Athletics manager Mark Kotsay still is figuring out what the team's Opening Day lineup will look like for the 2023 MLB season. Chances are, though, that Aledmys Díaz will be near the top.
Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Kotsay explained that he was exploring all options on where to slot Díaz in the lineup and whether he will be Oakland's No. 2 hitter moving forward.
"Traditional if you look at that in a sense, but he's also one of our better professional hitters," Kotsay said. "And, like you said, he gets a 3-2 pitch, hits it between the hole and with Tony [Kemp] over, we get a run out of it."
So far in six spring training games with the A's, Díaz is slashing .500/.579/.563 with an OPS of 1.142. Against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday, the shortstop went 3-for-4, with four RBI and a double in the A's 9-3 win.
Overall, in 16 at-bats, the 32-year-old has eight hits, four RBI and three walks in a small spring sample size. For Kotsay, however, it is refreshing to see a versatile veteran bat that can do many things at the plate.
"So, it's nice to have someone in the lineup that can do multiple things, whether it's take a walk, drive a guy in, or hit a homer," Kotsay concluded.
A former All-Star with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2016, Díaz previously has proven to be worth the two-year, $14 million contract the A's gave him in the offseason. The multifaceted veteran is a career .266 hitter with a career OPS+ of 105.
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Díaz, along with being a former All-Star, was a World Series champion with the Houston Astros in 2022. That gives the A's talented youngsters a veteran presence they might not have had before.
And regardless of where Kotsay decides to place Díaz in the lineup, he surely could provide a boost for an A's squad looking to rebound from a tough 2022 season.