The Oakland Athletics have recalled catcher-outfielder-first baseman Matt McBride, optioning right-handed pitcher Zach Neal back to Triple-A Nashville. Neal pitched three innings of relief in Thursday's 13-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox, striking out two and allowing three runs and one home run in his major league debut.
McBride was up with the A's for two days around the end of April when the A's were playing with an extra roster spot before calling up Sean Manaea and Jesse Hahn to start. He did not make an appearance, but his versatility potentially opens up creative pinch-hitting options, I suppose. He's hitting .175/.246/.286 with Nashville in 20 games, has caught 12 games, played in right field for six, and at first base for one.
The A's declined the opportunity to call up top Nashville hitters Max Muncy or Renato Nunez. Muncy, 25, is now hitting .283/.397/.478 in 136 PCL plate appearances (143 wRC+) while playing left field, third base, and first base. Nunez, 22, is hitting .300/.358/.567 in 134 plate appearances (148 wRC+) after hitting an inside-the-park grand slam on Thursday thanks to the third base umpire ruling his base hit to left as in play and not lodged in a wall:
With Danny Valencia coming back and Billy Butler capable of playing first base against the left-handers coming up this week, I guess there are not really many plate appearances available for a corner infielder, so we're back to this holding period for now with Tyler Ladendorf and Matt McBride.
UPDATE (1:42 PM) Some additional information on why the A's called up McBride today from Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, reporting from St. Petersburg, Fla.:
Josh Phegley says he got a cortisone shot yesterday for some right knee inflammation; that explains why C Matt McBride is here. #Athletics.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) May 13, 2016
Phegley says he first felt right knee issue after sliding into 1B at Toronto to avoid collision; worsened after he pitched/caught next day.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) May 13, 2016
With Phegley likely out 3 days following cortisone shot, which is the norm, I'd imagine McBride catches a game here. Prob Graveman tomorrow.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) May 13, 2016