Athletics

A's reinstate Jed Lowrie from 15-day disabled list

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A's reinstate Jed Lowrie from 15-day disabled list

The A’s reinstated infielder Jed Lowrie from the 15-day disabled list and recalled right-handed pitcher Zach Neal from Triple-A Nashville, the club announced on Wednesday morning.

To clear spots on the roster, the A’s optioned left-handed pitcher Daniel Coulombe and infielder Max Muncy to Nashville.

Lowrie was placed on the disabled list May 11 retroactive to May 10 with a right shin contusion.  He went 1-for-4 with a walk on a one-game rehab assignment with Nashville on Monday at Las Vegas.  Lowrie was batting .356 over his final 20 games before the injury and is hitting .302 in 32 games overall with Oakland.

Neal joins the A’s for the second time this year as he made his Major League debut May 11 at Boston, allowing three runs on four hits in 3.0 innings of relief.  He was optioned back to Nashville two days later and returns tonight to make his first Major League start.  Neal is 5-1 with a 2.53 ERA in seven starts with the Sounds and has walked just four batters in 42.2 innings.

Coulombe was recalled on Sunday for the second time this year and did not allow a run in two games and 3.2 innings.  He has a 4.76 ERA and .150 opponents batting average in three games overall with the A’s.  Coulombe also has a 0.56 ERA and .135 opponents batting average in 13 relief appearances with the Sounds and has not allowed a home run in 16.0 innings.

Muncy was recalled from Nashville May 17 and went 2-for-5 (.400) with a walk in two starts.  He was batting .279 with six home runs and 15 RBI in 37 games with the Sounds and added 22 walks for a .399 on-base percentage.

Oakland A's media services

A's top prospect ranking: Why Nick Allen comes in at No. 10 overall

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A's top prospect ranking: Why Nick Allen comes in at No. 10 overall

Editor's note: Over the next two weeks, we will examine the top 10 prospects in the A's organization. For each player, we will provide a scouting report and a realistic timetable for reaching the major leagues, as well as what he needs to do to stay there.

No. 10 - Nick Allen, SS/2B

The A's selected Allen out of high school in the third round of the 2017 MLB Draft and he is beginning to develop into the shortstop they hoped he would be. At just 5-foot-9, the 21-year-old is far from imposing physically, but he is a defensive wizard.

Allen has tremendous range and a cannon for an arm, with MLB Pipeline assigning him a 65 fielding rating on the 20-80 scale and an arm grade of 60. There has never been any question about his defensive ability, which is already MLB quality. Now he's beginning to show improvement at the plate as well.

Allen struggled in 2018 at Class-A Beloit, slashing just .239/.301/.302 in 121 games. But this past season at High-A Stockton, that slash line shot up to .292/.363/.434, with improved power numbers across the board.

Allen also has above-average speed, with a 60 rating from MLB Pipeline. He stole 37 bases in 193 games over the past two seasons.

Allen can play shortstop and second base, both potential positions of need for the A's in the near future. Marcus Semien is set to become a free agent after the 2020 season and Jurickson Profar is far from a sure thing to return. Youngsters Jorge Mateo, Franklin Barreto, and Sheldon Neuse could also be options at the middle infield positions, but Allen has a great chance to earn a spot down the road.

Realistically, Allen doesn't figure to join the A's until at least 2021, with 2022 seeming more realistic. He just turned 21 earlier this month and has yet to play a single game above High-A.

Allen will likely start the 2020 season at Double-A Midland, with an opportunity to move up to Triple-A Las Vegas, based on his performance. If he continues to progress offensively, he could certainly earn a major league call-up at some point in 2021.

[RELATED: Why A's should move on from Grossman]

Allen has already added some strength, which has been reflected in his increased productivity at the plate. He will need to continue his work in the weight room, without losing his speed, which should be his biggest weapon offensively.

While Allen will never be a power-hitter, he can use his speed to wreak havoc on the basepaths. If he maintains his magical defensive prowess, he has an opportunity to develop into a solid major leaguer for Oakland.

A's closer Liam Hendriks a finalist for AL Reliever of the Year award

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USATSI

A's closer Liam Hendriks a finalist for AL Reliever of the Year award

A's closer Liam Hendriks is one of three finalists for the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award.

Hendriks is joined by Astros closer Roberto Osuna and Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman. The NL finalists are Josh Hader, Will Smith, and Kirby Yates.

Hendriks, 30, enjoyed a breakout season in 2019, recording a 1.80 ERA and 0.96 WHIP. The right-hander notched 124 strikeouts in 85 innings, an A's franchise record for relievers, compared to just 21 walks.

Hendriks took over closing duties from Blake Treinen in the middle of the season and finished with 25 saves, along with eight holds. His 124 punchouts led AL relief pitchers and his 1.80 ERA ranked second among AL relievers with at least 40 innings.

Osuna posted a 2.63 ERA and 0.88 WHIP, with 73 strikeouts in 65 innings. Chapman finished with a 2.21 ERA and 1.11 WHIP, striking out 85 in 57 innings.

[RELATED: Hendriks' energy a big part of A's success]

The voting will be conducted by a panel of eight all-time great relief pitchers: Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman, Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers, Bruce Sutter, Lee Smith, John Franco, and Billy Wagner. Both the AL and NL awards will be presented on October 26, before Game 4 of the World Series.