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Oakland A’s call up Jake Smolinski, option Chris Bassitt to Triple-A

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Bassitt performed well in emergency duty on Saturday.

Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s called up outfielder Jake Smolinski on Sunday, the team announced. To make room on the roster, pitcher Chris Bassitt was optioned back to Triple-A Nashville.

Bassitt came up to Oakland on Saturday to make a spot start in place of a minorly injured Trevor Cahill. He delivered a strong performance, but the A’s lineup was itself shut out by the Royals in a losing effort.

Bassitt, Sat.: 7 ip, 1 run, 6 Ks, 1 BB, 3 hits, 0 HR

It can’t be ignored that Bassitt’s success came against Kansas City, whose lineup is one of the worst in MLB, and also came at home in the Coliseum, where scoring has been more or less illegal all year for both the A’s and their visitors. However, it was still a nice first impression from a guy who hadn’t appeared in the bigs in over two years since Tommy John surgery. With his emergency duty fulfilled, he now returns to Triple-A to wait for his next chance. He must wait at least 10 days before he’s called back up, but if Cahill were to land on the disabled list with his current bangup then Bassitt could come back early to replace him.

Meanwhile, Smolinski makes his way back to Oakland. He fell out of favor with a horrendous early-season slump, and was eventually replaced in CF first by Mark Canha and then by Dustin Fowler. However, Smolinski rediscovered his stroke in Triple-A, ripping the cover off the ball for 21 games.

Smolinski, 2018 MLB: 4-for-34, 2 XBH, 1 BB, 9 Ks, minus-2 wRC+
Smolinski, 2018 AAA: .260/.360/.571, 139 wRC+, 7 HR, 12.4% BB, 30.3% Ks

Fellow outfielder Matt Joyce is on the DL with a back injury, and initially lefty Nick Martini came up to replace him. But Martini went 0-for-9 in his three games and was then sent down to make room for Bassitt. Smolinski joins an outfield that also includes Fowler, Canha, Stephen Piscotty, and Chad Pinder — of that group everyone except Fowler is a right-handed batter, and everyone except Pinder is hitting well in June.

In other outfield news, Boog Powell played for High-A Stockton on Saturday, marking the beginning of his rehab assignment. Powell suffered a sprained knee early in April and has spent most of the season on the DL. He’s been out long enough that he was recently transferred to the 60-day DL as a procedural move, but that fact that he’s now playing real games shows he’s clearly making progress in his recovery.