Maxwell sent to Triple-A as Manaea returns

Maxwell sent to Triple-A as Manaea returns

SEATTLE -- A's catcher Bruce Maxwell returned to Triple-A Nashville on Monday, as expected, concluding his second stint with the club this season.

There's reason to believe his next stay could be longer, though.

The A's, back to their usual assortment of two catchers after needing to clear roster space for Monday starter Sean Manaea, identify Maxwell as "a big part of our future," A's manager Bob Melvin said.

"So when we have a chance to get him here, we're going to get him here and play him some. That's kind of the tough part of where we are, in trying to develop guys, yet put your best lineup out there to win on a particular day."

The A's aren't inclined to carry three catchers, but it's worth keeping an eye on Stephen Vogt, who entered the day batting a meager .213, before he launched just his second homer run of the season -- and first since Opening Night.

"This whole season has been weighing on me offensively," Vogt said. "I really didn't think about homers as much as just trying to see good pitches. I got away from that the first six weeks. Still batting that and come out of that, but I felt really good about the last week. Unfortunately it didn't matter tonight, but it was good to get a result I suppose."

"Last couple games he's swung the bat a lot better," Melvin said. "Ball's jumping off his bat a little better, and overall his at-bats have been better. I know his confidence is a little higher now too."

Vogt's track record with the A's -- he's a two-time All-Star -- suggests he deserves a chance to turn things around, but Maxwell's seeming readiness could impact the conversation.

Maxwell went just 2-for-14 in seven games during his latest stint, but the A's see potential in his bat. Maxwell homered in his first game back with the Sounds on Monday evening.

"He maybe didn't swing the bat as well as he did last year, but he will," Melvin said. "One of these days, it's all going to kind of click at the same time, and he's going to be an impactful guy."

Worth noting

• Reliever John Axford (shoulder) is scheduled to make his second rehab appearance with Triple-A Nashville on Tuesday. It could be his last before returning to the A's bullpen during their next homestand.

• Lefty Sean Doolittle began a throwing program Monday, throwing from a distance of 75 feet, Melvin said.

Chris Bassitt (Tommy John) tossed five scoreless innings in his latest rehab start for Nashville, allowing three hits with two walks and three strikeouts. He totaled 62 pitches, 35 for strikes.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.