July 21, 2024

A’s change roster before series start vs Angels; infielder Brett Harris and right-hander Tyler Ferguson called up from Las Vegas.
When manager Mark Kotsay informed Aledmys Díaz of his job, he responded differently than usual.

He apologized.

“Just a true pro,” Kotsay explained.

Before Tuesday’s game against the Angels, Díaz and left-handed reliever Sean Newcomb were designated for assignment. Oakland promoted infielder Brett Harris and right-hander Tyler Ferguson from Triple-A Las Vegas to fill the roster vacancies.

“You don’t get many players that will come in when you’re telling him that they’re going through this process of being put on waivers or DFA’d,” he said, “and they apologize for, in his terms, a lack of performance in the way we rewarded him and the confidence we had bringing him here and putting him on the contract.”

Díaz, 33, signed a two-year, $14.5 million contract with the A’s before last season, but struggled on both sides of the field. Díaz has a.218 batting average,.585 OPS, four home runs, and 25 RBIs in 121 games over the last two seasons. The utility guy spent the majority of his time in the field at shortstop, where he contributed -9 defensive runs saved. Baseball Reference calculated Díaz’s WAR to be -1.3. Díaz has played only 12 games this season due to a right calf issue.

 

Sean Newcomb starts as A's begin series with Padres - Athletics Nation
Sean Newcomb

 

“We’re hopeful that he goes somewhere and can land on a team and help impact that team, whether it’s a playoff team or just give him another opportunity where he’s going to get maybe more consistent at-bats,” Kotsay told ESPN.The nine-year MLB veteran won a World Series ring with the Houston Astros in 2022.

Last August, the Athletics acquired Newcomb, 31, from the Giants. The former Atlanta Braves first-round draft pick pitched well for Oakland, allowing five earned runs in 15 innings (3.00 ERA) with 17 strikeouts before undergoing season-ending left knee lateral meniscus surgery.

 

2023 Oakland Athletics Season in Review: Aledmys Diaz - Athletics Nation
Aledmys Diaz

After signing a one-year, $1 million contract this offseason, Newcomb experienced additional physical concerns, including arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. On June 4, Newcomb made his season debut for the Athletics, appearing in only seven games and allowing seven earned runs in 10 innings. On June 22, however, he became the first pitcher in A’s history to win without retiring a hitter. In that game against the Twins, Newcomb relieved Lucas Erceg with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning and the A’s down 5-4. He tossed two pitches to the plate before picking off Austin Martin at first base. The A’s took the lead in the bottom of the eighth, and closer Mason Miller pitched the ninth.

“He really grinded to get back to be able to perform at the major-league level after two surgeries he went through and an extended period on the IL,” Kotsay relayed. “Our bullpen’s really left handed, and for us, it was time to move on.”

Harris, 26, and Ferguson, 30, started the season in Las Vegas but made their major league debuts with the A’s early this year. Harris had a.617 OPS with three home runs in 17 games in May. Ferguson also spent the most of May with the A’s, surrendering five earned runs in 10 innings (4.50 ERA) with 10 strikeouts and seven walks in nine outings.

Morales selected for Futures Game

Luis Morales, Oakland’s No. 2 prospect in the MLB Pipeline rankings, has been chosen as the club’s representative for the 2024 All-Star Futures Game.

“If you get that accolade, you’ve earned it,” Kotsay remarked. “He’s on a lower level right now. I can see him graduating after the All-Star break and being pushed a little harder.”

Morales, 21, signed with the A’s from Cuba in January 2023 during the international signing period. The right-hander has had mixed results at Single-A Lansing, compiling a 4.46 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 38 1/3 innings, but he shows promise as a starter going forward. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound right-hander has a fastball that sits in the mid-to-high 90s and can reach triple digits, and he complements that with a curveball, slider, and changeup.

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