Jurickson Profar

How Jurickson Profar's talk with Adrian Beltre helped A's second baseman

How Jurickson Profar's talk with Adrian Beltre helped A's second baseman

This was not the first impression Jurickson Profar had in mind.

The A's new second baseman was mired in a 5-for-47 slump, held without a single RBI through his first 12 games. He was pressing, trying too hard to impress his new team.

That's when Profar made a phone call to recently retired third baseman Adrián Beltré, a long-time teammate in Texas, to wish him a happy 40th birthday. Beltre responded by providing Profar with some helpful advice.

"I just asked him about how he handled himself when he went to a new team," Profar told reporters. "I asked him about my swing and everything."

Whatever Beltré said worked, because in the next theee games, Profar went 6-for-12 with two home runs and seven RBI.

"Just the confidence," Profar explained. "He told me that he knows I'm going to do well. Just relax and do my thing, and that's it. ... He made me feel comfortable."

"We knew he was going to swing the bat well," A's manager Bob Melvin added. "He's probably a little bit more relaxed than he was."  

Profar, 26, had spent his entire career playing alongside Beltré in Texas before being traded to Oakland this past offseason. Last year, Profar had a breakout season, slashing .254/.335/.458 with 20 home runs, 35 doubles, and 77 RBI. The A's believed he would build on that performance this year, but it didn't start out that way.

"When you're with a new team, you want to get some hits and show the new team what you have to offer," Melvin said. "He certainly did that in the (Baltimore) series, not that he needed to because we've been on the other side. Last year he beat us up some, so we know what he can do at the plate."

It's also been a struggle for Profar defensively early on. He has already committed four errors, including a couple of costly errant throws in key situations. But Melvin believes Profar will get more comfortable playing second base as the season goes on.

"It's still kind of a new position for him, based on the fact he was on the other side of the diamond for the most part last year," Melvin told reporters. "Learning the angles, learning new players with Marcus at short and so forth, that all takes time. ... I think he enjoys the fact that he can come out and just work on one position consistently and know that's where he's going to be." 

[RELATED: Profar reflects on his time with Rangers]

Profar has drastically picked up his play of late, both offensively and defensively. He has raised his batting average from .106 to .191, driving in nine runs in his last six games. He credits that conversation with Beltré.

"I have a good friend in him and I can always call him and ask him for tips," Profar said. "If I ask him, he always will help. He's that kind of guy."

Now with A's, Jurickson Profar reflects on his time with Rangers

Now with A's, Jurickson Profar reflects on his time with Rangers

When Jurickson Profar arrived at Globe Life Park on Friday prior to the A's 8-6 win over the Rangers, it was familiar territory with unfamiliar circumstances.

Profar was acquired by the Oakland A's from the Rangers as part of a three-team deal. Before putting on the Green and Gold, Texas was all he knew. 

"This was home for a long time," Profar told reporters before the game.

The infielder spent five seasons with the Rangers, and is now entrenched as the A's second baseman, so this reunion was bittersweet -- and a bit confusing.

"It's different -- the other side of the building," he said. "It was the first time I got to see the visitor's clubhouse. I've never been in there."

He got a little lost on the opposite side of the park and smiled as he said he had to ask where everything was.

Alas, he saw his former teammates and it appeared he was happy to be "back home."

This was a couple of days after Profar called up his former teammate Adrian Beltre on his birthday. Beltre may have retired, but he was not too busy to give Profar some hitting tips -- and they appeared to have worked. The 26-year-old went 4-for-5 with a home run and five RBI in Tuesday's 13-2 win in Baltimore.

It's understandable Profar misses the Rangers, but I think it's safe to say the A's are more than happy to have him on the team.

Oh, and it has to be said: In Profar's first at-bat against his former team, he hit a double. 

Jurickson Profar already fitting in naturally on and off field for A's

Jurickson Profar already fitting in naturally on and off field for A's

OAKLAND – Jurickson Profar has only played four regular season games with the A's, but he already feels at home in Oakland.

"We have good guys here and also great baseball players," Profar told NBC Sports California. "It's been a lot of fun for me to join this team."

Early in his career, Profar was a highly-touted prospect with the Rangers, but he struggled with injuries for multiple years. Last season, at the age of 25, he finally broke out with a .254/.335/.458 slash line and a career-high 20 home runs, 35 doubles, and 77 RBI.

A's manager Bob Melvin is optimistic Profar can build on last year's performance and put up even better numbers this season in Oakland. 

"We knew he'd be a hitter," Melvin said. "Based on the year he had last year, the first time he was healthy, the first time he was really productive and had the opportunity to play a lot, we think that's just the starting point for him."

Profar believes 2018 was just the beginning of an offensive outburst for himself.

"That's what I'm working on every day. I'm trying to be better than last year," Profar said. "That's what I want to do."

After a slow start to spring training, Profar has swung the bat much better the last few weeks, showing an impressive combination of athleticism and power. He has reached base safely in all four regular-season games, recording a double and a triple. He also homered last Sunday in Oakland's preseason game against the Giants.

"My swing is getting there, where I want it to be," Profar said. "I was working a lot this spring and it's finally starting to feel good."

Profar was already familiar with the A's before coming to Oakland, having played in the same division with the Rangers. He recalls being impressed by the A's grit, echoing the sentiments of Oakland's other newcomers.

[RELATED: Ryan Buchter upset with umpire after missed call in A's loss to Angels]

"Playing against them, they always seemed like guys who played hard," Profar said. "They always wanted to win. For me, it was fun getting traded here. When I joined these guys, it's been even better. I've gotten to know them and it's even more fun."