Amid a rough stretch to end the regular season, the A’s might be receiving an emotional boost just in time for the postseason.
Chad Pinder was reinstated from the injured list and went 1-for-3 in Sunday’s 6-2 win over the Mariners at the Coliseum. Not only does Pinder’s return provide the A’s a valuable right-handed bat with the ability to play all around the infield or outfield, he also brings back leadership -- something that took a hit after he hit the IL and star third baseman Matt Chapman underwent season-ending hip surgery earlier this month.
“We’ve missed him,” A's manager Bob Melvin said prior to Sunday's game. “He’s obviously a huge personality in our room. He’s always prepared and buys in. There’s a lot of leadership that comes from him. It’s nice to have him back.”
Oakland optioned right-hander James Kaprielian to make room on the active roster for Pinder, who entered Sunday's game as a pinch-hitter in the third inning and remained as the designated hitter, hitting a clutch game-tying single in the fifth.
“When you’re out that long and to be that balance, taking splits in the dirt, I was really surprised,” Melvin said. “It was good that we got him multiple at-bats, and I feel better about where we’re going with him. I think he’ll be full-go once the postseason starts.”
Pinder said his experience coming off the bench often as Oakland’s super utility man helped him quickly settle in after missing 15 games.
“The last two days, I was lucky enough to get a few at-bats each day before batting practice,” Pinder said. “I was able to see some pitches. Typically, in my role coming off the bench, you learn how to keep things simple, so when you go into games, you simplify things."
Melvin has been pleased with how the left-handed-hitting Jake Lamb has handled the bulk of the playing time at third base since signing with Oakland on Sept. 14. But with the right-handed-hitting Pinder back, he and Lamb will likely platoon at third base in the Wild Card Series, which begins Tuesday at the Coliseum.
“When a right-hander starts, he’s usually our biggest weapon off the bench once the other side goes to a left-hander,” Melvin said. “I plan on being able to start him on the field [in the postseason] when we see a left-hander.”