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Key to Profar's improvement? A call to a legend

Second baseman collects 2 hits in return to Texas
April 13, 2019

ARLINGTON -- Jurickson Profar still has friends in high places with the Rangers, the organization he spent his entire career with prior to being acquired by the A's in a trade this past offseason. Among Profar’s pals is future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre, who imparted some hitting advice to

ARLINGTON -- Jurickson Profar still has friends in high places with the Rangers, the organization he spent his entire career with prior to being acquired by the A's in a trade this past offseason.

Among Profar’s pals is future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre, who imparted some hitting advice to the young second baseman when Profar reached out to him this past Sunday.

“I called him and told him, ‘Happy Birthday,'” Profar said, “and I asked him some tips coming to a new team. … I have a good friend in him, and I can always call him and ask him for tips.”

The advice has seemed to pay off immediately for Profar, who was hitting .106 on Sunday but went 4-for-5 with a homer and five RBIs two days later in Baltimore. He hit .400 (6-for-15) with two homers and eight RBIs in the four-game series against the Orioles, raising his season average to .177 entering Friday’s game in Texas.

In Friday's 8-6 win, Profar collected two hits against the Rangers, including an RBI double in the second inning, to raise his average to .197.

“[Beltre] made me feel comfortable,” Profar said. “I just asked him about how he handled himself when he went to a new team, and I asked him about my swing and everything. If I ask him, he always will help. He’s that kind of guy … he told me that he knows that I’m going to do good -- just relax and do my thing.”

Profar was MLB Pipeline’s No. 1 overall prospect in 2013. But he never found a regular spot in the lineup behind infielders Beltre, Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor, and a right shoulder injury and subsequent surgery kept Profar out of the Majors in 2014-15.

Profar finally broke through with the Rangers last season, playing in 146 games at six different positions, plus designated hitter, as a super-utility player. He batted .254 with 20 homers and 77 RBIs in 2018, but he did not have the luxury of being an everyday player at the same position as he does with the A’s now.

“It’s helped me a lot just to concentrate on one position and try to get better there -- it’s better for the mind,” Profar said.

Oakland gave up right-hander Emilio Pagan and a 2019 competitive-balance Draft pick (No. 38 overall) in a three-team trade with Tampa Bay and Texas last December.

Profar said Friday that he stays in almost daily contact with Andrus and Rangers slugger Joey Gallo. But Profar admitted he didn’t even know his way around the visitors' side of Globe Life Park.

“It’s different, the other side of the building, [it was] the first time I’ve gotten to see the visitors’ clubhouse," Profar said. "It was a little different. Never been in there. I had to ask, ‘Where is everything?’ … This was home for a long time.”

A’s hope to welcome Jackson soon

Veteran right-hander Edwin Jackson, whose signing was made official Friday, will go to extended spring training in Arizona and work his way through bullpen sessions before going to Triple-A Las Vegas to make some starts, manager Bob Melvin said Friday. Jackson has pitched for a record 13 Major League teams, including the A’s last season, when he went 6-3 with a 3.33 ERA over 17 starts.

“Hopefully, [we’ll] see him here pretty soon,” Melvin said. “He fits in very well here, not only with the players, but with the coaching staff, too. He’s just a great guy to have, and that’s why he’s been on so many teams, because once a team sees him and gets the scuttlebutt on who he is and how he handles himself, it’s the type of guy you want in your clubhouse, so we’re happy to have him.”