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Derek Norris Called Up; Norberto Added

June 21, 2012

Derek Norris got called up to the A’s today and Jordan Norberto was activated off of the disabled list. Norris acquired in the deal that sent Gio Gonzalez to the Washington Nationals, was hitting .273/.331/.474 with the River Cats good for a .349 wOBA and 104 wRC+ in 236 plate appearances during which he also launched eight home runs. The walk rate for him is the lowest of his career (8.5%) but it also has been coupled with his lowest K% (16.5%). He gets the start in today’s day game against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers. To make room for him the A’s optioned Josh Donaldson back to Sacramento. Donaldson who started off as the team’s starting third baseman, and then morphed into a catcher/first base back up guy never got into a stride at the plate sporting an anemic .153/.160/.235 slash line with a miserable .172 wOBA and 2 wRC+ in 100 plate appearances. On the other hand he has torn up Triple-A pitching with a .447/.509/.830 line in Sacramento on the year, for a .541 wOBA and 229 wRC+ in 53 trips to the plate.

The other move the A’s made today was activating Norberto off of the disabled list. Norberto who had a strained left shoulder was placed on the 15-day DL on June 4th and pitched one inning of relief against the Fresno Grizzlies Tuesday as a rehab assignment striking out two of the three hitters he faced. On the year the lefty has a 3.91 ERA, to go with a 3.57 FIP powered by 6.4 K/9, 4.3 BB/9 and 0.4 HR/9 in 25 1/3 innings of work across 21 appearances. To make room for Norberto, the A’s optioned Pedro Figueroa. That left-handed reliever had one good outing since returning to the A’s, really coming in when Bartolo Colon went down in his start against San Diego, and thus far on the year has a 1.50 ERA that masks some poor peripherals that show in his 5.56 FIP: 3.8 K/9, 6.8 BB/9 and 0.8 HR/9.

It’ll be interesting to see what Norris can do at the MLB level and I hope he gets regular playing time. What this could spell is the beginning of the end for Kurt Suzuki who could become trade bait quite quickly if Norris can make a splash. I’d hate to see Norris recalled like this and then left to sit and languish on the bench. The reintroduction of Norberto to the bullpen, unquestionably is an improvement over the inconsistent Figueroa.

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