0.47 ERA in 17 games, striking out 19 in 19 innings, with only seven walks.

Davis went 8-3 with a 2.71 ERA in 48 games with Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse in 2012, striking out 74 in in 73 innings with 20 walks.

He is also excited to be reunited with his Stanford University baseball teammate Drew Storen in spring training, but this time, the roles will be reversed. Back in their college days, Davis was the senior at Stanford when Storen was a freshman.

“It will be an interesting situation,” Davis said. “I will be the fresh face and he is more of the seasoned vet. (Drew) is a great guy. It will be nice and comforting to have a familiar face there.”

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