Sunday morning the Oakland Athletics designated Andy LaRoche for assignment in order to make room for Grant Balfour, who returned from the paternity list. The A's might have considered sending a pitcher to AAA but the extensive use of the bullpen on Friday and Saturday meant any and all arms needed to be available. The move leaves the A's with four regular infielders and Conor Jackson as a backup at third base. Although the A's are a bit short-handed in their infield, they are expecting infielder Adam Rosales back off the disabled list at some point in the next week or so.
Andy LaRoche came into spring training as a non-roster invitee but put together a hot spring and landed a roster spot. Manager Bob Geren played him all around the infield trying to get him at bats. Although LaRoche started off hot, he was unable to sustain his success and at the time of his release he was hitting .247/.320/.333. By designating LaRoche for assignment, the team has ten days to place him on waivers, trade him, or release him. My best guess is the team will place him on waivers and he'll probably clear waivers, which would likely result in him ending up at Sacramento:
"Obviously there were a lot of things that I could have done better," he said, "but I was happy with the opportunity to get to play all of the positions. I got a lot more playing time than I was expecting. Now I'll just see if another team out there needs me.
"I would obviously prefer to be in the big leagues, and if that's not here, hopefully it's with another team. If there's not that need, then I'll probably be in [Triple-A] Sacramento."
The move leaves the A's with outfielder Conor Jackson as their lone backup infielder. Jackson can play third base and regular third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff could move to shortstop or second base if Cliff Pennington or Mark Ellis were ever unavailable.
The A's will have a backup infielder (and potential starter) when Adam Rosales returns from his rehabilitation assignment in Sacramento. Rosales went on the disabled list last August with a stress fracture in his right ankle. Before going on the DL, Rosales hit .271/.321/.400 in 80 games mixed between all four infield positions and some time in the outfield. He's in the midst of his third game at Sacramento.