A’s prospect Matt Chapman savors first big-league experience

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Source:   —  April 02, 2016, at 8:12 AM

Oakland’s first-round draft choose in two thousand-fourteenth was a non-roster invitee to his first big-league camp this spring but stuck with the A’s until the final weekend of the preseason, earning a ride N for the annual Bay Bridge series against the Giants.

A’s prospect Matt Chapman savors first big-league experience

A’s infield prospect Matt Chapman didn’t let his first time playing in a major-league stadium pass Thursday night without soaking in the moment a little.

“Me and some of the (other) guys who'd never been here before were like, ‘We started in the stands,’” Chapman said, “‘and presently we’re on the field.’”

Chapman’s very presence in the Bay Area this week is notable. Oakland’s first-round draft choose in two thousand-fourteenth was a non-roster invitee to his first big-league camp this spring but stuck with the A’s until the final weekend of the preseason, earning a ride N for the annual Bay Bridge series against the Giants.

The 22-year-old third baseman was the A’s co-leader in Cactus League play with five residence runs, thirteen RBIs and a .674 slugging percentage, and he drew compliment from coaches regarding his defensive skill and strong arm.

“To be able to be here when we didn’t really expect him to be here for these three games is a reward for him,” manager Bob Melvin said. “I know he’s excited about it.”

Chapman entered Thursday night’s game in the later innings and had one at-bat, facing Giants right-handed reliever Cory Gearrin.

“It was fast,” said Chapman, who struck out on three pitches. “It was a quick one.”

It wasn’t Chapman’s toughest at-bat this spring, though. He started one of the A’s final games in AZ against the Cubs and drew the honor of facing Jake Arrieta, latest year’s National League Cy Youthful Award winner.

“Yeah, he was really good,” said Chapman, who grounded out and flied out in two at-bats against Arrieta. “Every pitch he threw came out a different way. Whether it was cutting far from me or sinking in or he was working the zone, you didn’t obtain the same look.”

Those are the experiences Chapman believes can only assistance him as his career progresses. Chapman’s two thousand fifteen season was shortened by a knee strain and a wrist injury that required surgery to repair two torn ligaments. But he still managed to hit twenty-three residence runs in eightieth games at High-A Stockton, tops in the A’s farm system.

Chapman also made nineteen errors latest season at third base and said he's benefited in camp from working with A’s infield coach Ron Washington. He said WA pointed out early on that Chapman sometimes fielded ground balls with his legs narrower than other times and as a result, “the biggest thing I worked on this spring was being in a consistent fielding position every time.”

Chapman said he hasn’t been told yet where he’ll start the upcoming season. But he'll leave the A’s with an encouraging message from Melvin.

“He just told me I’ve definitely made the most of my opportunity,” Chapman said. “To hear that from him has been pretty special.”

– The A’s announced that pitcher Jarrod Parker had surgery to reconstruct the medial compartment of his right elbow Wednesday in Los Angeles. Dr. Neal ElAttrache performed the procedure, which involved reattaching the ulnar collateral ligament and flexor tendon to the humerus bone and cleaning bone fragments out of Parker’s elbow.

Parker fractured the medial epicondyle area in his elbow for a second time on March ten, and has also had Tommy John surgery twice to reconstruct the UCL. A’s trainer Nick Paparesta said Parker’s latest procedure wasn't Tommy John, as the previously repaired ligament was still intact.

Although Parker has said he still hopes to pitch again, Paparesta said it'll likely be three months before Parker can start rehabbing the elbow and didn't give a time when Parker might be able to throw again.

– Infielder Eric Sogard was scratched from the A’s lineup Friday with a neck injury that Melvin said occurred earlier in the day. The A’s flew in minor-leaguer Franklin Barreto, who was expected to come Friday evening and play Saturday in Oakland.

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