Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera hit a bases-clearing double in the seventh inning of Saturday’s win against the Giants, flipping his bat in the process. He did so against reliever Hunter Strickland, the man who memorably drilled Bryce Harper, catalyzing a benches-clearing brawl that resulted in his being suspended six games.
Herrera was pulled aside by veteran teammate Andres Blanco, who pointed out the man Herrera may have offended. Herrera said, via CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury, “I’m sure that some pitchers may find it offensive, but I’m not trying to offend anyone. That’s just the way I am and that’s the way I’m going to play.”
Herrera understands that he may, at some point, rub someone the wrong way and he may have to take a fastball in the ribs. The outfielder said, “Of course, it worries me a little bit. I don’t want to get drilled. But I’m not going to change the way I play. If I get hit, I’m just going to have to rub it.”
Through the end of May, Herrera was batting an uncharacteristic .218/.262/.326, so he hadn’t had many opportunities to meaningfully flip his bat. But along with Saturday’s double, Herrera also homered and doubled twice on Sunday, so he may finally be getting out of his rut.
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.
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.