Healy fired up to receive his Texas League championship ring

Healy fired up to receive his Texas League championship ring

MESA, Ariz. — He may be firmly entrenched with the A’s now, but Ryon Healy doesn’t forget his roots.

No one will wear a bigger smile Monday night than Healy, when the A’s 2016 Double-A Midland squad will be honored with rings for winning last year’s Texas League championship. The corner infielder spent just 36 games with the Rockhounds before being promoted to Triple-A and, by the All-Star break, to the majors. But getting reunited with his Midland teammates and receiving the honor means a lot to him.

“I texted the entire coaching staff and even the GM after they won, when I was in the big leagues, and just said, ‘Congratulations, don’t forget about me though. I still want a ring,’” Healy said. “A lot of those guys are in the clubhouse today, and now a lot of them are good friends of mine.”

It’s a large group that will be honored at Hohokam Stadium before the A’s host the Arizona Diamondbacks. There are players currently in major league camp, such as Healy and third baseman Matt Chapman. Many others are being invited over from minor league camp for the ceremony. That includes infielder Franklin Barreto, starting pitcher Daniel Gossett and outfielder Danny Oh, who is actually in uniform for Oakland on Monday night as an extra providing depth on the bench.

“I’m proud of all the guys, and we played for a great manager and coaching staff,” said Oh, who played collegiately at Cal. “For me, it’s going to be my first professional ring, so it’s going to be pretty special for me. Just to do it with the guys I played with all year, it’s just a special thing for us. It’s gonna be a good night.”

A’s manager Bob Melvin does not downplay what Midland has accomplished. The Rockhounds have won three titles in a row, with Ryan Christenson managing the past two. Christenson was promoted to manage Triple-A Nashville this season.

“Three years in a row, that’s pretty good,” Melvin said. “We’ll be out here for that. They should be excited about it, as are we. They know that our organization celebrates the guys that have won, and not only do we look at it at the big league level, but certainly in development. We’ve had a lot of winning here recently, and those are guys we’re expecting to be in the big leagues soon as well.”

A's lineup: Young faces throughout as Athletics start series vs White Sox

A's lineup: Young faces throughout as Athletics start series vs White Sox

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Astros-A's coverage begins at 4 p.m. with Pregame Live on NBC Sports California and streaming right here.

The latest A's youth movement embarks on its first road trip when they visit the south side of Chicago and the White Sox. Manager Bob Melvin has issued his lineup for Game 1 of the series.

Chicago White Sox:
1. Melky Cabrera (S) LF
2. Jose Abreu (R) 1B
3. Avisail Garcia (R) RF
4. Todd Frazier (R) 3B
5. Matt Davidson (R) DH
6. Tim Anderson (R) SS
7. Yolmer Sanchez (S) 2B
8. Kevan Smith (R) C
9. Adam Engel (R) CF
RHP -- Mike Pelfrey 

Oakland A's:
1. Matt Joyce (L) LF
2. Matt Olson (L) RF
3. Jed Lowrie (S) 2B
4. Khris Davis (R) DH
5. Yonder Alonso (L) 1B
6. Ryon Healy (R) 3B
7. Chad Pinder (R) SS
8. Bruce Maxwell (L) C
9. Jaycob Brugman (L) CF
RHP -- Jharel Cotton


New-look A's continue the youth movement with Maxwell's arrival

New-look A's continue the youth movement with Maxwell's arrival

OAKLAND — The A’s set off for Chicago on Thursday evening to begin their next road trip, and how their dynamic has changed over the course of one week.

They began their most recent homestand by cutting ties with veteran third baseman Trevor Plouffe to make room for hotshot prospect Matt Chapman. On Thursday, catcher Stephen Vogt suffered the same fate as Plouffe, getting designated for assignment to make room for another young player in Bruce Maxwell.

The calendar may still read June, with more than half of the season remaining, but the A’s are cleaning house, undergoing a reboot and playing the rest of 2017 with an emphasis on what lies ahead.

Five of the nine position players in their starting lineup for Thursday’s 12-9 loss to the Houston Astros are what you would consider “future” guys — center fielder Jaycob Brugman, third baseman Ryon Healy, second baseman Chad Pinder, Maxwell and right fielder Matt Olson.

They will shuffle around the diamond a bit, and Olson may only stay with the big club until Chapman comes off the disabled list (though Olson’s full-time status in the bigs doesn’t seem far off). Regardless, the plan is crystal clear — the A’s are hitching their wagon to their young core and are prepared to let them develop at the major league level, with whatever successes and failures may come with the growth process.

“We do get excited about giving these guys playing time,” A’s general manager David Forst said before Thursday’s game.

The Astros finished off a four-game sweep of Oakland with their 12-9 victory, jumping out to a 10-0 lead and then holding on after the A’s mounted a late charge. Glance up and down the box score, and those key young players were instrumental in so much that went right for the A’s.

Maxwell went 3-for-4 with an RBI. Olson drove in two runs. Pinder had two hits and an RBI. Brugman chipped in an RBI single and walked twice. That was the silver lining on a day that starting pitcher Jesse Hahn struggled mightily, allowing nine earned runs in just two innings.

“These guys are gonna be important,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “The last thing you want to see when you’re down 10-0 is guys just cash it in, and that wasn’t the case. These guys all have something to play for. They’re playing for jobs. And in the future, starting jobs.”

Sometime in the not-too-distant future, middle infielder Franklin Barreto will join the mix from Triple-A Nashville. For now, an immediate storyline is the health of Chapman, who joined the 10-day disabled list with a case of cellulitis (bacterial infection) in his left knee. The A’s checked him into a hospital Wednesday night to get an intravenous antibiotic, after his condition “plateaued” with oral antibiotics, according to Forst.

He said Chapman is likely to leave the hospital Friday, and the A’s are hopeful the rookie third baseman will be able to return when he’s eligible to come off the D.L. His stint can be backdated to Monday, meaning Chapman is eligible to return next Thursday at Houston.

He’s part of the youth movement that resulted in Vogt getting shown the exit. Maxwell sent Vogt a text message wishing him the best Thursday morning, and Vogt quickly responded, wishing him the best. That meant a lot to Maxwell, who didn’t learn until Thursday morning that his roster spot was coming at Vogt’s expense.

But Maxwell said he’s excited to be surrounded by so many players that he’s advanced through the minors with.

“Once we get everybody acclimated to each other and the game up here,” he said, “I feel like we could potentially set up a turning point for this organization for years to come.”