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OAKLAND – Nate Freiman and Drew Pomeranz had to be the most popular guys in the Beloit Snappers’ clubhouse over the past few days – they sprung for several meals for their younger teammates during their short stay with the A’s low Single-A farm team.
Both players went to Beloit after being optioned from the big league club last week, a procedural move that allowed the A’s to call them back up without the players needing to spend the minimum 10 days in the minors that’s typically required when a player is optioned.
With the Snappers’ season ending Monday, Freiman and Pomeranz were promoted back to Oakland on Tuesday. Both were happy to be back in the bigs, but they drew positives out of spending time with Beloit’s young prospects, some of whom were 2014 draft picks who were playing college ball just a few months ago.
“I sat in the stands with them charting pitches,” Pomeranz said. “They were asking a lot of questions.”
Pomeranz’s activity with the Snappers consisted of a single bullpen session, but Freiman started two games and went 4-for-9 with a home run and two doubles.
“It was a blast,” Freiman said. “The A’s have a lot of talent at that level.”
The two arranged for Applebee’s to deliver the daily spread one day, then they had a pile of McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches brought in another day.
Their duties will be more substantial as they try to help the A’s chase down the Los Angeles Angels over the final 3 ½ weeks of the regular season. Freiman is starting at first base Tuesday night against Seattle Mariners left-hander James Paxton. He provided a spark during his last stint with Oakland, going 6-for-21 (.286) with three homers and six RBI in eight games from Aug. 3-26.
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“Against left-handed pitching, he’s probably as good as anybody we’ve had here recently,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “Definitely he’s a guy we were targeting to get back and play first base against left-handed pitching.”
Melvin said there was no thought to get Adam Dunn back in the lineup a day after he homered in his A’s debut. The left-handed hitting slugger has just 52 at-bats against lefties this season, and the A’s have him targeted as the DH against right-handed pitchers. Derek Norris, who hit .202 with 26 strikeouts in August, is serving as the DH on Tuesday.
“We brought (Dunn) in for a specific role,” Melvin said. “He knew that. We talked about it yesterday, and it also allows you to use him in-game (as a pinch hitter) like we do in more of a leverage situation.”
Pomeranz, who began the season as the A’s long reliever and eventually saw time as a starter, will move back to the bullpen as things currently stand.
“He’s a lefty that allows you to maybe turn the lineup around,” Melvin said. “He’s gotten right-handers out too, and he gives you some length. He’s not a guy you feel like you throw for an inning and then you have to get him out of there. He could be a key piece for us here.”