In the wake of the Marcus Semien wrist injury that has him placed on the DL along with no timetable for a return, two questions presented themselves inside of the A’s clubhouse:
- How would a team that ranked below the 2016 league average in runs earned produce offense?
- Who would fill the role at shortstop in place of the defensively improved Semien?
Those questions seemed to have been answered with the insertion of one player. A 10-year veteran by the name of Adam Rosales, who on Thursday night did all of the above to help the A’s notch their third consecutive victory and lift Oakland over the visiting Seattle Mariners, 9-6.
Alongside a 1-for-3 performance at the plate, two Rosales RBIs that stemmed from a sac-fly and a sac-bunt were very much needed.
With Rosales’ help, the A’s found success against Mariners starting pitcher, James Paxton, who entered Thursday night with 0.00 ERA.
When asked how Rosales has done in filling the hole left by Semien, A’s manager Bob Melvin said:
“We knew he would fit in all the different spots for us and then when a Marcus goes out, you know you’re gonna get great defense with him. You know you’re gonna get a hard worker who’s a better hitter now.”
Melvin also mentioned Rosales’ development as a hitter over the past two seasons:
“You know, he really kinda came into his own last year as a hitter. Hit 13 home runs. Had some production last year. Since we’ve seen him last, he’s changed his swing some. It’s a little bit shorter. As you see, he’s going the other way. A little bit better as he did again today.”
Since April 15, when he was assigned the starting role in place of the injured Semien, Rosales has gone 4-for-16 at the plate and batted in five runners. With those numbers, Rosales is on pace to finish the season with 151 RBIs.
After the Thursday’s game, Rosales commented on his newly found role as a starter in Oakland:
“It’s definitely a different role to play every day, you know. But I’m just going to do my best to embrace it, you know. Obviously Marcus is a huge part of the team and I’ll do my best to fill that for a little bit.”
In addition to his offensive production, Rosales held his own in his fifth start at shortstop for Oakland, including zero fielding errors in the short stint.
Considering that Siemen’s return is still up in the air after undergoing wrist surgery on Thursday, keeping Rosales in the starting lineup looks to be an option that the A’s will be exploring which comes with no objection from Rosales:
“Thats what I’m here for right? To fill that role.”
And Rosales has been placed in this kind of a role before:
“I’ve had the opportunity before. In Cincinnati, when [Edward] Encarnacion got hurt, I was at third base pretty much every day. In 2010 Mark Ellis got hurt, I was here playing second base everyday.”
Versatility as an infielder has played a role in the longevity of Rosales’ career, and being presented with another opportunity in the wake of Semien’s injury has now added another chapter to that narrative.
The 8-8 Athletics sit in second place in the AL West and could signficantly strengthen — or weaken — that position as they embark on a nine-game stretch against division opponents. The stretch does, though, include a three-game series in Houston against the division-leading Astros.