NEW YORK -- Out of favor with a team for whom he struggled early this season, third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff is making his way back to the National League, but with a new club.
Kouzmanoff was traded by the A's along with cash on Tuesday to the Rockies in exchange for future considerations and is expected to report to Triple-A Colorado Springs, which just so happens to be near his offseason home in Evergreen, Colo.
The 30-year-old infielder, initially acquired by the A's in a January 2010 trade with the Padres, was expected to be Oakland's long-term answer at third base. He hit .247 last season with a team-leading 16 home runs and 71 RBIs, committing 12 errors, but was unable to produce on either side of the field this year, batting just .221 with four homers and 17 RBIs while committing nine errors in just 46 games.
Those numbers led to Kouzmanoff's demotion on June 26, marking his first stint in the Minors in five years.
"As everybody well knows, I started off slow on both sides of the ball," Kouzmanoff said at the time. "I was unsatisfied with my play so far this season. I got the news that I'm going down, and all I can do is just go down and get my reps in, and keep working and try to work my way back."
Scott Sizemore has since been handling everyday third-base duties, and he entered Tuesday's contest against the Yankees batting .235 with five homers and 32 RBIs in 59 games with the A's. A natural second baseman, Sizemore has displayed tremendous improvement at the hot corner and has made seven errors since his arrival in Oakland.
It's not yet clear, though, whether Sizemore is viewed as a permanent everyday player at the position. The A's may indeed add a third baseman to their winter shopping list, as the organizational depth there remains limited.
On Tuesday, backup infielder Eric Sogard got the start at third, a decision influenced by his 1-for-2 performance against Yankees starter Bartolo Colon in the two clubs' last meeting. Sogard responded by hitting his first career home run in the top of the third inning.
Few faces familiar as Chavez meets A's
NEW YORK -- Though the scene wasn't Oakland, where he spent the first 12 years of his big league career, Eric Chavez's debut against his former team on Tuesday was admittedly "weird."
"Definitely a little weird," Chavez said, smiling, from the Yankees' clubhouse before the game.
The former A's third baseman, now serving as a backup infielder and designated-hitter option in New York, was originally slated to be on the bench for Tuesday's series opener. But a jammed left thumb for Alex Rodriguez forced a late lineup change, allowing Chavez to start at third base.
Chavez, 33, signed a Minor League deal with the Yankees in the offseason after the A's chose to buy out his 2011 option (worth $12.5 million) following four consecutive injury-plagued seasons. Health and productivity in the spring ultimately led to a spot on the Yankees' 25-man roster, and Chavez entered Tuesday batting .258 over 33 games.
Only a handful of A's faces, though, proved familiar to Oakland's six-time American League Gold Glove Award winner on Tuesday.
"There are only five or six guys that I really know, so it's a little weird," Chavez said. "Big turnaround."
A's give Minor League vet Recker a chance
NEW YORK -- A day after optioning backup catcher Landon Powell to Triple-A Sacramento, the A's on Tuesday officially brought aboard backstop Anthony Recker, who joined a Major League roster for the first time just six days shy of his 28th birthday.
Recker, a seven-year Minor League veteran, has consistently posted strong numbers but seemingly appeared to be overlooked at times, given the presence of Powell and prospect Josh Donaldson. Recker was batting .287 with 16 home runs and 48 RBIs in 99 games with the River Cats and also led the club with a .388 on-base percentage while appearing in 61 contests at catcher and 25 at first base this year.
"He's having a nice offensive year; he's a hard-working kid who they felt needed to be promoted and given an opportunity to see what he can do here," manager Bob Melvin said.
Recker, originally selected by the A's in the 18th round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, will likely get his first career start behind the plate at some point during the club's 10-game road swing, though a specific date has yet to be set, Melvin said.
Powell, meanwhile, returns to Sacramento after spending the entire season on the A's roster. Recognized primarily for his defense, the 29-year-old Powell was hitting just .176 with one home run and four RBIs through limited action that saw him play in 32 games.
"I hope Landon looks at this as an opportunity to go down there and get some consistent at-bats," Melvin said. "I know it was difficult for him to be, at least offensively, consistent and to get on a roll."
Powell spent all of 2009 with the A's and took part in four stints with Oakland last season. And given his time spent on the roster this year, he's likely geared to enjoy Super 2 status, which would make him arbitration-eligible. The A's, though, are not expected to tender him a contract should that be the case.
In adding Recker to their 40-man roster, the A's transferred right-hander Trystan Magnuson, out with right shoulder tendinitis, to the 60-day disabled list.
"We're going to be careful with him," Melvin said. "Whether he was going to be here before the end of the season was debatable, so to open up a roster spot, that was the thing to do. Nothing that I have heard, though, would suggest the injury's worse than what they originally thought."