OAKLAND — Arismendy Alcantara wasn’t in Tuesday’s starting lineup, but A’s manager Bob Melvin said he plans to get his newest roster addition a start in the next couple of days.
Where on the diamond might that be? Alcantara, acquired June 9 from the Cubs for Chris Coghlan, has played second base, shortstop, third base and all over the outfield in his professional career, but Melvin said the reports he’s received suggest Alcantara might be best at second base and center.
More than anything, his speed adds a needed dimension for an A’s team that has just five stolen bases in 16 games this month and has scored the fifth-fewest runs in the majors this season. Alcantara was leading the Pacific Coast League with 26 steals before Tuesday’s promotion.
“We’ve been bogged down a little bit recently here as far as stolen bases,” Melvin said. “… And we just haven’t gotten on base a whole lot. It does add another dynamic to a club that’s probably lacking some athleticism and some speed at this point.”
Alcantara, 24, signed with the Cubs as a shortstop in 2008 out of the Dominican Republic, but the switch hitter said he’s eager to help Oakland wherever needed.
“I just want to be in the lineup,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s shortstop, second base or in the outfield. I just want to try to make the routine play everywhere I’ve been, try to help the team win.”
The A’s had an interpreter available for Alcantara’s group media session, but he chose to answer questions in English.
Alcantara debuted with the Cubs in 2014. He’s just a .194 hitter in the bigs, but he’s popped 10 home runs in 81 games, displaying power that one might not expect from his 5-foot-10, 172-pound frame. To get an idea of the caliber of prospect he was while coming up in Chicago’s farm system, Baseball Prospectus ranked Alcantara as the majors’ No. 18 prospect in their 2014 midseason rankings. Last year, he fell off the map somewhat with a poor offensive season.
One major league scout who’s watched Alcantara extensively said that he loves his skill set as a bench player but had doubts about his hitting approach in terms of an everyday role.
Sean Manaea, coming back from a forearm strain, threw a 39-pitch bullpen session Tuesday and is scheduled for a rehab start Friday with Single-A Stockton. Asked how many rehab outings the lefty might need before rejoining Oakland’s rotation, Melvin said:
“I’m hoping just one. If he pitches Friday, it could be as early as five days after that.”
Manaea is eligible to come off the disabled list a week from Wednesday. Should all go well Friday, he would be perfectly on turn to be activated that day and face the Giants at the Coliseum.
Josh Reddick went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in his first rehab game with Triple-A Nashville on Monday. The Sounds were rained out Tuesday at Iowa. The plan is for Reddick to play roughly five minor league games to test his fractured left thumb before returning.