Speedy Fowler ready to grow with Oakland

Speedy Fowler ready to grow with Oakland

OAKLAND -- Dustin Fowler was hobbling through Oakland's clubhouse Tuesday afternoon, his crutches enabling him to bounce this way and that, with several new faces to meet at every turn.

The rehabbing outfielder, one of three players acquired by the A's in Monday's headline-grabbing trade that sent Sonny Gray to the Yankees, entered the scene not knowing a single person. He doesn't know much about the A's, either.

"Nothing at all," Fowler said, smiling. "I'm just a small-town boy. I don't know much about anything. But I'm ready to know everything, get to learn everything and learn everyone and get my career started here."

The product of Cadwell, Ga. -- population barely eclipsing 500 -- could very well be the A's center fielder of the future. That's the plan, anyway.

"You know what, if you look at our depth chart, there's a good chance," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Now, I'm getting a little ahead of myself, and certainly the front office has something to say about that, but I think that's what we were targeting, was a guy that could play center field and can run around out there and do some things that maybe we're lacking in our system."

Once healthy, Fowler is expected to display the kind of athleticism that's been missing in Oakland. The 22-year-old, who ruptured the patellar tendon in his right knee in the first inning of his first Major League game June 29, said he should begin baseball activity sometime in December, giving him plenty of time to be ready for Spring Training.

Fowler came to the A's with right-hander James Kaprielian, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, and infielder Jorge Mateo, a speedy shortstop who has been assigned to Double-A Midland.

Fowler called Mateo "a freak athlete. One of the fastest guys you'll see. A lot of potential."

As for Fowler, "I know he's pretty good and does a little bit of everything," Melvin said. "Can play the outfield well, got some power. If you look at the numbers, he can run some. So he looks to be exactly the type of athlete we're looking for. We need to get a little bit more athletic, I think, within our system. He's a good start for that and looks like Mateo is as well."

Fowler was scheduled to meet with A's doctors later Tuesday, and he'll soon have a better idea of where he'll continue his rehab. He doesn't mind the prospect of California, a state he had never stepped foot in before Tuesday.

" I think I'm going to like it," he said. "Kind of a laid-back pace here."

Worth noting

• The A's released right-hander John Axford on Tuesday, five days after designating the veteran reliever for assignment. Axford had a 6.43 ERA in 22 appearances this season.

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.