Bob Geren was late for his pre-game media chat, but he had a pretty good excuse: The A’s decided to put Ryan Sweeney on the 15-day DL with a sprained MCL in his left knee. His replacement on the roster?
First baseman Daric Barton.
Barton got word about 4:30 p.m. and is driving to the Coliseum from Sacramento right now. The A’s like the way he’s been swinging the bat lately at Triple-A. He’s hitting just .245 with three homers and 32 RBI after getting off to a slow start. But he’s turned it on over his last 10 games, hitting .357 with a homer and eight RBI. Who could have predicted he’d be back this soon? You know all about his 2008 season, when he got his shot as the everyday first baseman but struggled mightily at the plate.
He was hard-pressed to win a roster spot in spring training after the A’s signed Jason Giambi and Nomar Garciaparra, and a quad injury ensured Barton would start in Triple-A.
Sweeney has missed five games, so his DL stint is retroactive to June 3, and he’s eligible to return June 18. Geren said surgery does not appear necessary for Sweeney. He added that Barton could draw some starts at first base to allow Giambi (who’s dealing with a sore lower right calf) to DH some. Jack Cust’s back is well enough for him to play right field in that scenario. Plus, Bobby Crosby is still with his wife, who’s in labor with their first child, so he won’t be available as an infield option for tonight and perhaps longer.
There’s been speculation about whether prospect Sean Doolittle had passed Barton on the pecking order as the future first baseman. But Doolittle is on Sacramento’s DL right now w/knee tendinitis. The A’s still think highly of Barton’s potential.
“He’s still very young and talented, and he’s hit very well at every level,” Geren said. “We’re going to give him a chance.”