Programming note: Angels-A’s coverage starts tonight at 6:30 p.m. with A’s Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California (Channel locations)
OAKLAND – Alberto Callaspo is starting to see more time at second base for the A’s, and it would seem possible that the switch hitter continues to see more regular innings there.
Eric Sogard, who has started at second all season against right-handers, is fighting through a tough first two months of the regular season. He enters Friday’s series opener against the Los Angeles Angels hitting .158 (9 for 57) in May, which has dropped his overall average to .188.
On the flip side, Callaspo seems to have regained his stroke recently after going through his own dry spell. A’s manager Bob Melvin commended Callaspo’s ninth inning at-bat Wednesday night against Detroit’s Anibal Sanchez, when Callaspo grounded out but battled during a nine-pitch at-bat that Melvin believed helped drive Sanchez from the game. Joe Nathan relieved him and Josh Donaldson eventually hit a three-run walkoff homer.
Callaspo entered Friday night hiting .319 (7 for 22) over his previous seven games.
“(Sogard) is struggling a little bit,” Melvin said. “It’s not like he’s striking out a ton, but he’s just not getting good contact right now. We’ve seen him get hot before, and sometimes you start pressing a little bit. So an off-day is probably a good thing from time to time.”
Callaspo primarily second base in a platoon last season after being acquired from the Angels in a trade-deadline deal. But this year he’s seen most of his time at designated hitter or first base (against lefties). On Friday, he draws the start at second against Angels right-hander Garrett Richards.
Melvin said there’s a balance between getting a hot bat in the lineup and opting to go with Sogard’s glove since he’s a better fielder at second than Callaspo.
About Sogard, Melvin said: “It’s similar to with (Josh Reddick). When Red is struggling some (hitting), his defense always keeps him in the lineup. When you’re a two-way player you give yourself the opportunity to be in there on a consistent basis.”
Sogard said he’s been working with hitting coach Chili Davis to incorporate his hips more in his swing.
“Early on I was focusing on my hand path, and I think that got me away from using my hips,” he said. “When I was doing that, it wasn’t allowing my hands to really work how they wanted to. Now I’ve got my hips back in my swing and I’m feeling a lot better.”