All-Star Break Gives Athletics Time To Heal, Then What?


Oakland Athletics all-stars from left to right third baseman Josh Donaldson (20), catcher Derek Norris (36), left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52), starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija (29), starting pitcher Scott Kazmir (26), relief pitcher Sean Doolittle (62) and first baseman Brandon Moss (37) will be off at the All-Star Game. The 4-day break gives the team time to heal. Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

With the move to put utility infielder Alberto Callaspo on the 15-day disabled list, the Oakland Athletics have a major void in offensive production in the second base slot. The big question the team will faces now is who will get the majority of playing time while Callaspo heals.

Eric Sogard, who was the A’s starting second baseman at the start of the season, is batting a sad and dismal .186 without any pop in his bat with no homeruns. (Last year he hit .266 and had two HRs). This season Sogard has frequently stranded runners and has become an easy out at the bottom of the order.

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Nick Punto isn’t doing much better at .212 and one HR over the 54 games he’s appeared in so far.

Andy Parrino who was called up to replace Callaspo has only had six at-bats over two games back in June where he got one base hit. In 68 games with AAA Sacramento and 13 games for AAA Round Rock in the Texas organization, Parrino combined to hit .284 with seven home runs and 46 RBIs, but that’s AAA.

Callaspo wasn’t much of an offensive threat either before going down with his hamstring injury at .234 even though he started the season fairly hot at .269 and knocking 3 homers in the month of April playing Four different positions – third base, first base, second base and designated hitter.

Needless to say, something still has to be done about getting a second baseman who can hit, field an average grounder and adequately turn two.

The 4-day break not only gives Callaspo time to heal, but others as well.

Yoenis Cespedes is nursing a sore hamstring, but the All-Star break may not give much time for rest since he will be participating in Home Run Derby and the game itself. Don’t be surprised if Cespedes is only used as a pinch-hitter in the Mid-Summer Classic. Coco Crisp is also nursing a sore neck and back and can use the time to rest after being held out the Seattle series.

Josh Reddick who went down with a hyper-extended knee at the end of June, after a previous 3-week stint on the DL earlier that month, is about to begin a rehab assignment for an unknown amount of games. Though he returned somewhat hot after the 3-weeks off going 5-for-11, Stephen Vogt, Brandon Moss and Craig Gentry have split time in right field in Reddick’s absence and have done fantastic at the plate.

The A’s can’t afford to lose Vogt from the line-up but a move will have to be made for Reddick. If the A’s move Nate Frieman who’s hitting a mere .231 back to AAA, they’re left without a right-handed bat while Callaspo and Kyle Blanks are still out.

Blanks is progressing in his rehab for a strained left calf. The first baseman has been taking batting practice in the cage and has resumed taking infield practice.

Left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz has made important strides in recovering from his broken right hand from punching a locker room chair after a poor outing against the Texas Rangers on June 16. Pomeranz, 25, began the season as a reliever, but he got a chance in the rotation when the A’s needed another starter. Luckily – if you want to call it that – the injury was to his non-throwing hand and once he’s able to catch and field, he could be back in the rotation, which leads the A’s to decide on another roster move.

My call; don’t be taken aback if Jesse Chavez is back in the bullpen after going 3-5 with two no decisions and a 3.72 ERA over his last 10 starts, and $10 million mop-up man Jim Johnson who has shown absolutely no signs of improvement with a 6.18 ERA, allowing 28 hits and 22 walks in just 39 innings, gets the long-awaited DFA.