Patterson gives A's leadoff flexibility
Newcomer started as infielder but can also play outfield
OAKLAND -- After watching Matt Murton in just nine games before the outfielder was sent down to Triple-A Sacramento on Sunday to rack up more at-bats, manager Bob Geren insisted that "every decision has multi-facets."
If anything was an indication of that statement, it was Oakland's choice to replace Murton's roster spot with Eric Patterson, who came to the A's with Murton as part of the team's six-player deal that sent Rich Harden to the Cubs.
So the fact that Murton was batting a mere .100 with Oakland while Patterson was pounding out a .349 average with Sacramento was not the only aspect in the team's decision to go ahead with the transaction.
So what really, then, led the A's to use their 44th player of the year? Think versatility. And think another option for the leadoff spot, which has been shared mostly by Kurt Suzuki, Mark Ellis, Ryan Sweeney and Jack Hannahan this season.
"I'm going to give him the shot at leadoff when he does play," Geren said of Patterson. "He has exceptional power and speed and will also be a good utility player for us."
The A's skipper wasted no time in throwing the newcomer in the first slot of the lineup. Just a half hour after arriving in Oakland, Patterson made his A's debut in left field and went 0-for-3 with two walks in the leadoff spot Sunday.
"He showed a good zone at the plate and did a fine job in left field," Geren said before the A's took on the visiting Royals on Monday in the first of a three-game set.
After Sunday's game, a wide-eyed Patterson expressed an attitude that fit right in with his new manager's hopes of playing him all around the field.
"I grew up an infielder," the 25-year-old said, "but whatever they need me to do, I'm definitely going to continue to work hard. The more places you can play, it gives the manager options."
That's music to Geren's ears.
"I like my infielders to have the ability to play all [positions]," he said. "He could get some time at third."
When it comes to batting, though, Patterson wouldn't mind staying in the No. 1 or 2 hole.
"That's pretty much where I've always hit," he said. "It's just finding ways to get on base.
"I want to continue to get better every day."
Jane Lee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.