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A's option top prospect Barreto to Triple-A

Catcher Phegley returns from paternity leave
MLB.com

SEATTLE -- In a flurry of moves Saturday, the A's optioned shortstop Franklin Barreto to Triple-A Nashville and designated catcher Ryan Lavarnway for assignment to make room for their starting pitcher on Saturday, Chris Smith, who was added to the roster from Nashville as well as reinstating catcher Josh Phegley from paternity leave.

Barreto, who is the A's top prospect and ninth-best shortstop prospect in MLB, according to MLBPipeline.com, won't likely be in the Minors for long. The 21-year-old struggled in 11 games since being called up for the first time, posting a slash line of .190/.261/.381. However, with second baseman Jed Lowrie in the final year of his contract and a prime candidate to be dealt by the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, Barreto could soon take over regular duty at second base.

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SEATTLE -- In a flurry of moves Saturday, the A's optioned shortstop Franklin Barreto to Triple-A Nashville and designated catcher Ryan Lavarnway for assignment to make room for their starting pitcher on Saturday, Chris Smith, who was added to the roster from Nashville as well as reinstating catcher Josh Phegley from paternity leave.

Barreto, who is the A's top prospect and ninth-best shortstop prospect in MLB, according to MLBPipeline.com, won't likely be in the Minors for long. The 21-year-old struggled in 11 games since being called up for the first time, posting a slash line of .190/.261/.381. However, with second baseman Jed Lowrie in the final year of his contract and a prime candidate to be dealt by the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, Barreto could soon take over regular duty at second base.

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"I thought he did really well," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Barreto. "The batting average, he would like to have a little higher, but [he] impressed right away with his first game. Hit a walk-off in his last game at home, and we know he's going to be a very impactful guy for us.

"He knew what was going on. He knew he was going to be the one going down today. But the conversation I had was great with him. The chore for him the next time he is up here is to stay for good. My guess is that could be the case."

Lavarnway, 29, was signed to a Minor League contract by the A's in the offseason and had .274/.362/.379 line with Nashville this season. He went 0-for-2 in two plate appearances on Friday in his only playing time with Oakland since being called up on Wednesday.

The move was necessary to open up a spot on the 40-man roster for Smith, who is making his first Major League start Saturday at the age of 36. Smith had previously pitched in the big leagues as a reliever. Melvin said he hopes Lavarnway clears waivers and remains with the A's organization.

"It's one of those situations if he gets picked up and he's in the big leagues somewhere, that's great," Melvin said. "But we would (like him back]."

Phegley rejoined the A's in Seattle earlier Saturday after his wife, Jessica, gave birth to their son, Calvin James, on Wednesday at 12:56 a.m.. Calvin shares his birthday with Phegley's Major League debut (July 5, 2013).

"The timing actually worked out really well for us," Phegley said. "I get home [Oakland] tomorrow evening for the All-Star break, so we get a lot of time to spend with him and make sure the whole family is in tact and all that."

Phegley will join fellow backstop Bruce Maxwell in a potential platoon situation. Maxwell, 26, is hitting .300/.373/.400 this season, while the veteran Phegley has a .200/.248/.348 slash line.

Josh Horton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle. He covered the A's on Saturday.

Franklin Barreto