Muncy spells banged-up Lawrie, gets first career hit

Infielder impressed at camp, makes big league debut at third

Muncy spells banged-up Lawrie, gets first career hit

OAKLAND -- A's third baseman Brett Lawrie, who jammed his knee into the bullpen mound during Friday's game, was not in the starting lineup for Saturday's middle matchup with the Astros, despite texting his manager at 1 a.m. that he was good to go.

"We needed to get Brett Lawrie a day off here," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "He's as banged up as anyone we have here. Not DL-banged up, but banged up."

It's the first day off of the season for Lawrie, who was expected to rest sometime last week, before Ben Zobrist's left knee injury forced Melvin to keep his regular third baseman in the lineup. On Saturday, though, the A's selected infielder Max Muncy from Triple-A Nashville for a start at third in his big league debut.

Muncy, who was batting .293 with one home run and 10 RBIs in 15 games in his Triple-A debut with the Sounds, picked up his first big league hit in the seventh inning against Astros starter Scott Feldman, a line-drive single to center field.

The 24-year-old was drafted by the A's in the fifth round of the 2012 Draft as a first baseman but has since been groomed to play third base, as well. Though he has just 23 professional games at the position on his résumé, Muncy impressed at the hot corner in big league camp this spring.

"He can play a little first, he can play a little third, and with [Eric Sogard] being able to play all the positions, it's probably going to be mostly at third," said Melvin. "He's a grinder. He made an impression right away. You know he can hit, and he's coming in here swinging the bat well. We've always felt he was quite the hitter.

"Moved him over to third to make him a little bit more versatile, especially with [Matt] Olson in the system. We like what we saw this spring."

Muncy's defensive gems

Muncy was playing on just two hours of sleep he got on his early-morning flight to Oakland, having received the news near 1:30 a.m., just as he was readying to go to bed in advance of a trip to New Orleans. His parents, Lee and Mary Jean, will be watching from Midland, Texas, on no sleep.

"I called them around 2 a.m., and I was actually surprised they answered," said Muncy. "They didn't sleep the rest of the night, so they were up the rest of the night with me.

"I was just laying down for bed, trying to get a couple hours sleep before getting on the plane, and got the call from [Nashville manager Steve] Scarsone. I figured I should probably answer that one. He told me to unpack all my stuff and repack it to come here. It was an interesting call, and I was really tired at the time it happened, but woke up pretty quick. Can't get much sleep after that."

Worth noting

• To clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Muncy, the A's designated left-hander Eury De La Rosa for assignment.

• Right-hander Jesse Hahn, who missed his last start while allowing a blister on his pitching hand to recover, will throw a bullpen either Sunday or Monday. If all goes well, he could make his next start as soon as Wednesday against the Angels.

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.