When Oakland A's centerfielder Rajai Davis tweaked a hamstring late last week, the injury exposed an area of weakness in the A's depth chart: centerfield. Oakland began the spring with not a lot of depth behind Davis in center, and that depth decreased dramatically as the spring wore on when Jaycob Brugman injured his leg in minor league camp and Alejandro De Aza elected to use his opt-out from his minor league deal.
Since the start of the regular season, the A's have used Mark Canha and Jaff Decker as back-up centerfielders to Davis. Canha struggled both offensively and defensively with Oakland the first two weeks of the regular season and he was sent down to Triple-A Nashville on April 15. Decker replaced Canha in Oakland and has filled in admirably for Davis while the veteran has been sidelined. However, the A's only currently have one true centerfielder on their roster in Triple-A -- Kenny Wilson -- should Davis require a disabled list stint.
That will be changing in the next week, however. On Sunday, the A's announced that they had acquired centerfielder Ryan LaMarre from the Los Angeles Angels for a player to be named later or cash. LaMarre had been designated for assignment by the Angels on April 18. He should report to Nashville early this week. LaMarre was a second-round pick in 2010 by the Cincinnati Reds out of Michigan. In six-plus years of professional baseball, LaMarre has a career .267/.345/.381 slashline with 160 stolen bases. LaMarre is an excellent defensive centerfielder with above-average speed and the ability to get on-base at a decent clip. He has 26 games of big league experience with the Reds and the Red Sox. LaMarre collected two hits in 30 at-bats during his big league time.
LaMarre and the Sounds should also be joined by Brugman sometime in the next week to 10 days. According to A's Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman, Brugman is on pace to be ready to leave extended spring training in about a week. Brugman was the Sounds' team MVP last season and he is a strong defensive outfielder who can play all three positions. He was added to the A's 40-man roster this off-season and hit .313 with a .421 OBP in 10 spring games in big league camp.
In other player movement news, right-hander Corey Walter returned to Midland after one start for the Sounds in place of Cesar Valdez. Walter will start for the RockHounds on Monday night. Kyle Twomey has returned to extended spring training to make room for Walter in Midland.