Barreto hopes to seize opportunity in bigs
ANAHEIM -- Franklin Barreto has been in search of his shot to get consistent playing time in the Majors, and his recent callup might finally present that opportunity.
With Stephen Piscotty on the 10-day injured list after injuring his right knee in Saturday’s 4-0 win over the Angels, Barreto was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas and immediately inserted into the starting lineup at second base for Sunday’s game at Angel Stadium.
In the past, most of Barreto’s Major League stints have seen him get limited playing time. He was recalled from Triple-A and sent back down six times in 2018, never getting more than a couple of days in a row as a starter and ending the year with a .233 batting average in 32 games. After joining the A’s on Sunday batting .296 with 12 home runs, 24 doubles, five triples and 48 RBIs in 73 games at Las Vegas, while slashing .358/.398/.698 in his last 40 games, Oakland manager Bob Melvin said the club will look to get Barreto some playing time in order to keep his strong run at the plate going.
“After getting off to a bit of a slow start, he’s been on a real hot streak,” Melvin said. “We’re going to let him play today, and we’ll see where it goes and see the configuration when we get home. Who’s going to play right field and how we’re going to deploy the guys we have here right now. It was the right thing to do to get him in there today.”
Barreto struggled at the plate in April as he hit just .205 and racked up 33 strikeouts. He said the issue was his stance, which became a bit too closed and produced more swings and misses. Triple-A hitting coach Eric Martins pointed out the flaw and worked with him to open up his legs a bit more in the box, and the correction has led to his recent tear at the plate.
“I was almost crossed with my legs,” Barreto said. “I spread my legs out more and started seeing the ball better. I’ve been more consistent and feel good. This is the most comfortable I’ve been at the plate.”
It wasn’t too long ago that Barreto appeared destined for big league stardom. Winning championships throughout the Minors with current A’s stars like Matt Chapman and Matt Olson, Barreto was considered the best hitter of the trio and ranked as the A’s top hitting prospect for 2016 and '17. He’s had the talent to get an everyday shot, but whether it was Jed Lowrie in previous years or Jurickson Profar this season, there has always been an established big leaguer blocking Barreto’s path.
Now back with Oakland having improved his versatility by playing some outfield at Triple-A, Barreto will give the A’s new options to get him in the order.
“For a little guy, he’s got a ton of power, he’s probably our fastest guy now,” Melvin said. “A few years ago, this was our top prospect. Now it looks like he’s going to get some games here. He’s a pretty dynamic player. I hope he gets off to a good start, because he could really add to our lineup.”
Davis out again
Khris Davis was held out of the starting lineup for a third straight game with his left hand contusion, but Melvin said the slugger felt much better on Sunday and he could be available to come off the bench for a pinch-hit appearance. With a day off on Monday, Davis has a good chance to return to the lineup on Tuesday when the A’s return home for the start of a three-game series with the Twins.
"We feel a little bit better about him being in the lineup on Tuesday,” Melvin said. “He’s making some progress.”
Treinen to pitch in Las Vegas
Blake Treinen will pitch at Triple-A Las Vegas on Monday as he works his way back from a right shoulder strain. If all goes well, the A’s closer should be activated off the IL when eligible on Wednesday.