OAKLAND – First baseman Daric Barton is not only playing regularly for the A’s right now, he’s finding a way to make important contributions.
That’s not something one would have predicted just a couple of weeks ago. Barton has been designated for assignment twice since spring training. He had played in just eight games with Oakland this season when he was selected from Triple-A Sacramento on Aug. 26, the same day outfielder Josh Reddick joined the disabled list.
Barton has since started at first base in six of eight games, going 6 for 21 (.286) with four RBI. He’s added some excellent defensive plays as well. A highly touted prospect when he first broke into the majors in 2007, Barton served as the A’s everyday first baseman in 2008 and 2010 but never established himself as a consistent run producer.
Now 28, Barton said his outlook has changed. He admitted he was “young and immature” in the early portion of his career. But Barton claims he also has a better overall view on life, which has helped his baseball career.
“I got to the point where I was done with worrying about what has happened, what will happen, and just take advantage of the present time and going from there,” Barton said. “Mentally, my view of life and baseball has changed. I think it’s allowed me to enjoy myself.
“I talk to so many people out of baseball now, and they just wish they were involved in baseball in any way. I’m lucky enough to be out here playing and getting paid to do what I love. I really have no complaints."
Neither do the A’s. They have won seven of their last nine, and they’re getting the kind of group contributions up and down their lineup that was a hallmark of last year’s team. Barton is making himself a part of that.
A common knock on him was that he was much too selective at the plate. He appears a bit more aggressive now. On Sunday, he jumped on the first pitch in his first at-bat and delivered a run-scoring single. He also made a nice diving stop at first and got the out.
“I think he really feels fortunate to have another opportunity and looks at each day individually, and how fortunate he is to be here and thrust into a pennant race again,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “His attitude, everything about him right now, he just looks like a different player.”
Catcher Derek Norris (fractured left big toe) is progressing well in his minor league rehab assignment. If all continues to go well, Melvin said Norris should be activated Thursday, the first day he’s eligible to come off the disabled list.