A's not rushing Barreto despite Semien's injury: 'That time is not now'

A's not rushing Barreto despite Semien's injury: 'That time is not now'

OAKLAND — The long-term wrist injury to shortstop Marcus Semien does not mean the A’s will rush top prospect Franklin Barreto to the majors.

Semien will be sidelined into June at least after he undergoes surgery Tuesday to repair a fractured scaphoid bone in his wrist. But A’s general manager David Forst said that doesn’t mean Barreto’s timetable at Triple-A Nashville gets accelerated.

“He has all of 59 at-bats at Triple-A,” Forst said Monday afternoon. “Let’s be fair to the kid and let him get the development he needs. When the right time comes, we’ll consider it. But that time is not now.”

Barreto, 21, has impressed enough in major league spring camp to suggest his time is coming very soon. He spent the large majority of last season with Double-A Midland, and the A’s want him to log more time with Nashville and continue to play innings at both shortstop and second base.

He entered Monday’s play hitting .310 with two homers and eight RBI in 11 games with Nashville. Worth noting, he’s struck out 15 times in 42 at-bats, more than one-third of the time. He’s committed one error, having played eight games at short and three at second.

Shortstop has been Barreto’s primary position in professional baseball, though some scouts feel he’s better suited for second base long term.

Forst was asked how long he thinks Barreto needs at Triple-A.

“It’s hard to say,” he responded. “It’s not science, it’s an art, knowing when a player is ready. We’ve had enough guys come through that they’ll tell you when they’re ready. You look at what Healy did last year, his performance told us when he’s ready. You hope that the player forces your hand and says it’s time.”

The A’s current plan is for Adam Rosales to get the majority of time at short with Chad Pinder also seeing some time there.

 

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Astros' sweep of once-hot A's

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USATSI

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Astros' sweep of once-hot A's

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND — Under some circumstances, a 4-4 homestand against the Yankees and Astros wouldn’t seem so bad for the A’s.

This wasn’t the way they would have preferred it however.

After sweeping New York in four at the Coliseum, the A’s proceeded to drop four in a row to Houston, including Thursday's 12-9 loss, making this an historic stay at home whether they wanted it that way or not. Only one other time in the past 106 years had the A’s played back-to-back four-game series and swept the first while being swept in the second.

The first time it happened was in September 1977, when they were swept by Texas before taking the broom to Kansas City.

Thursday’s contest got out of hand early, with the Astros jumping out to a 10-0 lead by the second inning before Oakland came roaring back late.

Jesse Hahn (3-5) was out of whack from his first batter and lasted just two innings, getting hammered for a career-high 10 runs (nine earned) and allowing two home runs.

On the same day Oakland designated Stephen Vogt for assignment, another noteworthy former Athletic enjoyed a huge day against his old team as Josh Reddick finished just a single short of the cycle and scored four runs.

But the A’s came alive for a six-run rally in the eighth to close to within 12-9 and make the Astros sweat it.

But Oakland wound up falling a season high-tying 11 games under .500 at 31-42. A six-game road trip is up next to play the White Sox and, once again, the Astros, who ran their winning streak at the Coliseum to 10 and have won 15 of their past 16 against the A’s.

Short day for Hahn: It was clear early that Hahn didn’t have his ‘A’ game. He hit George Springer with a 3-1 pitch to begin the game — Springer exited with a left hand contusion — then walked the next two batters to load the bases with no outs. He limited the damage to two runs in the first, but the Astros poured it on for eight runs in the second, including three-run homers from Jake Marisnick and Marwin Gonzalez.

Maxwell returns with strong game: With Vogt designated for assignment, Bruce Maxwell was promoted to assume catching duties alongside Josh Phegley, and Maxwell enjoyed a 3-for-4 day, including an RBI double as the A’s rallied in the eighth.

The other new arrival also shines: Matt Olson, also called up Thursday as Matt Chapman went on the 10-day disabled list, went 2-for-3 with two RBI.

Reddick has big day: Reddick doubled in the second, homered in the sixth and tripled in the eighth, but didn’t get a chance to complete the cycle against his former club.

