Oakland A's third baseman Danny Valencia was activated following his 15-day stay on the disabled list with a minor hamstring strain. To make room on the active roster, the A's optioned utility player Tyler Ladendorf to Triple-A Nashville.
Valencia returns to the A's roster that has continued to struggle on offense since he exited the April 20 contest against the New York Yankees. The A's have been held to three runs or fewer in eight out of the 14 games Valencia has missed. Before the injury, Valencia was hitting .294/.345/.353 (102 wRC+) in 55 plate appearances, which is fifth best among A's with at least 50 plate appearances.
With Valencia resuming the third base role, Chris Coghlan should be free to move around the field once more. Jed Lowrie, who has been one of the more clutch hitters on the club, has had calf issues that have held him out of starts lately, and Coghlan could begin to see more time at second base. Coco Crisp has also been playing in a lot of games with Valencia out, sometimes up the middle and sometimes in left field, with Billy Burns in center.
One question for Coghlan is how long will it be before his bat starts to contribute positively. He's started the year .155/.228/.321 (54 wRC+) with four home runs. In his 2014-15 with the Cubs he hit .265/.346/.447 (119 wRC+) in 935 plate appearances, primarily against right-handed pitching. I'm still looking for Coghlan to match the 10.4% walk rate he had in those years (currently 7.6%) and 18.7% strikeout rate (currently 26.1%).
Tyler Ladendorf's role over two weeks was to pinch run in late game situations (he did steal one base) and occasionally play second base. He started one game (bizarrely against a right-hander when there was a left-hander starting the day of his call up) and went 0-for-2 with one strikeout. Ladendorf also used this cup of coffee to tell us the correct way to pronounce his last name:
Tyler Ladendorf says we have all been mispronouncing his name for two years. It's pronounced like Laddendorf not Laydendorf. #Athletics— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) April 30, 2016
It's still up in the air whether Valencia actually plays tonight at Camden Yards, with first pitch scheduled for 4:05 PT. Conditions are expected to be slick, which is not ideal for a player just off a hamstring injury, if they play at all tonight.