The Oakland Athletics claimed outfielder Jake Smolinski from the Texas Rangers and optioned him to the Triple-A Nashville Sounds, the A's announced this morning. Smolinski had been designated for assignment after the Rangers activated Ryan Rua from the 60-day disabled list. The A's did not need to make a 40-man roster move, as they had 39 players counted against the 40 player limit after designating Andy Parrino for assignment on Friday.
The right-handed batting Smolinski, 26, did very well during his July and September 2014 call ups, but he has struggled in the major leagues in 2015 while bouncing up and down between Texas and Triple-A Rock. Despite his struggles at the big league level, Smolinski continues to hit well in Triple-A, albeit in limited action:
|Jake Smolinski, 2014-15|
|Jake Smolinski preseason projections|
Preseason projections see Smolinski as a little bit better than a replacement player, and there is still just a little bit of upside given his age. He might benefit from playing on the short-end of the platoon, rather than face right-handed pitching. Smolinski will compete for next right-handed batting outfielder call up status with right-handed hitter Craig Gentry, Oakland's only other healthy outfielder on the 40-man roster, and recent signee Dayan Viciedo.
Gentry has picked himself up a little bit as of late. He is riding a 10-game hitting streak with the Nashville Sounds and over his last 16 games is batting .313/.371/.406 over 72 plate appearances with five walks and 11 strikeouts. Overall, Gentry is batting .230/.302/.285 in 141 plate appearances in Triple-A.
Viciedo made his first appearance of the season on June 20, going 1-for-5 with a triple against the Omaha Storm Chasers.