OAKLAND – Craig Gentry is back in the big leagues and hoping to re-insert himself into the A’s outfield conversation.
He was recalled Tuesday along with infielder Max Muncy, and though a 3½-month stay in the minors is not what Gentry had in mind this season, he thinks he’s better off for it.
“I think I learned a lot about myself and about me as a player also,” Gentry said. “It was a difficult experience but a good one. I’m happy to be back, excited to be up here.”
Expected to be part of a center field platoon, Gentry hit .079 in 17 games with the A’s and then fell off the map after being optioned to Triple-A Nashville. He hit .256 with 25 RBI in 101 games with the Sounds, and those hitting struggles robbed him of the chance to get on base and utilize his exceptional speed, Gentry’s best tool. He admitted that he fell victim to tinkering with his swing too much.
“I think from the beginning of the season, playing so poorly up here and then going down there, I had no confidence at the plate at all,” Gentry said. “I just needed some positive things to happen. … When you’re struggling that bad it’s tough not to come in every day and do something different. I think that was a lot of it. You don’t get any hits one night and you think there’s something wrong with your swing.”
Gentry’s fortunes turned as the Triple-A season wound down. He hit .371 over his final 17 games. Now he wants to re-establish himself in the A’s outfield plans in the future. He made $1.6 million this season and is under team control for one more season. He’s eligible for arbitration, which means the A’s face a decision on whether to tender him a contract this winter.
If they do, Gentry will have one thing working in his advantage come spring training – he’s out of minor league options.
Melvin said he still considers Gentry very much a part of the outfield picture looking ahead to 2016.
“It’s not like we've given up on him,” Melvin said. “We have good outfield depth and he's part of that. I don't see anything happening with him as far as his standing with our organization.”
Catcher Stephen Vogt underwent a second ultra sound after being hit in the groin by a foul tip. The results showed Vogt does not require surgery, but Melvin said it “could be a while” before Vogt returns to the lineup. He’ll be at the Coliseum on Wednesday and the plan is for Vogt to travel on the upcoming 10-game road trip. There’s no plan right now for the team to promote an extra catcher.
[RELATED: Vogt resting after injury scare]
Right-hander Chris Bassitt, recovering from a sore right shoulder, could play catch sometime this week, but Melvin expressed doubt about whether Bassitt will be able to return to the rotation before season’s end.
“Once he starts playing catch we'll have a better idea, but I'm not sure,” the manager said. “We'd love to be able to, but we're also going to be real careful with him.”