OAKLAND — As they gear up for a dogfight in the American League wild card race, the Oakland Athletics have called up No. 3 prospect Sean Murphy to bolster their roster and to get a look at his development.
Murphy’s contract was selected on Sept. 1, when major league rosters expanded from the 25-man active roster to the full 40-man. He joins a catching corps that includes veterans Josh Phegley and Chris Hermann, and will split time with Phegley as the right-handed starter.
“He’s here for a reason,” said manager Bob Melvin of Murphy. “He’s not just going to sit around. He will get his share of starts too.”
Battling injuries at various points during the 2019 season, Murphy performed well in his 31 games with Triple-A Las Vegas, hitting .308 with a 1.011 OPS. His offensive development is encouraging, considering he profiles chiefly as a defensive backstop whose best tool is his strong arm.
Before Tuesday’s game, Melvin said that Murphy will start one of the next two games against the Los Angeles Angels, as the A’s face two left-handers in Patrick Sandoval and Jose Suarez.
Laureano targeting return in Detroit
Ramon Laureano could return to action as early as Friday, as the Oakland outfielder continues to progress in his rehab from a right shin stress reaction.
With Laureano on the injured list since July 31, the A’s have been disciplined with his recovery, ensuring that their Opening Day center fielder does not exacerbate his injury and develop a stress fracture.
“Our timetable has always been the Detroit series,” Melvin said. “I think we’re going to stick with that. I know he’s eager to play. He was eager to play a week ago, but there’s reasons we’re doing this and we want to make sure he’s healthy.”
Before his injury, Laureano was in the midst of a career year in his first full big league season, slugging 21 home runs and 58 RBIs with an .853 OPS.
“A guy like Ramon Laureano will be a nice addition back into our lineup both offensively and defensively,” Melvin said.
When Laureano returns, the A’s will have a surplus of outfielders, as Mark Canha – a career-high .928 OPS with 23 home runs – and Seth Brown – batting .423 in seven games thus far – have performed well in the absences of Laureano and Stephen Piscotty.
That depth translates to a move to right for Canha once Laureano slots back into center, as Piscotty is still on the mend from a high ankle sprain. Left field will be used as more of a platoon position, depending on matchups.