Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Blanks has started his rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento, following an injury to his left calf. In his first game with Sacramento on Saturday, Blanks went 1 for 2 with two walks and a run scored in the River Cats’ 2-0 win against Reno.
When Blanks is ready to to return, it would make sense if the A’s send Nate Freiman down to make room for the other tall first baseman. While both typically play first, Blanks is also suited to play some outfield. Being able to play multiple positions is essential to this Oakland squad.
A timetable for his return has not been announced.
Craig Gentry on the other hand is a little further away from a return to Oakland.
The recovery of Craig Gentry is essential to the Athletics moving forward. Gentry is batting .264 this season with a .326 OBP (On-Base Percentage). Sam Fuld has been a nice replacement, there is no denying that. Their stats are very similar, with Fuld batting .258 for the season (.213 with Oakland) and has an OBP of .347 (.284 with Oakland).
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The biggest factor for me, is their base stealing abilities. Again, they are very similar. Sam Fuld has 16 steals on the season, and has only been caught three times.
Craig Gentry on the other hand has swiped 18 bags, and has been caught just once.
Gentry was added for a playoff run. The A’s needed more speed on the bases, and less reliance on the long ball. While both are capable of steeling a base, Gentry’s ability to read the situation, and the pitcher, is just a hair better. In the playoffs, every little bit counts.
Just look at the two home runs the Twins almost hit this series. If Brian Dozier‘s ball was a foot to the right on Thursday, this series could have a much different complexion.