A's view Maxwell as primary catcher in '18

December 12th, 2017

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- As the A's continue to sort through potential fits among available right-handed-hitting outfielders and lefty relievers, they won't add a catcher to their to-do list -- at least for the time being.

Despite uncertainty surrounding 's future in baseball because of ongoing legal matters, the A's still have him penciled in as their primary catcher for the 2018 season.

Maxwell, 26, is awaiting trial after pleading not guilty to charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct stemming from his Oct. 28 arrest at his Scottsdale, Ariz., home, where he allegedly pointed a gun at a female food delivery driver. A hearing should commence in early 2018, and MLB is expected to conduct an investigation into the matter.

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It helps the A's to have two other catchers on their 40-man roster -- Josh Phegley and -- even if they don't form a perfect platoon.

"We're expecting Bruce to be ready to go for Spring Training and to be with us," A's general manager David Forst said at the Winter Meetings on Tuesday. "I'm not getting involved in the legal side of this, but no one has said anything to me that makes me believe he's not going to be ready to go."

A's manager Bob Melvin, who said he's exchanged text messages with Maxwell since the alleged incident, shared similar feelings, but he also alluded to a different ending.

"You know, the process is still playing out," Melvin said. "So I really can't speak of what the timeliness of that will be. Hopefully, we can get past this, and he moves on and comes to Spring Training with this behind him, but I'm not sure that's going to be the case.

"Just trying to do the best he can to stay positive. It's an unfortunate incident, and he made a mistake. Hopefully, he can get past that."

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The spotlight has found Maxwell on more than one occasion during his rookie year: In September, he became the first Major League player to kneel during the national anthem to protest racial injustice.

On the field, he hit .237 with three home runs and 22 RBIs while reaching base at a .329 clip in 76 games.