UPDATE: Athletics reacquire catcher Kurt Suzuki from Nationals

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Undoing a trade made a year ago, the A’s have acquired Kurt Suzuki from the Nationals for pitching prospect Dakota Bacus.

Amanda Comak of the Washington Times was the first with the news Thursday night.

With Oakland’s No. 1 (John Jaso), No. 2 (Derek Norris) and No. 4 (Luke Montz) catchers all on the shelf, the A’s needed to find someone to share time with Stephen Vogt. Suzuki makes perfect sense as a stopgap, even though he’s hit just .223/.284/.311 in 251 at-bats for the Nationals this year. He spent six years with the A’s until being dealt last August, and he’s familiar with several of their pitchers.

When the A’s traded Suzuki a year ago, it was primarily a salary dump, and the Nationals wanted him because Wilson Ramos was out with a torn ACL. Ramos had since displaced Suzuki, rendering him expendable once again. Suzuki will be a free agent at season’s end. His $8.5 million club option is sure to be declined, leaving him with a $650,000 buyout.

The ironic twist in this is that the Suzuki acquisition will cost David Freitas his chance to join the A’s, at least for now. Freitas was the prospect the A’s got from the Nationals for Suzuki last year, and he was in line for the callup should Norris go on the DL with his fractured toe.

Bacus, 22, was Oakland’s ninth-round pick in the 2012 draft. He was 9-5 with a 3.56 ERA and a 90/38 K/BB ratio in 121 1/3 innings for low Single-A Beloit this season. He wasn’t considered one of Oakland’s top 8-10 pitching prospects.

Indians hitting coach Van Burkleo opts out due to COVID-19

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CHICAGO — Cleveland Indians hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo has opted out of the 2020 season due to concerns about contracting the COVID-19 virus.

Team President Chris Antonetti said Friday that Van Burkelo had been contemplating his departure for some time because of a personal high-risk condition and for his family. The Van Burkleos have a special needs child.

Antonetti said the challenges of traveling and the lack of room in road ballparks may have been the tipping point for the 57-year-old Van Burkleo, who is in his eighth season with the club. He had been under fire for Cleveland’s early offensive struggles.

“We are fully supportive of Ty’s decision,” Antonetti said, adding Van Burkleo remains employed by the team. “He’ll continue to provide support remotely and contribute any way he can from home.”

Antonetti said Alex Eckelman will join the staff to assist Victor Rodriguez and Justin Toole working with the Indians hitters.

Antonetti said the team spoke with all its coaches and staff before the season about working amid the inherent risks from the coronavirus. He said Van Burkleo was committed, but that the wear and tear of the protocols, particularly on the road, may have made it impossible for him to feel safe.

Van Burkleo’s departure further complicates several issues with the Indians’ coaching staff.

Manager Terry Francona will miss his sixth straight game Friday while addressing a gastrointestinal issue he’s combated for months. The 61-year Francona did not make the trip to Chicago and it’s not yet known if he’ll be back next week.

The Indians are off Monday before opening a two-game series at home against the Cubs.

First-base coach Sandy Alomar Jr. has been filling in for Francona. Earlier this week, third-base coach Mike Sarbaugh left his regular spot to help Alomar in the dugout. Cleveland has been without bench coach Brad Mills all season after he decided to spend time with family following the tragic drowning of his grandson this offseason.

Antonetti acknowledged the season has already presented numerous hurdles.

“We’ve had to deal with a lot of things and a lot of adversity over the course of the last few months and that’s been highlighted in the last week or so with some leadership challenges,” he said.