Barton goes from least likely to back on A’s roster

If there was one player in the A’s spring training camp that seemed the least likely to make it onto the Oakland roster in 2013, Daric Barton would have gotten many, if not most, of the votes.

He is a left-handed hitting first baseman with minimal power and he is on a team where Brandon Moss is a one-time outfielder-turned-first base who is left-hand and who has plenty of power. It was Moss who had taken Barton’s job last season.

    Yes, the A’s had agreed to salary arbitration with Barton over the winter, but it was, many speculated, simply so that Oakland would be able to trade him if there were interested suitors.

But after hitting .212 and .204 with a combined one homer the last two seasons, Barton was out of favor, and not just in Oakland. The A’s put him on the designated for assignment list and asked waivers on him when they were cutting down the roster at the season’s start. When he wasn’t picked up elsewhere, he re-signed a minor league deal.

And now here he is, back on the Oakland roster, called up from Triple-A Sacramento to take the spot of Josh Reddick, who went on the disabled list today with a damaged right wrist. Barton’s numbers with the River Cats weren’t huge, just .287 with three homers, but he did have 21 RBIs in 29 games, in part because he was hitting .484 with runners in scoring position to go with a .422 on-base percentage.

It’s likely a short-term fix for the A’s, who are due to get Coco Crisp (left hamstring) and Chris Young (left quad) off the disabled list in the next week or 10 days. Even so, it’s a huge step forward for Barton, who was clearly the odd man out in the organization six weeks ago.

To make the move to get Barton back on the 40-man roster, the A’s had to release Jordan Norberto, a left-handed pitcher who’s been injured (strained left elbow) while pitching for Sacramento and who just began throwing in the last couple of days. The club hopes to be able to resign Norberto, who was picked up from Arizona in the Brad Ziegler trade deadline deal in 2011.

Reddick, for his part, seemed resigned to going on the disabled list Tuesday night. He said even if his wrist, which received shots of xylocaine and cortisone before Tuesday’s game, was only going to keep him out a week, he didn’t want to be taking up a roster spot that could go to someone who was able to play.

John Hickey

A longtime baseball writer three years into in his second go-round covering to the Oakland A's beat after a dozen years covering the Seattle Mariners. Covered the A's through the late 1980s and 1990s.