OAKLAND — The last time Oakland Athletics second baseman Jed Lowrie played third base was for three innings last season, during a game in which Matt Chapman was ejected. He hasn’t taken any grounders there this season, and he’s starting there on Saturday.
Lowrie found out on Friday night, when he was told by manager Bob Melvin that he’d have to man the hot corner in place of the injured Matt Chapman, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Saturday morning.
“For a guy that has a chance to make an All-Star team this year, when I brought it up to him, he was, ‘Let’s do it,'” Melvin said. “He’s doing the best he can for his team, and it’s really admirable, for really even no questions. Just, ‘Whatever you need me to do.'”
“I haven’t done the reps, so just try to acclimate as quickly as possible,” Lowrie said. “It’s a different position, everything about it.”
Chapman was taken out of Thursday’s game in the seventh inning when pain and swelling in his right hand was too much for him to continue. It’s the same hand — and possibly the same injury — that’s bothered him since the end of the 2017 season, and cost him several weeks in spring training. He will see Dr. Steven Shin — who looked at the hand during spring training — on Monday to be evaluated.
While he’s out, Lowrie will man third. The last time Lowrie played third regularly was in 2015 for Houston — 47 games, for 381 1/3 innings. The angles and even the throwing motion will be different, and it’s something he’ll have to get used to quickly.
“When you take ground balls every day at one position, your body gets used to it,” Lowrie said. “You’re using the same muscle group every day. It’s just different.”
Top prospect Franklin Barreto — who was called up last night from Triple-A Nashville — will take over for Lowrie at second. Chad Pinder will sub in at third as needed.
“It’s a nice opportunity for him, too,” Melvin said. “This has been our top prospect or one of them for years now, and he’s still only 22-years old. The times he’s been here, he’s not gotten the opportunity to play almost every day.”
Barreto has just six Major League at-bats this year — with no hits — and hasn’t had more than two at-bats in a big league game in 2018. In 11 consecutive games last season — his first Major League action — he went 8-for-42. He finished 14-for-71 in 25 games.
“This’ll be a nice opportunity for him, so I’d like to see him get off to a good start,” Melvin said. “He’s a very talented player, and it’s the first time he’s gotten this type of opportunity. I know he’s excited about it.”
Barreto was slated to bat ninth on Saturday, but Melvin said in the future, once he’s up for good, he’s a top-of-the-lineup hitter, leading off or at No. 2.
Despite his hand injury, Chapman was taking grounders — without throwing — on Saturday morning before the A’s game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
“It’s swinging the bat that’s the issue,” Melvin said. “He just wants to stay current defensively, and we don’t know the timetable yet. If it is just 10 days, he wants to be as ready as he possibly can.”
Starter Trevor Cahill (calf) played catch on his knees on Friday, but is still in a walking boot.
Brett Anderson (right shoulder strain) threw a 30-pitch bullpen on Saturday, using all of his pitches.
“We’ll take a look at his schedule right now, for when his rehab starts,” Melvin said. “It’d be nice to get him back working, too.”
Outfielder Matt Joyce (back) took batting practice on Friday, and will start his rehab assignment on Monday. He ran the bases on Saturday.