Will the DH come to the NL in 2012?

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That’s the prediction of Al Yellon of Bleed Cubbie Blue, who looked on aghast as Ubaldo Jimenez cramped up while running the bases in against the Astros last night:

There are millions of dollars invested in pitchers like this,
including Jimenez, who is signed through 2012 with a couple of
relatively inexpensive (for today’s market) club options for 2013 and
2014. And teams don’t want investments like this injured while doing
something that isn’t their primary responsibility — batting or running
the bases.

This is why the designated hitter is, I believe, almost certain to
come to the National League, probably by 2012. It will undoubtedly be a
bargaining chip in the next labor negotiation — the current agreement
expires on December 11, 2011.

I’ve seen this line of reasoning before, but even if I think the DH is going to come to the NL eventually — which I do — it won’t be because of some pitcher injury. It will be because the owners want to get a big financial concession from the players in collective bargaining and, in exchange, they throw the DH — usually a highly-paid roster slot — out there in trade.

I don’t see anything like that on the horizon in 2012.  The primary issues will be the international draft and draft pick slotting, and I don’t think that the players currently hate those things so much that the owners will have to give them the DH in exchange.

As for the pitcher injuries, jeez, man up, get more potassium and have someone massage that crap out after the game.

Three A’s rookies hit their first big league home runs on Saturday

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The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.

Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:

Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:

In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.

The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.

Athletics call up top prospect Franklin Barreto

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The Athletics called up their top prospect on Saturday, inserting shortstop Franklin Barreto into the lineup for their second game against the White Sox. Barreto was originally scheduled to make his major league debut on Sunday, but got a head start after Jed Lowrie sustained a minor knee sprain in Friday’s 3-0 win and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.

Barreto, 21, has been rapidly climbing the rungs of the A’s minor league system after getting dealt by the Blue Jays in 2014. He got his first taste of Triple-A action late last year, going 6-for-17 with three RBI and getting caught stealing in two attempts. He fared little better this spring, slashing .281/.326/.428 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS through his first 309 PA in Nashville.

While his minor league production has been solid, if underwhelming for a prospect of his caliber, the A’s are expected to give the rookie infielder a long leash with both Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder sitting on the disabled list. Pinder landed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain on Friday. Semien, meanwhile, is still working his way back from the 60-day DL with a right wrist fracture and likely won’t rejoin the team until he completes a rehab assignment with High-A Stockton.