By Peter Abraham / Globe Staff
SAN FRANCISCO — As a hitting coach, Chili Davis is asked often about his philosophy, as though a combination of words can propel a baseball to a safe landing spot.
But Davis, who was officially named to the Red Sox staff on Thursday, knows his success will rest largely on the skills and health of the players he is given to work with. His knowledge is part of a much larger picture.
“I think the Red Sox have a very strong team already,” Davis said during a conference call. “They’ve added some pieces to it. Like any other team, there were injuries last year that didn’t allow them to do what they wanted to do, what they set out to do in spring training.
“I just want to add to what they have … about how I approach the game and the mentality I bring to the game. I’m hoping we can establish a strong enough trust and some respect and go out and play the game the way the Red Sox have played the game in their world championship years offensively and turn things around.”
Davis, 54, was the hitting coach with Oakland the last three seasons after spending 2011 with Triple A Pawtucket. He replaced Greg Colbrunn, who left the staff after this season.
The Red Sox scored an American League-best 853 runs in 2013 and won the World Series. They scored 634 this season and finished last in their division.
Under Davis, the Athletics were third in the league in runs the last two seasons. He also played parts of 19 seasons in the majors and was member of three World Series winners. A switch-hitter, Davis had 350 homers.
From 1993-94, Davis and Sox manager John Farrell were teammates with the Angels.
“Setting aside a great player career, it’s someone who cares about the individuals that he’s working with and ultimately to make them better, to make us better,” Farrell said. “You talk about a credible playing career, a credible message. Our players will feel this immediately. It was the person that drew us to him.”
Davis, who had several options, received a three-year contract worth $1.2 million according to MLB sources. The Red Sox said that assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez would return. This would be his third year on the staff.
Assuming he is not traded, outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will be reunited with Davis. They worked together for two and a half years in Oakland.
“Cespy is a very special player with a lot of talent,” Davis said. “We saw that in Oakland. … A big-game guy, he loves the noise; loves the lights. I feel like we formed a relationship in Oakland but weren’t quite finished building that relationship.
“I don’t him this to his face: He’s got greatness written all over him. He does. He does everything. He can run; he can throw; he can hit; he can hit for power. Once he gets comfortable [at Fenway Park] there’s no telling what he might put up in a season. He can be a great player. It’s all up to him whether he wants to be that.”