It came from the DH spot in the Oakland Athletics’ lineup, but Matt Chapman had a successful, pain-free debut in spring training, hitting a double after a hard-fought groundout and a strikeout to open his season.
Chapman had hip surgery in September and recently said he feels great, with the power in his right leg back to a normal level. Per Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle, A’s manager Bob Melvin plans to put Chapman back at third base on Friday against the Angels.
Here’s more insight from Kawahara regarding Chapman’s debut from the plate against the Reds on Monday, which resulted in a 13-5 win for Oakland.
In three at-bats, Chapman had a check-swing groundout, a strikeout and double. He saw seven pitches in the first at-bat, fouling off several with two strikes. In the fifth inning, Chapman lined a pitch from right-hander Shane Carle into the gap in right-center field, jogging into second before being replaced by a pinch-runner.Matt Kawahara/San Francisco Chronicle
It’s smart for Melvin to bring his Platinum Glove third baseman along slowly, and all eyes will be on the hot corner on Friday, no doubt.
Another key Athletic, first baseman Matt Olson, had a home run in the win against the Reds, getting his season off to a great start. It was a shot to right field off Noe Ramirez, per Kawahara, who said Olson also grounded out sharply to the shortstop in his first at-bat of the spring.
The exit velocity on Olson’s homer was 116 miles per hour by the way, according to the stadium scoreboard.
Oakland needs both of these young stars to come through this season, so any positive news is a great sign as they make their way through spring training and prepare for the regular season, which will ideally be 162-games long in 2021.
(Photo credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports)