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Blanks hopes to answer the call now that he’s with A’s

Kyle Blanks exited for new opportunity in big leagues with A's.

Kyle Blanks exited for new opportunity in big leagues with A’s.

Kyle Blanks was just getting settled in for a mid-morning snooze when his cell phone rang.

It was San Diego assistant general manager A.J. Hinch. The former A’s catcher was calling to let Blanks know that he’d been traded to Oakland.

Just like that, Blanks life and livelihood changed. He’d been destined to return to Triple-A El Paso when the Padres found they no longer had a spot for him. Instead he would be heading to join the A’s in Cleveland to be their right-handed hitting first baseman.

“I was trying to take a nap, and I get a phone call that brings me here,’’ Blanks said. “It’s definitely an interesting change of scenery. The change will be for the better.’’

Blanks, all 6-foot-6, 265 pounds of him, can play first base or either of the corner outfield positions. He can run a little bit, too, but more than anything he projects as being able to hit for power.

That he hasn’t showed that yet is mostly due to his injury history, which includes a Tommy John surgery, a shoulder injury that needed surgery and an Achilles tendon problem.

“I was given many opportunities with San Diego,’’ Blanks said. “Unfortunately for me, I ran into quite a few injuries. That’s just the way the game goes for some. I’ve been focusing a lot on health.

“The Tommy John, as far as I know, that could have been from playing when I was younger. The shoulder, that may just have been wear and tear. The injuries have made me more aware of what I need to do to stay healthy and to stay on the field. I hope I can stay healthy and do what I can to help.’’

Reliever Luke Gregerson, who was a San Diego teammate of Blanks the last few years, said the addition is an exciting one for the A’s.

“He’s very good defensively, he can play a lot of position and for a big guy, he moves very well,’’ Gregerson said. “And he’s shown he can hit. He’s going to fit in nicely here.’’

Blanks, who has 28 big league homers, had nine homers for Triple-A El Paso this year in just 99 at-bats.

“We can certainly see the numbers he has,’’ manager Bob Melvin said. “He has potential.’’

John Hickey

Returning to the Oakland A's beat after a dozen years covering the Seattle Mariners. Covered the A's through the late 1980s and 1990s.