Consecutive pinch-hits help Ryon Healy get back on track

Oakland Athletics infielder Ryon Healy sat out of the starting lineup for Tuesday’s game against the Rangers for the second consecutive game.

Healy has recorded only 10 hits in 51 plate appearances this season while hitting two home runs and drawing three walks. Healy is batting .204 with an on-base percentage of just .235. With Healy in the midst of a season-opening slump, Stephen Vogt filled in as the team’s designated hitter for Tuesday’s 4-2 win over Texas.

Manager Bob Melvin said before Tuesday’s game that Healy would benefit from the time off to get some extra work in around the park:

“Sometimes a guy needs a little bit of time to work on things. He’s been working hard, he had a good at-bat last night and should be back in the line-up tomorrow. “

Healy doubled off reliever Alex Claudio in the 8th inning Monday in his first-ever pinch-hit appearance; he repeated his success Tuesday night by blooping an RBI single off Texas reliever Dario Alvarez in the bottom of the sixth to give the A’s a 4-2 lead.

Healy drew a walk in the 8th, and praise from Melvin after the game for his approach at the plate:

“He got a hit tonight that’s the result you want in our business, he didn’t hit it as hard as he did the other night, but it was good for his confidence. When you’re getting jammed a little like that means your forcing yourself to track the ball and when you’re slumping you want to get the bat head out early and try to pull it, I think he is seeing the ball better. He will be back in the line-up next game.”

Healy’s hit drove in his fourth RBI of the season after posting 37 in his first season with Oakland last year. The 25-year-old totaled 13 home runs, 82 hits, and 37 RBI’s in 72 games and 269 at-bats in 2016. Healy has struggled to reproduce those same numbers so far this season, but Melvin isn’t too worried:

“We don’t go into what he’s working on, but he works a lot. With him not starting in these two games, it allows him to work on something without the pressure of knowing I got to be ready by game time.”

Two days of rest appeared to really helped Healy. He said it allowed him time to think and process his at-bats, and said he even tested his swing to see if anything was wrong:

“I spent two weeks trying to find out what was wrong with my swing and it was nothing. It was way more mental. So I feel like I have done a lot of self-evaluation and really sizing myself up for what the two weeks have been. I feel like I can finally leave that behind me and build from here.”

Healy attributes watching veterans Trevor Plouffe and Yonder Alonso to get his focus back mentally by picking their brains every day with questions:

“Watching and taking mental reps from guys in my similar position like Trevor and Yonder is nice. I watch Yonder and Trevor both play defense, their at-bats and talk situational with them. I spend a lot of time with those guys picking their brain in every aspect in the game and life since they have so much more experience than me.”