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Oakland A’s call up Matt Olson, option Cesar Valdez

Welcome back, Matt!
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s made yet another roster move on Friday, calling up 1B/OF Matt Olson from Triple-A Nashville, the team announced. To make room, they optioned starting pitcher Cesar Valdez back down to the minors.

Olson made his MLB debut last year as a September callup, racking up seven walks in 28 plate appearances. He had a somewhat disappointing 2016 season in Triple-A but still managed a decent enough 102 wRC+, and this year he’s off to a similar start through 13 games. In the Cactus League this spring, he hit two homers and posted a .752 OPS.

Valdez made a spot start last night (Thu.) in place of the injured Kendall Graveman. He threw four solid innings against the Seattle Mariners, not blowing away the competition but also not getting crushed himself. His final line: 4 ip, 3 runs, 4 Ks, 2 BB, 5 hits, with the A’s going on to win the game.

Hot take: This is a routine move. Valdez did what he came here to do, and Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle notes that Graveman is expected to return for his next start. In the meantime, may as well add another hitter to the bench in between turns in the rotation.

If the recent pattern holds, that means that Olson (or another hitter, but probably Olson) will go back down when Graveman comes off the DL next week. Olson is not in the starting lineup tonight, but we can look forward to seeing another one of our fun new rookies sometime in the coming days!

Why Olson? The A’s choices were more limited than they appeared in terms of which hitter to call up, due to the rule that a player who is optioned to Triple-A must stay down for 10 days unless he’s replacing someone who’s going on the DL. Mark Canha only went down on April 15, and catcher Bruce Maxwell was optioned on Thursday, so neither one can come back up yet.

The only other active Nashville Sounds hitters already on the A’s 40-man roster are Franklin Barreto and Renato Nunez. The A’s will more likely bring up Barreto when he’s ready to stay, not when there happens to be a bench spot open for a few days, and Olson can at least help in the outfield more than Nunez can. No need to look outside the 40-man roster to fill a 3-4 game hole.