Baseball / Sports

Athletics acquire first baseman Blanks from Padres

CLEVELAND -- The Oakland Athletics made a move to balance their roster Thursday with the trade for right-handed hitting first baseman Kyle Blanks from San Diego.

Blanks, who came at the cost of minor league outfielder Jake Goebbert and a player to be named later, had been moved off the Padres' roster with the return of Carlos Quentin to full health.

Instead of going to the minor leagues, Blanks hopped on a plane and flew to Cleveland, where he will join the A's to start a weekend series in Progressive Field. He doesn't figure to get a start against the Indians.

Cleveland is starting three right-handed pitchers, and the A's got the right-handed Blanks to work in a platoon at first base and start against left-handed pitchers. Over the long term, Blanks should get plenty of work from the A's, general manager Billy Beane said.

"We got him to balance out the lineup on any given day," Beane told the Bay Area News Group. "We were one left-handed bat heavy. We were looking for a right-handed hitting first baseman who can play the outfield competently. There aren't many who fit that description, but he does."

The move may mean the end of the road with the A's for first baseman Daric Barton. To create room on the roster for Blanks, the A's put Barton on the designated for assignment list. The club has 10 days to trade Barton, release him or, if he clears waivers, re-sign him to a minor league deal.

Barton is nothing if not resilient. He was designated twice last year and still wound up making a contribution down the stretch in September.

But with switch-hitting infielder Alberto Callaspo having gone from a hot first couple of weeks of the season to a slump that has seen him average just .172 in 11 May games, the A's didn't have a right-handed option at first base. Now they do.

"Blanks was a good young prospect until he had some injury problems," Beane said. "We think there is still some upside in this kid. He was highly thought of coming through the minors and it's only the injuries that have set him back."

Blanks, 27, was hitting .265 with nine homers and 20 RBIs in 99 at-bats during his time at Triple-A El Paso this season. Goebbert, acquired from the Astros in last year's trade of Travis Blackley, had a .257 average with six homers and 25 RBIs for Triple-A Sacramento.

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