OAKLAND — A day after 27-year-old career minor leaguer Seth Brown made his Oakland Coliseum debut, highly touted catching prospect Sean Murphy will do the same, starting behind the plate, catching Tanner Roark for the Athletics on Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Angels.
In some respects, Murphy’s major league debut is overdue. The A’s No. 3 prospect as he has carved up major league competition – hitting for a .308 batting average and 1.011 OPS with Triple-A Las Vegas.
“We figured he might be here earlier than September,” said manager Bob Melvin, “but he had some injuries that precluded that. He’s had a great year leading up. He’s finally here.”
A former catcher in his playing days, Melvin raved about Murphy’s attributes both as a defensive backstop and as a developing offensive contributor.
“I like everything about him,” Melvin said. “He hits for power. He takes his defense seriously. He frames really well. He’s got a really good throwing arm. He loves being the quarterback and leading the way.”
Despite seeing limited playing time in the minors this season because of knee injuries — needing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and then incurring some scar-tissue tears later in the season — he A’s are confident that Murphy is ready to contribute now.
“He’s been studying hard here the last couple games,” Melvin said. “It’s not something that he takes lightly. We had him sit and talk with Tanner a little bit last night, knowing that he was going to play today. He’ll be ready to go.”
Melvin looks ahead to Friday doubleheader
The A’s will play two games against the Detroit Tigers on Friday as they resume a game suspended on May 19 before kicking off a proper three-game series.
In the suspended game, Chad Pinder hit third with Matt Olson in the six-hole, while Liam Hendriks was the last pitcher to appear before the contest was cut short.
“It’s funny to see the lineup,” Melvin said. “It’s something that you don’t often come up against.”
With over three months having passed since the start of the game, Melvin took the opportunity to reflect on how his squad has changed.
“Your closer’s in the seventh inning,” Melvin said of Hendriks. “You look at how far he’s come. That was kind of the beginning of the ascent for him.”
Bassitt start pushed to Saturday
Chris Bassitt will get an extra day for his turn through the rotation after he and his wife Jessica had a baby girl, Landry, on Wednesday.
Brett Anderson and Homer Bailey will start on Thursday and Friday respectively, while Bassitt will get the nightcap on Saturday.
Bassitt’s delayed outing figures to be just one of a few rotation decisions Melvin will have to make down the stretch as the A’s now possess exceptional starting pitching depth – six viable starters for five spots – with the return of Sean Manaea on Sunday.