Oakland A’s call up former No. 4 overall draft pick looking to spark slumping offense

JJ Bleday, the former No. 4 overall draft pick the A’s acquired from the Miami Marlins for left-hander A.J. Puck in February, was promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas and Oakland isn’t wasting any time getting the power-hitting outfielder into the mix.

Bleday will bat fifth and play left field against the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night at the Coliseum as the A’s look to bounce back after seeing Mason Miller’s seven innings of no-hit ball squandered in a 2-1 loss to the Mariners.

The A’s are 6-24 and have been outscored by 118 runs (The Royals are distant second with a run differential of minus-68) and Bleday looks like he could provide a much-needed spark in the middle of the lineup.

The 25-year-old Bleday, who made his big league debut last season with the Marlins, got a long look in spring training and has been one of the Aviators’ most productive hitters. He posted a .316/.429/.643 slash line with seven home runs, and arrives on a major hot steak. Bleday hit safely in his past seven Triple-A games, going 13 for 28 with four home runs, 11 RBIs and scored 13 times. The A’s also likely were encouraged by his improved plate discipline. Bleday struck out 12 times with just four walks in 31 Cactus League at-bats. He walked more than he struck out with the Aviators in April, the first time the former Vanderbilt star has done that as a pro.

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Bleday is set to make his A’s debut while Puk, also a former first-rounder, is thriving in Miami. Puk, whose A’s career was slowed by injuries and inconsistency, is the Marlins’ closer, with five saves, three wins, a 0.75 ERA and a 0.83 WHIP.

The arrival of Bleday gives the A’s two of the top nine picks in the 2019 draft in their lineup: catcher Shea Langeliers, the No. 9 pick by the Braves acquired in last year’s Matt Olson trade, is batting sixth on Wednesday night.

To make room for Bleday on the roster, Conner Capel, who was the A’s DH and No. 2 hitter on Opening Day, was optioned to Triple-A.

Capel played in 26 games and had a slash line of .258/.347/.318, but had yet to homer and hadn’t driven in a run since April 15.

𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘑𝘑, 𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘑𝘑, 𝘩𝘦𝘺 pic.twitter.com/6ugCQ36JVp

— Oakland A’s (@Athletics) May 3, 2023

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