ARLINGTON, Texas -- For a guy who supposedly lost his starting job, Danny Valencia sure is seeing the field a lot.
After the A’s called up rookie Ryon Healy and installed him as the new third baseman coming out of the All-Star break, Valencia was re-branded a utility man. It was a bitter pill for him to swallow initially, but he’s been in the lineup for eight of the A’s first 11 games of the second half, and by all accounts he’s adapted very nicely to the role.
Valencia has started five at first base, two at designated hitter and even one in right field. Though he’s cooled off considerably at the plate lately, he drove in three runs Monday, including a two-run homer to straightaway center in the first off Martin Perez. That was part of an offensive attack in which the A’s scored all six of their runs with two outs. In the end, it wasn’t enough as Adrian Beltre’s two-run walk-off homer lifted Texas to a 7-6 victory.
“We’ve been playing really good baseball since the break, and we were one out away from winning this game,” Valencia said. “I think guys have been battling really well. We’ve been playing good baseball, getting really clutch hits. Today with two outs, we had some great at-bats, and I think that’s a testament to how we’re playing the game right now.”
After delivering the go-ahead homer that won Sunday’s game, Billy Butler had three hits Monday, including an RBI double. With the A’s having faced left-handed starters in six of their past nine games, Butler has gotten substantial playing time. In his past five games, he’s 7-for-16. The Rangers are slated to start Nick Martinez and Yu Darvish, both right-handers, to finish out this series, so there’s a good chance Butler will return to the bench.
The A's on Tuesday reinstated All-Star catcher Stephen Vogt from the family medical leave list, but it won't be catching prospect Bruce Maxwell heading down to clear space. Instead, Oakland optioned catcher Matt McBride to Triple-A Nashville.
Vogt, 31, was placed on the family medical leave list July 23. He is batting .280 with eight home runs and 30 RBI in 79 games with the A’s. Vogt is batting .382 over his last nine games and was named to his second American League All-Star Team earlier this month.
McBride, 31, was recalled from Nashville July 3 for his third stint with the A’s this year and went 5-for-21 (.238) in seven starts at catcher. He is batting .231 with two RBI in 15 games overall with Oakland and has a .250 average with five home runs and 18 RBI in 43 games with the Sounds
Maxwell, 25, is 0-for-5 with two strikeouts in his first two major league games with the A's.
The Oakland A’s recalled right-handed pitcher J.B. Wendelken from Triple-A Nashville and optioned right-handed pitcher Daniel Mengden to Nashville, the club announced on Tuesday.
This will be Wendelken’s third stint with the A’s this year. He was originally called up on May 8 and made his Major League debut that afternoon at Baltimore. He appeared in two games before being optioned back to Nashville on May 9. He was recalled again on June 3 but did not pitch before being optioned the following day.
The right-hander was acquired by the A’s with left-handed pitcher Zack Erwin from the Chicago White Sox for infielder Brett Lawrie on Dec. 9, 2015. This season with Nashville, Wendelken is 1-4 with five saves and a 4.66 ERA in 33 games, all in relief. He posted a 0.90 ERA in 10 games in April, but had a 7.79 ERA in 16 games in May and June. So far in July, he is 0-1 with a 2.89 ERA.
After stops in both Double-A and Triple-A to start the season, Mengden was selected by the A’s on June 11 and made his Major League debut that day at Cincinnati. Over his first four starts with the A’s, he went 1-3 with a 2.81 ERA, but is 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA over his last five starts and 23 innings pitched. After tossing at least 5.2 innings in each of his first four starts, he’s lasted 5.1 innings or fewer in each of his last five.
Mengden was originally acquired with catcher Jacob Nottingham from Houston for left-handed pitcher Scott Kazmir on July 23, 2015.
Oakland A's media services contributed to this report