The Oakland Athletics have selected the contract of outfielder Jaff Decker ahead of Saturday’s contest against the Houston Astros. The A’s optioned Mark Canha to Triple-A Nashville, and transferred Jake Smolinski to the 60-day disabled list to open a 40-man roster spot for Decker.
The left-handed batting Decker, 27, enjoyed a sterling spring at the plate and on defense, showing an apparent efficiency in his routes that Canha seems to lack at the moment. With the Triple-A Nashville Sounds, Decker was hitting .387/.472/.452 in 36 plate appearances, including five walks and eight strikeouts.
Decker can fit into this lineup as the guy that lets the other guys get a rest day. He can play in center field over Rajai Davis, or give left field an arm upgrade for Khris Davis to DH when Trevor Plouffe or Ryon Healy take an off day, for instance. He’s also a potential defensive substitute for Matt Joyce in right field.
Canha has had a rough go of it in his return campaign from season-ending hip surgery in 2016. His batting average dipped into bingo-number territory before a late-game single on Friday brought his line to .105/.150/.158 in 20 plate appearances with six strikeouts and no walks.
My hope is that Canha, getting everyday plate appearances instead of platooning in right field, finds the groove that gets him back towards what he did in his Rule 5 season with the A’s, when he hit .254/.315/.426 with 16 home runs in 2015.
The A’s and Astros play Game 2 of their series at 1:05 p.m. Pacific Time. The game will be broadcast on NBC Sports California and 95.7 The Game.