'Big moment' for Neuse as he makes MLB debut

August 31st, 2019

NEW YORK -- Infielder , the Athletics' No. 8 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, made his Major League debut in Oakland's 8-2 victory over the Yankees on Friday night, batting eighth as the designated hitter. He went 0-for-3 with a walk.

Manager Bob Melvin considered putting Neuse at second base, but he wanted him to take baby steps. Neuse, who joined the A's on Thursday in Kansas City, hit .317 with 27 home runs and 102 RBIs for Triple-A Las Vegas this year. It's a turnaround from his 2018 season with Triple-A Nashville, where he hit .263 with five home runs and 55 RBIs.

“I’m getting pitches to hit and not missing them. I’m getting out of the funk as quickly as possible,” Neuse said about this season. “I was trying to be quieter [at the plate] going into his offseason. So far, it has paid off.”

This is the first trip to the new Yankee Stadium for the 24-year-old Neuse, who grew up in Texas. He did attend the old Yankee Stadium as a kid, on a trip that included playing in Cooperstown and then visiting New York City with his family to see the Yankees play.

“[Yankee Stadium] can take it to a new level,” Neuse said. “No matter where it was, it was going to be special. I waited for this day for 20-something years with sacrifices. Not only me, but my family and friends [who also made those sacrifices with me]. So this is a big moment for all of us.”

A second-round pick by the Nationals in 2016, Neuse joined the Athletics organization on July 16, 2017, when he was traded to Oakland with Blake Treinen and Jesus Luzardo for Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson.

The injury front
Third baseman was back in the starting lineup two days after getting hit in the head by a pitch against the Royals. He had a headache, but there were no signs of a concussion, and he entered Thursday’s game in the ninth inning as a defensive replacement.

Chapman said he wasn’t seeing the ball well that day. Usually good at avoiding getting hit by a pitch, Chapman couldn’t dodge an offering from Royals starter .

“[Junis] felt bad. He wasn’t trying to hit me. It just got away from him,” Chapman said. “I feel good. I feel ready to play. Your head is something you don’t want to mess with. So if I wasn’t feeling OK, I would tell them.”

Chapman was nailed with a 90.7 mph pitch that caught the side of his helmet. A’s trainer Nick Paparesta and Melvin immediately came out to check on him, and he was allowed to remain in the game, but he left an inning later and was replaced by Chad Pinder.

• Melvin said will not be activated from the injured list until the Athletics return to Oakland for the seven-game homestand starting Tuesday. Laureano is on the IL because of a right lower leg stress reaction. The center fielder was having a productive season before going on the IL, hitting .284 with 21 home runs, 58 RBIs and a 2.9 WAR.

“He is champing at the bit to get back,” Melvin said. “It's not going to happen until we get home at some point. There is a certain timetable that we have for him. And we are trying to stay disciplined with that. He is doing everything. He is not running every day. He is not playing on the field a lot, but he is hitting, throwing. He is doing as much as he can to stay off his stress reaction.”