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Chapman makes diving stop in return to lineup

@MartinJGallegos
July 21, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS -- After a brief cameo in Friday night’s 5-3 win over the Twins, Matt Chapman was all the way back in Saturday's 5-4 victory. Chapman’s hiatus from the A’s starting lineup came to an end as he was slotted back into his usual No. 2 spot in the order

MINNEAPOLIS -- After a brief cameo in Friday night’s 5-3 win over the Twins, Matt Chapman was all the way back in Saturday's 5-4 victory.

Chapman’s hiatus from the A’s starting lineup came to an end as he was slotted back into his usual No. 2 spot in the order and went 0-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout. The All-Star third baseman was held out the previous two days with soreness in his left ankle but entered the game on defense in the ninth inning Friday and even got some action on a ground ball hit by Nelson Cruz that he fired over to Matt Olson at first base for the game’s final out.

“He actually came up to me yesterday and told me it would be great if I need to use him,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said before the game. “Got him in there and got the last ground ball of the game.”

It only took one game for Chapman’s defense to make an impact as he made a terrific diving stop at third base to prevent a hit and possible RBI from Nelson Cruz in the eighth that would have put the Twins ahead by two runs.

“That ball gets through, it’s a different game,” Melvin said. “We’ve seen him do that quite often and I don’t know that there’s too many guys that can get to that ball.”

The entire A’s dugout collectively held its breath in the third when Chapman went down in pain after fouling a ball off his left shin, but the third baseman regrouped and stayed in the game.

“I was a little worried there for a minute,” Melvin said. “That was a good one. When you see it hit that hard and go as far as it did, that means it hit pretty square. But it didn’t really hit the ankle, more the shin, and he’s a pretty tough guy.”

Barreto gets a start

Franklin Barreto was supposed to be in line for the majority of starts at second base, but Jurickson Profar’s recent tear of four home runs in five games forced Melvin to play the hot hand over the past few games. Barreto was given the start at second base for Saturday’s game (and went 0-for-3 with a strikeout) as Melvin continues to figure out how to balance the two players at the position.

“We need to get both of them in there,” Melvin said. “At the end of the day, you’re trying to win games and run your best lineup out there. Now it’s Frankie’s chance today. I wouldn’t say there’s an advanced plan, it’s just more feel on a particular day.”

Called up June 30 in the midst of a hot streak at Triple-A Las Vegas, Barreto is still looking to get things going with Oakland, batting .139 with two home runs and four RBIs over 10 games.

Martin Gallegos covers the A's for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MartinJGallegos.