Athletics

Frustrated with fan over foul ball, Matt Chapman explains why he made amends

Frustrated with fan over foul ball, Matt Chapman explains why he made amends

SEATTLE — Matt Chapman made amends with a fan sitting along the third-base line Sunday after getting bent out of shape that the fan interfered with his pursuit of a foul ball.

The episode happened during the bottom of the seventh, with the A’s third baseman not hiding his frustration that the fan went for the ball as Chapman was reaching over trying to catch it in foul territory in a 10-2 loss to the Mariners. It all turned out well in the end, with Chapman eventually making a point of going back over to the fan after the inning and handing him a ball to keep as a souvenoir. The fan, decked out in a gold A’s jersey and backwards A’s hat, was one of the few Oakland fans sitting in that section among a sea of Mariners fans at Safeco Field.

“He was an A’s fan after all. I don’t want to lose a fan,” Chapman said after the game, stressing that the fan had every right to try for the ball since it was in foul territory.

The rookie has shown a propensity to race full-bore after any foul ball that might be within the realm of possibility to catch. He reached into the stands with an extended a back-handed attempt on this particular pop-up in the seventh. The fan went for it at the same time and neither caught it.

Chapman stared at the fan and kept eye contact for a second as he continued to turn and walk back toward his position. Afterward, he was apologetic, saying that that was just another incident contributing to the frustration of an 0-6 road trip.

“Obviously I was a little frustrated,” Chapman said. “I kind of snapped a little bit, but then I gave him the ball and realized obviously it’s not his fault. I was just out there competing and obviously you get emotional sometimes.”

Chapman said he could tell from the look on the fan’s face that he felt bad too.

“We both kind of said sorry. He doesn’t need to get stared down by me.”

Could Franklin Barreto get a look in center field for A's?

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USATI

Could Franklin Barreto get a look in center field for A's?

Don’t count out top prospect Franklin Barreto as a possibility for the A’s in center field.

It’s long been speculated that the middle infielder might eventually get a look in center, and the idea has at least been discussed in team circles. It’s tied partially to whether the A’s exercise their $6 million club option on Jed Lowrie and bring him back as their regular second baseman in 2018.

Regardless, the battle to be Oakland’s everyday center fielder will be one of the A’s most intriguing storylines next spring. Grady Fuson, a special assistant to general manager David Forst who spends much of the season evaluating the team’s farm system, discussed several of the team’s center field options in the latest A’s Insider Podcast.

So much revolves around the health of 22-year-old Dustin Fowler, one of three prospects the A’s received from the Yankees for Sonny Gray. He’ll spend the winter continuing to rehab from a devastating knee injury suffered in his very first major league game in June while still with New York.

The A’s are hopeful he’ll be ready for spring training and believe he can be a solution in center.

“Fowler certainly is the guy we made this trade for, and I think everybody, top to bottom, in the system is counting on him taking that spot,” Fuson said. “But we all know he’s been hurt. How he comes back, who knows? Boog (Powell’s) been doing a very good job for us. And there’s other options.”

The 21-year-old Barreto, who has split time between second and short this season at Triple-A and with the big club, played some center in the Venezuelan Winter League in 2015. He’s always talked with enthusiasm about the idea.

The A’s experimented with another highly touted young infielder, Yairo Munoz, in center field in the minors this season.

“(We’ve) had discussions about taking Munoz out there, which we’ve done,” Fuson said. “We’ve had discussions about maybe Franklin Barreto, depending on what happens at second here at end of the year, over the winter, and early in camp.”

Lowrie has enjoyed a very strong season with Oakland, and A’s executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane has said the team is seriously considering picking up his option. Having Barreto be an option in center could be a way to keep him in the majors in 2018 even if Lowrie returns at second base.

Fuson stressed that the idea of Barreto in center hasn’t advanced past the early-discussion phase. No decisions have been made.

What’s interesting is that, in a short time, the A’s have gone from scarce few center field options to suddenly having several. Powell and Fowler may enter the spring as front runners, but Munoz, Jaycob Brugman, Chad Pinder, Jake Smolinski and, perhaps, Barreto may all have a shot too.

The A’s also used their first-round pick in June on high school center fielder Austin Beck, who represents another option down the road.

Bob Melvin provides update on Bruce Maxwell after 'pretty good shot' to face

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USATSI

Bob Melvin provides update on Bruce Maxwell after 'pretty good shot' to face

A's catcher Bruce Maxwell has a history with foul tips and concussion concerns, so there was cause for concern after he took a direct shot during Wednesday's game against the Tigers.

With one out in the ninth inning, Tigers shortstop fouled a ball square into Maxwell's facemask. The A's catcher immediately fell backwards. As manager Bob Melvin and the team trainer checked on him, he appeared dazed and rubbed his eyes. In an attempt to try to stay in the game, reliever Liam Hendriks tossed two warmup pitches. Maxwell missed the first one, but even after he caught the second one, it was clear he wasn't right and was removed from the game.

Afterwards, Melvin was asked about Maxwell's status.

"He went through all the protocol. It doesn't look like a concussion at this point. We'll probably know more in the next couple of days," Melvin told reporters in Detroit. "Took a pretty good shot. More sore on his face because of where the impact was, which was right in the middle of his face."

Josh Phegley replaced Maxwell for the final two outs of the game. Hendriks managed to close out the 3-2 win for the A's.