Catching you up on the A’s pregame news, and there was a significant portion of it today.
Chris Carter is back with the big league club, having been called up before the game. He’s starting at first base and hitting seventh. To make room for him, right-hander Tyson Ross — Thursday’s starter — was sent down to Triple-A.
Manager Bob Melvin says Carter is here to play against left-handers, and the A’s face several of them coming up. So it’s a platoon situation right now, with Brandon Moss still slated to play against right-handers. Moss is 3 for 24 with no homers and 11 strikeouts over his past seven games, so I don’t think it hurts to give someone else a look. Carter’s numbers at Triple-A: .279, 12 homers, 53 RBIs in 72 games. Those aren’t dominant stats, but he was hitting .386 over his last 12 games.
What should we expect from Carter? At age 25, he’s not considered an elite prospect any more. In four prior stints with Oakland over the past two years, he’s hit .167 with three homers and seven RBI in 39 games. Melvin was asked if there’s urgency for Carter to produce this time, given his prior big league stints. “Like anybody, you make your own opportunities at the big league level,” Melvin said. “If you come in and knock the door down, you force us to put you in the lineup. I think that’s what everybody aspires to in the big leagues. It just hasn’t happened for him up to this point.”
Carter has made a slight mechanical adjustment — he’s trying to use his lower body more instead of just being a hands-hitter. Have his prior big league stints taught him anything to better prepare him to succeed? “I know what to expect now,” he said. “I can’t have any excuses.”
Melvin said similar things about Ross that he’s said in the past. The right-hander needs to find a secondary pitch that creates more of a velocity gap with his fastball. He’s thrown a more effective slider lately, but the A’s want him to be able to change speeds more effectively. I was initially surprised by this move, just because it didn’t seem somebody else was ready to step in. But Melvin said Bartolo Colon — who is eligible to come off the DL on Tuesday, which is when Ross’ turn comes up — might be ready by then. Melvin had indicated as recently as Thursday that he didn’t know if Colon would be ready before the All-Star break. Colon throws his second bullpen session tomorrow, and that will largely determine whether he’s a go for Tuesday.
–The lineups, with the A’s showing an all right-handed hitting look against Texas lefty Matt Harrison:
A’s — Crisp CF, Weeks 2B, Cespedes LF, Gomes RF, Inge 3B, Norris DH, Carter 1B, HIcks SS, Suzuki C; Griffin RHP.
Rangers — Kinsler 2B, Andrus SS, Hamilton LF, Beltre 3B, Young 1B, Cruz RF, Murphy DH, Napoli C, Martin CF; Harrison LHP.