Oakland Athletics: Matt Chapman returns to the lineup

OAKLAND — Oakland A’s third baseman Matt Chapman was reinstated from the disabled list Tuesday and will bat seventh against the San Diego Padres. Second baseman Franklin Barreto was sent down to Triple-A Nashville.

“It is nice to have him,” manager Bob Melvin said. “We held down the fort nicely without him … but his defense is so good over there that you want to get him back as soon as possible.”

Chapman missed more than two weeks with a hand injury, during which the A’s went 12-4. Chapman has 10 home runs and 26 RBIs this season, but his defense at the hot corner helped make him Oakland’s most valuable player by bWAR at 3.8 before he hurt his hand. He also led the Major Leagues in defensive runs saved before he went down, but is now third, behind Andrelton Simmons and Jose Iglesias.

After he completed several batting practice sessions and played seven innings of a one-game rehab assignment in Double-A Stockton, he was ready to rejoin the team. His arrival allows infielder Jed Lowrie to slide back to second base, where he’d played almost exclusively before Chapman’s setback.

Melvin used Tuesday’s roster move to make a late All-Star case for Lowrie, who did an impressive job filling in for Chapman at third. With two days left for fans to vote, Lowrie ranks fifth among AL second basemen. Still, he could make the roster as a reserve.

Lowrie is on pace to establish career highs in home runs and RBIs. He’s hit 14 home runs and driven in 56 runs so far.

“I can’t say enough about how well Jed Lowrie played at third base,” Melvin said. “Originally I thought he was trying to make the All-Star team as a second baseman, and I definitely think he should make it, but I think to play third may even enhance his chances.”

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Melvin said this was Barreto’s best MLB stint to date despite some inconsistency.

Barreto muscled six extra-base hits, but he also struck out 20 times without drawing a walk. He holds the fourth-worst strikeout rate among non-pitchers in MLB history. Melvin said Barreto is “gonna cut down on strikeouts the more he’s here” and claimed he has the potential to steal 20 bases in addition to hitting for power.

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Starter Andrew Triggs has not progressed in his recovery from a right triceps strain. Melvin said he’s been shut down and will be out for a while.

Daniel Mengden, meanwhile, threw a bullpen session on Tuesday. He suffered a right foot sprain on June 23, but if he feels good enough on Wednesday he could make a rehab start in Triple-A Nashville and be back in Oakland soon.

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