Billy Burns to Get 1st MLB Start Against Astros

In the series finale versus the Houston Astros, the Oakland Athletics will start rookie Billy Burns in center field. With Coco Criso still out with a neck strain Bob Melvin has said that Billy will start against left handed pitchers. Billy will be starting and leading off against the Astros LHP Dallas Keuchel.

Billy was called up from AA Midland RockHounds on Monday after the Athletics had to place Craig Gentry on the 15 day DL with a broken hand. He has played in both games of the series. He pinch hit on Monday night (o-1) and was a defensive replacement in Tuesday’s comeback win. This will be Billy’s first start.

Billy was acquired by the Athletics in the trade that sent reliever Jerry Blevins to the Washington Nationals. The Athletics took a long look at Billy during Spring Training. He played in 26 games and hit .306 (22 for 72) with 8 walks and 10 stolen bases. For the RockHounds Billy was batting .250 (91 for 364) with 44 walks and 51 stolen bases. In 2013 with the Potomac Nationals, Billy hit .315 (170 for 444) with 72 walks and 74 stolen bases.

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EF Debates: What To Do When Craig Gentry Comes Back

The Billy Beane, Bob Melvin and the Oakland Athletics have a very difficult decision to in the next few days. Outfielder Craig Gentry is eligible to come off the disabled list this week. Conventional wisdom indicates that either Daric Barton or Sam Fuld will be on the short end of the stick. Both players are out of options and that means that either would have to be DFA’d (designated for assignment). This means that any of the other 29 teams can claim the player off waivers and place them on their 25 man roster. If the player clears waivers, then they will be assigned to the minors, usually the AAA club. Here is a look at both players who could be on the block.

Daric Barton, first base
Daric is a fan-favorite in Oakland. However he is an average player with above average defense. He is a career .249 hitter with 30 home runs. Daric’s career fielding percentage is .992 making only 34 errors in 509 games. He can guard the line well and has great agility.

2014 stats:
Regular Season: 5 games, 1 for 14 (.071 avg), 1 E in 29 chances
Spring Training: 17 games, 9 for 33 (.273 avg) with 4 doubles

Sam Fuld, outfield
Sam is new to the club. He signed a minor league contract in the off season and the injury to Gentry coupled with his performance in the Spring helped him to land a spot in the 25 man roster. Sam is a career .236 hitter with 6 home runs in 368 games. He has made only 6 errors in 303 games.

2014 stats:
Regular Season: 3 games, 4 for 13 (.308 avg), 2 triples, 0 E in 17 chances
Spring Training: 22 games, 16 for 59 (.271 avg), 4 triples

The question could just boil down to this: Do the Athletics want 4 or 5 outfielders on the roster? Right now Oakland has 2 catchers, 7 infielders, 4 outfielders and 12 pitchers on the 25 man roster. Do the Athletics keep 4 outfielders and DFA Sam Fuld, or drop an infielder and DFA Daric Barton? Is there another alternative? In the past Daric Barton has made his case as to why he should still be on the team and Sam Fuld is in the process of making a great case for himself to stay on the roster.

Take a moment and vote in the poll. This poll will remain open until Wednesday morning, the earliest projected date for Craig Gentry to comeback.

Sound off with your thoughts below! Should Barton go? Should Fuld go? Someone else? Tell us what you think!

Stockton Ports Wrap Up Opening Series with Visalia on Sunday

The Stockton Ports will wrap up their Opening Series of the 2014 season tomorrow against the Visalia Rawhide. Game time will be 1:00 p.m. at Recreation Ballpark in Visalia. So far the Ports have taken 2 of 3 from the Rawhide. The lone loss coming on a 9th inning miscue allowing the winning run to score. Shawn Haviland will take the mound for the Ports and square off against Hector Hernandez for the Rawhide.

Ryan Cook and Craig Gentry have both made rehab appearances with the Ports as they get ready to rejoin the Oakland Athletics. Both players could be activated as early as Monday when the Athletics begin their first road series of the season in Minnesota against the Twins.

New in Oakland, Part 2: Position Players

This is the second installment of a 3 part series introducing the newest members of the Oakland Athletics. These players were either signed as a free agent or traded for during the off season.  This second installment will introduce the new position players on Oakland’s 40-man roster.  These players may or may not make the opening day lineup, but figure prominently in Oakland’s future.

Nick Punto, utility infielder – Nick was signed as a free agent by the Athletics on November 13th. He spent last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers and played in 113 games batting .255 in 294 at bats in a part time role. Nick figures to be the utility infielder for 2014 with the ability to play almost all infield positions.

Craig Gentry, outfielder – Craig was acquired with Josh Lindblom in the deal that sent Top Prospects Michael Choice and Chris Bostick to the Texas Rangers. Craig played an important role with the Rangers in 2013. He primarily came off the bench and was in a platoon role and batted .280 with 12 doubles in 246 at bats. Criag will take on the platoon role that was vacated by Seth Smith after he was traded to the San Diego Padres.

Chris Giminez, catcher – Chris was claimed off waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays in December. Giminez has limited MLB experience playing in no more than 45 games in a season over his 5 year career. He out of options and will likely be placed on waivers towards the end of spring training. He would likely clear waivers and be outrighted to Sacramento where he could figure prominently with  River Cats.

Athletics sign Sam Fuld to minor league deal

On Tuesday the Oakland Athletics agreed to terms on a Minor League deal with outfielder Sam Fuld. His contract includes an invite to the Major League spring training camp. Sam has spent parts of six seasons in the majors as a reserve outfielders. The past three years Sam has been apart of the Tampa Bay Rays organization.

If he is placed on the Major League roster his contract would be worth $800,000 with the possibility of more in performance incentives.

Sam looks to join the Oakland outfield that already includes Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick and Craig Gentry.