OAKLAND -- For A's slugging prospect Matt Olson, a slight tinker with his hands has made the difference between back-to-back 17 home run seasons from 2015-16 and his 14 homers in just 47 games for Triple-A Nashville this year.Olson had been tucking his hands behind his body, forcing him to
OAKLAND -- For A's slugging prospect Matt Olson, a slight tinker with his hands has made the difference between back-to-back 17 home run seasons from 2015-16 and his 14 homers in just 47 games for Triple-A Nashville this year.
Olson had been tucking his hands behind his body, forcing him to over-rotate his upper body to get to the ball. He said it was leaving him susceptible to pitches he thought he should be hitting. The switch was initiated after a late-season discussion with A's hitting coach Darren Bush.
"I'm getting to a better position and have a better bat path right now because of it," Olson said. "It's about getting to a point where I'm not cutting myself off to have a clear path to the ball. I'm holding my hands out a little further this year, and it's giving me more of a clear path to everything."
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Olson joined Oakland Sunday and drew a bases-loaded walk in a pinch-hit appearance in the ninth inning against the Nationals, getting his first big league RBI. This is his second stint in the Majors this season after spending six days with the A's in April, going 0-for-3 in his only game action.
A's manager Bob Melvin said that the callup was "reward" for Olson's great start in Nashville, where he's hit .285 with a .949 OPS. Olson agrees with Melvin's assessment.
"I would say this feels a little more earned of a callup as opposed to earlier in the year," Olson said. "Whenever you get a chance to get called up, it's a good feeling."
The A's intend to fit Olson's bat into the lineup wherever they can, perhaps putting him at corner outfield spots for the time being. But for Olson, the adjustments he's made has him feeling like his swing and his power coming together naturally.
"The way I'm feeling right now, I feel like I have that easy power back, where I don't have to generate it myself," Olson said. "The main thing is I'm putting myself in a good position to hit every time and I'm getting in a balanced position."
• Shortstop Marcus Semien (wrist) continues to rehab, taking swings off of a tee with a fungo bat. But Melvin tempered any expectations for a return before July, saying, "June's probably going to be tough."
• In his second rehab appearance at Class A Advanced Stockton, A's left-hander Sean Doolittle (shoulder) struck out the side in a 14-pitch inning on Monday night.
Alex Simon covers the Athletics for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @alexsimon99.