A's call up Maxwell, place Vogt on family leave

A's call up Maxwell, place Vogt on family leave

OAKLAND -- The A's placed catcher Stephen Vogt on the family medical leave list Saturday and called up catcher Bruce Maxwell to take his place, transferring reliever Fernando Rodriguez to the 60-day DL to make room on the 40-man roster.

Vogt is dealing with a family medical emergency, manager Bob Melvin said, but the team expects him to return in three days. Players placed on the medical leave list can be away from the team between three and seven days.

Maxwell, 25, made his big league debut Saturday night in a 4-3 win, pinch-hitting in the seventh inning and grounding out. He'll split catching duties with Matt McBride in the interim, and the team has not settled on a plan beyond that, Melvin said. Maxwell wasn't in the starting lineup Saturday, but is expected to start Sunday and catch A's starter Jesse Hahn.

"Obviously, it's unfortunate for the reasons [Maxwell] is here now," Melvin said. "But we really felt like coming out of spring at some point in time we'd see him here this year."

Maxwell has hit .321 in 60 games with Triple-A Nashville this year with 10 homers and 41 RBIs. He's been on a tear lately, hitting .643 over his past eight games with five homers and 16 RBIs, and has drawn strong reviews within the A's organization for his defensive improvement as a catcher.

"I'm proud of the fact that he's made it here," Melvin said. "I've actually had some extended conversations with him over the course of the last couple Spring Trainings. Really, he's worked hard on his craft."

Maxwell's already set a season-high in homers, and hit .243 in each of his last two Minor League seasons. An infielder in college, Maxwell said he's spent considerable time refining his approach behind the plate, and is just now beginning to feel comfortable, allowing him to focus more on his hitting.

"I've been able to put a little more time in my hitting and dedicate it toward it," he said. "I think now with a number of at-bats under my belt at pro ball, I'm starting to get a lot more comfortable."

"Every time we look up he's 4-for-5, 5-for-5," said Hahn, who spent more than a month with Maxwell playing in Nashville. "He hits a home run it feels like every day. He's been our best hitter down there and kind of been carrying the team a little bit."

Maxwell found out on Friday he'd be headed to Oakland when, upon walking into the manager's office in Nashville to receive the news, he simultaneously listened to a voicemail from A's travel secretary Mickey Morabito. He said it's been a long few days of travel, adding, "I don't think it's hit me yet," but he said his father, step-mother and girlfriend would be in attendance Saturday.

He'd been waiting for this day since he spent Spring Training with the A's.

"Honestly I did," he said. "Being up there with the team this spring and showing what I had and stepping in … I just knew it was a matter of time, I just didn't know when."

Mark Chiarelli is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.