Muncy hoping to develop versatility at winter ball
Infielder expected to get work in outfield with Guadalajara-based club
ANAHEIM -- Already adequate at both corner infield positions, Max Muncy plans to further diversify his defensive skillset and, in turn, increase his value to the A's with a winter ball stint in Mexico beginning next week.
A second baseman through high school, Muncy will not only attempt to relearn the position, but take on outfield duties with the Guadalajara-based Charros de Jalisco.
"It's kind of how the A's do things, they want everyone to be versatile," Muncy said. "Just looking at the lineup this year, everyone's pretty much been playing different positions than they're used to, and if I actually hadn't moved to third, I probably wouldn't have gotten called up this year. Hopefully I can learn these positions and then stick next year."
Muncy brought the idea to the A's, who had already discussed having him play winter ball in an effort to get him more at-bats before year's end. Between Triple-A Nashville (212) and Oakland (101), Muncy had totaled just 313 at-bats entering Wednesday.
"Not what I'm used to. I'm used to getting 500-600 at-bats," said Muncy, who will get 150-200 more during his expected six-week stay in Guadalajara. "From what people have told me, they throw a lot of offspeed in that league, especially to American players, so I feel like that'll be good for me. I've always been a good fastball hitter, not a very good offspeed hitter, so I think it'll be a good opportunity for me to get better at that."
The A's Minor League defensive coordinator, Juan Navarrete, will manage the Charros, allowing Muncy the opportunity to work with a familiar face who can also help him expand his Spanish vocabulary.
"It's terrible," Muncy said, smiling. "I can say, 'Hello,' and that's about it."
• Catcher Carson Blair underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and is expected to be ready by Spring Training, the A's announced Wednesday.
• A's manager Bob Melvin said Tyler Ladendorf has been slowed by a lingering left wrist injury for several weeks, which explains his limited game action. He's getting better, though, and could get some at-bats during this weekend's three-game series in Seattle, according to Melvin.