OAKLAND — The Oakland Athletics are getting back one of their best players just in time for the September stretch run.
In addition, they’re adding some depth to a bullpen that has worked extra hard lately.
The A’s announced two roster moves on Friday, activating center fielder Ramon Laureano from the injured list and calling up reliever J.B. Wendelken from Triple-A Las Vegas. Laureano last played on July 28 and went on the IL three days later due to a stress reaction in his leg.
The return of Laureano should be a huge boost for the A’s. When he went down in July he was one of the hottest players in the majors, batting .392 with a 1.281 OPS for the month. He also racked up eight homers, nine doubles and 18 RBIs in 22 games, and won an American League Player of the Week award for the week ending on July 21.
Even in Laureano’s absence, Oakland got great production out of center field thanks to Mark Canha, who started all but one of the team’s games at the position since the beginning of August. During that time, Canha batted .330 with a .998 OPS, and added six homers and 20 RBIs in 29 games. However, considering Canha’s defensive versatility, there’s room for both him and Laureano in the lineup.
The A’s began Friday by making up the rest of a suspended game from May against the Tigers, but Laureano will wait until the evening’s regularly scheduled full game to make his return. He was in the lineup in May when the contest was called due to the threat of rain, but Canha replaced him on Friday when they resumed play.
The makeup game also means more work for the bullpen, and Oakland responded by calling up Wendelken. Liam Hendriks, who has since become the team’s closer, was on the mound in the seventh inning when the game was called in May. The team, though, is missing setup man Yusmeiro Petit, who is away due to the passing of his father, and rookie A.J. Puk will be unavailable after pitching Thursday night.