Franklin Barreto

Sources: A's to call up top catching prospect Sean Murphy on Sunday

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AP

Sources: A's to call up top catching prospect Sean Murphy on Sunday

The A's will call up top catcher prospect Sean Murphy on Sunday when rosters expand, multiple sources confirmed to NBC Sports California.

Oakland will also call up infielder Franklin Barreto and starting pitcher Paul Blackburn.

Injuries have limited Murphy to just 31 games this season at Triple-A Las Vegas, but he has put up big numbers. The 24-year-old slashed .308/.386/.625 with 10 home runs and 30 RBI. Murphy is ranked as the No. 44 overall prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline and the No. 3 prospect in the A's system.

Barreto, 23, has struggled in 17 major-league games this year, hitting .106/.125/.255 with two homers and four RBI. He has performed much better at Triple-A, however, slashing .295/.374/.552 with 19 home runs and 65 RBI in 98 games.

[RELATED: Manaea returning from IL, will start Sunday at Yankees]

Blackburn, 25, has been one of the best pitchers in the Pacific Coast League this season, going 11-3 with a 4.34 ERA, fourth-best in the PCL among qualified pitchers. The right-hander struggled in his one start for Oakland this year, allowing five earned runs in three innings.

The A's will have to make a corresponding move to make room for Murphy on the 40-man roster, while Barreto and Blackburn are both already on the 40-man roster.

Breaking down A's second baseman situation for this season, future

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USATSI

Breaking down A's second baseman situation for this season, future

OAKLAND -- When the A's acquired Jurickson Profar from the Texas Rangers this past offseason, they were hoping he would step in to replace the production of Jed Lowrie from last year. Unfortunately, he hasn't come anywhere near doing that.

Profar, 26, has struggled all season, both with his bat and his glove. Offensively, he is slashing a meager .205/.268/.382. Defensively, he has committed 12 errors, tied for the most among major-league second basemen.

Partly due to Profar's struggles, the A's gave former top prospect Franklin Barreto a chance to earn the starting second baseman job last month, but the 23-year-old found even less success than Profar at the plate. Barreto hit just .106/.125/.255 with 18 strikeouts in 48 plate appearances, ultimately getting sent back down to Triple-A Las Vegas.

Now with just a month and a half remaining in the regular season, the job appears to belong to unheralded 30-year-old Corban Joseph. Oakland selected Joseph's contract from Triple-A on Wednesday and he has started four straight games at second base.

"We're just trying to do the best we can with the position with a guy who's swinging a hot bat and has been the entire year," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Joseph. "When you have that kind of year and we're maybe not getting as much production as we want out of that position, you look somewhere else."

Melvin confirmed that Joseph, a left-handed hitter, will get the majority of playing time at second base, particularly against right-handed pitchers. That means Profar has once again been relegated to a backup role.

At this point, it seems highly unlikely that the A's will bring Profar back next season. He is earning $3.6 million this season and figures to get a similar salary in arbitration next year. Oakland could try to trade him this offseason or simply non-tender him.

The A's do have some talented young prospects waiting in the wings, in addition to Joseph. Barreto remains a possibility, though his value has certainly dropped a bit over the past few years. Another option is Jorge Mateo, whom the A's acquired from the Yankees in the Sonny Gray trade.

Mateo, 24, is having a productive year in Triple-A, slashing .297/.336/.524 with 17 home runs, 14 triples, 26 doubles, and 22 stolen bases. His elite speed makes him a highly-regarded prospect, ranked fourth in the A's system by MLB Pipeline.

Sheldon Neuse could potentially be another candidate beginning next season. The 24-year-old is primarily a corner infielder, but he has played seven games at second base this year for Triple-A Las Vegas and nine games at shortstop.

[RELATED: Khris Davis was once an underrated prospect]

Neuse is slashing an impressive .320/.389/.546 with 23 home runs and 92 RBI. He is ranked as Oakland's eighth-best prospect.

In the meantime, Joseph has a golden opportunity to take control of the starting second baseman job for the remainder of the season. And who knows, if he performs well down the stretch, he could earn the role for next year too.

A's vs. Astros lineups: Chad Pinder, Franklin Barreto start vs. Wade Miley

A's vs. Astros lineups: Chad Pinder, Franklin Barreto start vs. Wade Miley

The A's will try to erase Monday night from their memory and attempt to even their series against the first-place Houston Astros on Tuesday. Houston dominated the opener by a final score of 11-1, moving 7 1/2 games ahead of Oakland in the American League West Division.

The A's will turn to their top starter Mike Fiers to try to get back in the win column Tuesday night. The right-hander is 9-3 with a 3.64 ERA in 21 starts this season, winning each of his last seven decisions.

Fiers, 34, has allowed three runs or fewer in 15 consecutive outings and has delivered 11 straight quality starts. However, he is just 1-2 with a 6.15 ERA in five career games against the Astros.

Houston will counter with veteran left-hander Wade Miley. The 32-year-old is putting together a strong season, going 8-4 with a 3.25 ERA in 20 starts. In seven career outings against Oakland, Miley is 5-2 with a 1.61 ERA.

With the Astros starting a southpaw, the A's have stacked their lineup with right-handed bats. Chad Pinder will start in left field and hit seventh, while Franklin Barreto will play second base and bat ninth. First baseman Matt Olson is the only left-handed hitter in the Oakland lineup. He will hit third.

Here are the full lineups for the A's-Astros game, which will be broadcast on NBC Sports California and the MyTeams app. Coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. PT, with first pitch at 5:10.

Oakland A's (57-44)
Marcus Semien, SS
Matt Chapman, 3B
Matt Olson, 1B
Mark Canha, RF
Ramón Laureano, CF
Khris Davis, DH
Chad Pinder, LF 
Josh Phegley, C
Franklin Barreto, 2B

Mike Fiers, RHP (9-3, 3.64 ERA)

Houston Astros (65-37)
George Springer, CF
José Altuve, 2B
Alex Bregman, SS
Michael Brantley, LF
Yordan Álvarez, DH
Yuli Gurriel, 3B
Josh Reddick, RF
Aledmys Díaz, 1B
Max Stassi, C

Wade Miley, LHP (8-4, 3.25 ERA)