With Matt Olson back in the fold and first baseman-outfielder Mark Canha coming off of the injured list, the Oakland Athletics have designated veteran first baseman Kendrys Morales for assignment.
Morales, 35, was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in late March for minorleague infielder Jesus Lopez and international slot money. His job was to fill the void left by Gold Glove first baseman Olson, who missed the first month of the season with a broken hamate bone, suffered during the second of two games against the Seattle Mariners in Tokyo.
“With the hand injury like that, sometimes the power takes a little while to come back, but it hasn’t looked like it,” manager Bob Melvin said of Olson, who has now played six games since returning.
Olson, who hit 29 home runs last season, hit his first since returning in a losing effort against the Cleveland Indians on Sunday, is hitting .214, but his hard-hit ball percentage (early goings though it may be) is 66.7%, and his batting average on balls in play is .294. Olson hasn’t everbeen a high-average hitter in the Major Leagues, though (he hit .247 last year). He does now have a home run and a double in 28 at-bats.
“Feel like I’ve been barreling stuff up pretty well since I’ve been back,” Olson said. “My timing is still a little off, but I wouldn’t be out there if I didn’t think I was 100 percent. I feel like my power is there.”
During his time with the A’s, Morales played in 34 games, hitting .204 over 126 plate appearances, with one double, one triple, one home run and seven RBIs.
Canha hit just .200 to start the season, but it was in only 40 at-bats. In 122 games last season, he hit .249 with 22 doubles, 17 home runs adn 52 RBIs, with an OPS of .778. Even with the low average this year, he still had an OPS of .752. Morales’ OPS in 2019 was .569.
After injuring his wrist in Toronto in late April, Canha had a weekend rehab stint in Las Vegas, and went 1-for-8 in two games with a double and three strikeouts.