Alex Hassan stepped into the A’s lineup Sunday just hours after getting off a plane from Florida and walked twice in an intrasquad game.
“Two walks – he fits right in here,’’ manager Bob Melvin said.
Oakland has been certain for a while that Hassan would be a good fit in the A’s outfield plans. He can play the corners, and he also can play first base. Offensively, he’s something of an on-base machine with a .287 average last year in Triple-A with a .378 on-base percentage and a .426 slugging percentage.
For his six-year minor league career, the slash line is .291/.396/.436, so it’s small wonder the A’s went after him, claiming Hassan on waivers from the Red Sox on Nov. 17 after Boston ran into a roster crunch and had to put him on waivers.
The trouble was, the A’s had roster issues of their own and had to ask for waivers, too. Baltimore claimed him. Hassan was coming off hernia surgery “so I had an idea that the A’s would put me on waivers, too.’’
The hernia surgery over, Hassan said he now feels 100 percent. Baltimore was the latest team to need to make room on the 40-man roster. The Orioles had just acquired shortstop Everth Cabrera, so somebody had to go.
“The last few days have been hectic,’’ Hassan said. “But I’m happy to be here. I knew there was a chance I’d be moved, but the timing surprised me, it coming on the first day (of spring training).
“In one sense you’re being cut from the roster. But on the other hand, it’s good to see if there are other teams who are interested.’’
Hassan figures to get plenty of playing time in the first week or 10 days of spring training with Coco Crisp being held out and veterans like Josh Reddick and Craig Gentry being eased in.
Hassan will get some help breaking in. First baseman Nate Freiman was Hassan’s host at Duke when the Blue Devils were recruiting him out of high school. The two men played together for two seasons and remain good friends.
There are in fact three Duke players in the A’s camp, the other being Dan Otero, and that fact had Hassan a little bemused.
“I’m not sure if that’s the best strategy,’’ he said. “We weren’t very good.’’