ST. PETERSBURG -- Wearing a gray polo and blue slacks, with his travel bag slung around his shoulder, slumping A's outfielder Mark Canha departed the visitors' clubhouse at Tropicana Field on Friday with hope despite a difficult situation.Canha, 28, was sent to Triple-A Nashville after hitting .191 and striking out
ST. PETERSBURG -- Wearing a gray polo and blue slacks, with his travel bag slung around his shoulder, slumping A's outfielder Mark Canha departed the visitors' clubhouse at Tropicana Field on Friday with hope despite a difficult situation.
Canha, 28, was sent to Triple-A Nashville after hitting .191 and striking out 33 times in 94 plate appearances this season. To replace him, Oakland called up Jaycob Brugman, who went 0-for-4 and played left field in his Major League debut in a 13-4 loss to the Rays.
The decision did not come as a surprise to Canha.
"I'm a great player," he said. "But when I struggle, that's what happens, always. Always. Since I can remember -- since travel ball -- it's like strikeouts. It's not a mental thing. I'm pretty strong, mentally. I think I get into some habits that are tough for me to break at this point, and that's what it looks like."
On the opposite side, getting the nod was a dream come true for Brugman. Following a combined no-hitter by Nashville on Wednesday, the 25-year-old was busy celebrating with his teammates when he was called into what he thought was going to be a hitters' meeting to over some video and numbers.
But when Brugman sat down in manager Ryan Christenson's office, he quickly realized it was not going to be an ordinary meeting. Then, he got the news that he was heading to the Majors.
"I was in shock," Brugman said, smiling. "It took like 15 seconds and then I started getting a little emotional, and I was just kind of taken aback for a second.
"I felt a lot of gratitude toward the coaching staff. It was really special for them to be the ones to tell me, and I gave them all big hugs."
Oakland manager Bob Melvin said the team expected to bring up Brugman at some point this season after a solid spring that carried over to a .288 average in 33 games with Nashville.
"He showed us quite a bit with the bat in Spring Training," Melvin said. "He gives you a tough at-bat, even against left-handed pitching, and the other thing he can do is play all three outfield spots [while being a] true center fielder."
Despite a third-inning hiccup in the field, when Brugman lost sight of a fly ball by Steven Souza Jr. after it went over the dome's C-ring catwalk and dropped for a triple, the evening was still memorable. It was even more special with several family members, including his parents, wife and two young children, on hand to share the experience.
"It was fun," he said. "Although the score wasn't what we wanted, you've got to take the good out of it. It was all around, I thought, a fun day for me. I hope to have many more."
Though disappointed, Canha admitted he is in need of a reset. Once he works out of the funk, however, he pledges to return.
"I've got to figure it out," he said. "In order for this to work out for me, I have to contribute to this team. I have to be not only a contributor, but a main contributor. I know where I have to be, and I'm not there. I'm not helping.
"To show up once a week, isn't it. That's not how you make it in this league. I'll be back, though. I'll be back, and I plan on being that guy when I come back."
Jeff Odom is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Petersburg.