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The Athletics

Associated Press


Khris Davis hardly cares how many home runs he hits this year if he can slug the Athletics much deeper into the postseason.


Sure, he has some numbers in his head. How could he not after leading the majors with 48 homers last year? Perhaps 50 is now within reach.


There was time for reflection, and it has now passed.


“I did at the end of the season. Now I’m kind of like over it,” Davis said. “I want to pick up where I left off. I felt like I ended the season on a good note, making it to the playoffs. Nobody thought we’d get there. Even though we lost, there was a lot to be proud of. It was by far the most fun I’ve had playing baseball, because we won so many games. And winning is way better than losing.”


With a young, power-hitting lineup, the A’s realize they won’t surprise the rest of baseball as they did last year with their knack for late-game rallies and winning the close ones. They lost the AL wild-card game to the Yankees.


“We’ve come a long way as a team to get into this type of position,” manager Bob Melvin said. “It’s easier to envision where the lineup’s going to be and look a little bit farther down the road with this type of team than with teams where you’re kind of always having to mix and match.”


Momentum time: Melvin expects his A’s to have swagger, a well-deserved confidence after the remarkable turnaround of 2018.


The A’s trailed the Mariners by 11 games in the wild-card race on June 15, then propelled themselves into the playoffs with a superb second half.


“We were able to, through confidence, create the success, and now we have that kind of confidence to go into the season,” said Melvin, the reigning AL manager of the year.


Profar’s presence: New second baseman Jurickson Profar joins a talented infield with a pair of slugging Matts — Matt Chapman at third and Matt Olson at first — along with much-improved Marcus Semien at shortstop.


Profar knows how good his new club can be after watching the A’s beat his former Rangers so many times before being traded.


“Now I get the chance to play with them. So far, it’s fun,” he said.


Profar batted .254 with 20 homers and 77 RBIs in 146 games last season while playing all four infield spots for the Rangers.


He is embracing a new chance in Oakland.


“They did great last year and we’re still young,” Profar said.


Rotation faces: The A’s are counting on veteran starters Mike Fiers and Marco Estrada to lead the rotation until everyone is healthy again.


Fiers returned on a two-year, $14.1 million deal in December, and Estrada received a one-year, $4 million contract in January.


The A’s acquired Fiers in August from Detroit, and he helped the club reach the playoffs for the first time since 2014. He went 5-2 with a 3.74 ERA in 10 outings with nine starts after joining Oakland.


Brett Anderson is back with the A’s, and the lefty also is slated to be in the rotation when the season starts.


Left-handed ace Sean Manaea pitched a no-hitter against the Red Sox on April 21 then had shoulder surgery in September. He is expected to be out until about the All-Star break.


Jharel Cotton had Tommy John surgery in March.


Photo: Khris Davis led all of baseball with 48 home runs last year but is focusing on the playoffs.