Smith steadies things on mound: : Josh Smith took over after Hahn left the game and threw three scoreless innings, striking out four and keeping manager Bob Melvin from having to empty his bullpen.

Vogt knew ahead of time that A's tenure was coming to end

Vogt knew ahead of time that A's tenure was coming to end

OAKLAND — What an emotional nine innings it must have been for Stephen Vogt on Wednesday night.

Before that game, A’s general manager David Forst sat down with Vogt and broke the news that he would be designated for assignment, essentially ending the catcher’s four-year tenure in green and gold.

Vogt kept the news to himself as the A’s took the field against the Astros, not wanting to be a distraction to his teammates. It wasn’t until Thursday morning that the A’s publicly announced the move to cut ties with Vogt, who arrived in a low-profile trade from Tampa Bay as journeyman in 2013 and proceeded to etch out an unlikely legacy for himself in an Oakland uniform.

“It’s just one of those things I kind of felt coming for a while, but obviously it’s never easy,” Vogt said in a media conference call Thursday morning. “It’s something I understand. I don’t like it, but I understand how the game works. It hit (his wife) Alyssa and I very hard. It’s a place we love, (where) we grew up together and watched our family grow, not only as family but a team and an organization.”

The A’s called up Bruce Maxwell from Triple-A Nashville on Thursday morning to share the catcher’s job with Josh Phegley, the latest move to signal the youth movement the front office is ushering in. That led to Vogt being designated for assignment. The A’s have seven days to trade or release him, though it’s very possible another team claims him off waivers first and assumes what’s left of his $2.9 million salary for 2017.

Vogt addressed reporters after Wednesday night’s game without dropping a hint of the news he’d been given earlier in the day. Many teammates stuck around late after the game to say their goodbyes, and others were texting him Thursday morning.

Vogt, an enormously popular player with fans who earned two All-Star nods with the A’s and delivered a walk-off hit in a 2013 postseason game against Detroit, was the second longest-tenured Athletic after reliever Sean Doolittle. He and the other veterans are well aware of the A’s willingness to cut ties with franchise cornerstones if it means giving a chance for a younger player.

Still, the sadness was apparent in Vogt’s voice as he addressed reporters.

“They’re moving on. No ill will toward them or harsh feelings,” he said. “It’s part of the business. I beat the odds. I stuck around for four years. I got my degree, so to speak, in Oakland.”

Manager Bob Melvin forged a tight relationship with Vogt, both because of his own background as a catcher and the kind of person Vogt was and what his leadership meant to the A’s.

“For a guy that was a career minor leaguer for a while, once he got here, he took advantage of the opportunity to be in the big leagues as well as anybody I’ve seen,” Melvin said. “He definitely made an impact here, not only with us in the clubhouse, but the media, the fans, everybody.”

Forst praised Vogt, saying “no one exemplifies the spirit and heart of those playoff teams we had more than Stephen.”

Forst also commended Vogt for all of his community and charity work. But Forst referenced the other moves the A’s have made with an eye toward the future.

“It was emotional and he was disappointed, but he wasn’t surprised,” Forst said. “I don’t think anyone on this call here, or who was watched how the season has gone, would be surprised by this.”

Vogt hit just .217 with four homers and 20 RBI in 54 games this season, and he also struggled throwing base stealers out, to the point that the right-handed hitting Phegley was beginning to draw more starts against right-handed starters.

“I struggled with some things mentally on my own,” Vogt said. “I wasn’t mentally strong enough, focusing on results more so than how I felt. That led down kind of a negative path. I know I’ll catch on with somebody else and turn this thing around.”

Infielder Adam Rosales, who has played alongside Vogt over two separate stints with the A’s, took the news hard.

“For me, it’s a sad day,” Rosales said. “To see a guy like Stephen Vogt go, obviously he’s a great baseball player. But I think more important for me, the intangibles he brought to the organization, the leadership skills, the things he taught me on and off the field. He’s just a good example to everybody. He brought life into the organization.”