OAKLAND — Having experienced a demotion in 2014, Marcus Semien advised Micah Johnson to not worry about the big picture and work hard at Triple-A.
Semien knows how disappointed Johnson must be after he was sent to Triple-A Charlotte on Thursday. Semien had a similar experience last June and rallied from a slow start for the Knights to hit .314/.431/.588 and 11 home runs and 37 RBIs over his last 53 contests.
He believes that performance coupled with a solid September with the White Sox has afforded him the opportunity of a lifetime.
An East Bay native, Semien — the main piece in a six-player trade that sent Jeff Samardzija to the White Sox — is playing at home and is the everyday shortstop for the Oakland A’s.
“From Day One, my first conversation with Billy Beane was, ‘We want to play shortstop, we want to see you grow, if you make mistakes we want to see you get better from them,’” Semien said. “‘We’re going to give you the opportunity to do that.’ I just needed to take it and run with it.”
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From an offensive perspective, Semien has done just that. He enters Sunday’s contest against the White Sox hitting .309/.352/.510 with six homers, 15 RBIs and six steals. Semien has struggled in the field (he has 11 errors) but Oakland expects it would take time to acclimate to the position after Semien moved around the infield with the White Sox.
Though his work ethic is strong as ever, Semien, who lives 12 minutes away from the ballpark and close to his family, said his preparation has significantly changed.
He only takes grounders at shortstop and hits in one of the first two groups in batting practice every day. Semien, who played college ball at Cal, misses working in the batting cage with White Sox hitting coaches Harold Baines and Todd Steverson. But he also knows he has it pretty good with the A’s, even though the team is off to a 13-25 start.
“I love where I’m at here,” Semien said. “I’m at home and I’m getting into my routine and I’m six weeks in, starting to learn a lot more about my swing and defensively about my footwork and everything else.”
Of his second trip to Charlotte, Semien said last September he saw it as a chance to get important work accomplished because he wasn’t as consistent as he wanted to be with the White Sox. Though there was a period of adjustment, Semien is glad he treated the opportunity as such because it may just have landed him here. He hopes Johnson sees his move the same way.
“You never know what might happen,” Semien said.