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Fuld making future roster decision difficult

OAKLAND -- The clock might be ticking on Sam Fuld's stay in Oakland, but the reserve outfielder is giving the A's coaching staff plenty to think about.

On Friday, manager Bob Melvin said that outfielder Craig Gentry (back) could join the big league club early next week when the team is in Minnesota. Entering the season, it seemed that Fuld would be the odd man out once Gentry is fit to play, since both players are speedy, slick defenders who bring energy to the lineup.

But Fuld has gone 3-for-9 with a pair of triples in two contests, catching the eye of Melvin in the process.

"I knew he was a good player," Melvin said. "But he's probably an even better player than I thought. He does a lot of things that don't show up in the box score."

Asked if the team would consider keeping Fuld and Gentry to back up the starting trio of Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp and Josh Reddick, Melvin said, "We'll deal with that."

On Thursday night, Fuld tried to leg out an inside-the-park home run after Seattle center fielder Abraham Almonte misplayed a low line drive in the fifth inning, allowing it to roll to the wall. For the first 270 feet, Fuld was going strong. Then he rounded third, and his legs gave out.

"I didn't expect that refrigerator to jump on my back for that last 90 feet there," Fuld said. "I was spent for, really, the whole game afterwards. My legs were pretty dead."

After a solid relay by the Mariners, Fuld was out at the plate, but he still drove Nick Punto home and provided a spark to the A's, who went on to win, 3-2, in 12 innings. Considering the four triples Fuld posted during Spring Training, he's made a habit of three-base hits to start his A's career.

"Definitely getting my exercise in," Fuld said. "Just one of those weird things."

At the age of 32, Fuld is proving that he can still produce at the big league level. But will he stay in Oakland? The first decision comes next week when Gentry makes his expected return, and Fuld can opt out of his contract on June 1 if he's not on a big league roster.

"In my situation, you just make the most of your opportunities," Fuld said. "You never know how many more you're going to get. Obviously, you just try to control what you can control, and that's how you play."

Alex Espinoza is a contributor to
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