ARLINGTON -- Each of Chris Carter's four stays with Oakland has been a disappointment, but the A's youngster is hoping the fifth time proves to be the charm.
Carter, once considered the club's top prospect, was called up on Friday to make his season debut with the A's, following two stints in each of the last two seasons. He started at first base against Rangers lefty Matt Harrison, batting seventh, and will platoon with Brandon Moss -- hitting just .125 over his past seven games -- at the position going forward.
It would seemingly serve the A's well to give Carter a lengthy look at the plate in order to decide where he fits into the organization's future. The 25-year-old has played in parts of eight Minor League seasons, collecting a combined .283 average, .378 on-base percentage and .913 OPS, yet he's hit just .136 with three home runs and a .174 OBP in the big leagues.
"I think, like anybody, you make your own opportunities at the big league level," manager Bob Melvin said. "If you come in, you knock the door down and force us to put you into the lineup. I think that's what everyone aspires to do in the big leagues. It just hasn't happened for him yet up to this point."
"That's always the thought process," Carter said. "I know what to expect now. I don't have any excuses."
Most recently, Carter was batting .279 with 12 home runs and 53 RBIs in 72 games with Triple-A Sacramento. He appeared in 47 games at first base and, more recently, made several starts at designated hitter while splitting time in the field with former big league regular Daric Barton, who's hitting .253 for the River Cats.
"I've been coming along a lot better now," Carter said. "I went through some struggles a few weeks ago but came out of it and have been feeling good lately. Before, I was swinging at everything again, which I know I can't do.
"It's always nice to be back. I've been waiting for this moment all season, and I'm ready for it."
Melvin noted Carter has made small adjustments at the plate since he was last in Oakland, making better use of the lower half of his body rather than just relying on the power from his hands. Yet, Melvin also noted the bigger change for Carter in the big leagues will likely have to be a mental one.
"I think the physical attributes are all there," Melvin said. "You watch him take batting practice and you see how far he hits the ball. In spring, we've seen him do some good things, too. Just maybe you create a little doubt in your mind at the big league level that you haven't been able to break through and stay."