What Manny Ramirez brings the A’s

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Here’s was Oakland’s projected lineup two weeks ago:

2B Jemile Weeks – S
CF Coco Crisp – S
LF Seth Smith – L
C Kurt Suzuki – R
RF Josh Reddick – L
3B Scott Sizemore – R
DH Brandon Allen – L
1B Daric Barton – L
SS Cliff Pennington – S

And here’s what it might look like come the end of May:

2B Jemile Weeks – S
LF Coco Crisp – S
RF Seth Smith – L
DH Manny Ramirez – R
CF Yoenis Cespedes – R
C Kurt Suzuki – R
1B Daric Barton – L
3B Scott Sizemore – R
SS Cliff Pennington – S

Of course, that’s far from set in stone. Maybe Cespedes won’t prove ready, and Josh Reddick will be penciled back into right field. Maybe Ramirez decides this whole comeback thing isn’t a good idea after all and returns to the Dominican Republic.

But let’s face it, no major league lineup should have Kurt Suzuki batting cleanup.

I’m not sure what Ramirez has left. With the news that he was joining the A’s, I revised his 2012 projection to .260/.372/.431 with 11 homers and 46 RBI in 304 at-bats, but that’s just a wild guess (as a free agent, I had him projected at .271/.381/.452, but that was for a neutral hitting environment).

The A’s really had nothing to lose by going into the Manny business. It’s not as though the fans could get much more apathetic. Plus, since they’ll be without him for the first 50 games anyway, they’ll still have time to evaluate whether Brandon Allen should be in their plans and take a longer look at Reddick.

I don’t think there’s a whole lot to gain, either, especially considering the going rate for veteran DHs, but the A’s are a little more interesting now and that’s something.

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.