|Drury looks to keep magic going vs. A's|
A third baseman of the future and a likely soon-to-be third baseman of the past hope to duplicate Friday's hitting success when the Oakland Athletics host the Toronto Blue Jays for a second straight day on Saturday afternoon.
A couple of hours after their respective futures were the topic of conversation with managers and upper management before the game, Oakland's Matt Chapman and Toronto's Brandon Drury combined for two of the six extra-base hits in the Blue Jays' 5-1 series-opening win Friday night.
Drury had the game's single-biggest hit with a fourth-inning home run in a game in which, frankly, the Blue Jays wish he hadn't been starting.
Toronto players and fans alike anxiously await the arrival of uber-prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who appeared to be on the fast track to the majors until suffering an oblique injury during spring training.
While Guerrero was hosting a news conference before his Triple-A game in Buffalo on Friday, one at which he claimed, "It's obvious that I'm ready," Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo was left to answer questions 3,000 miles away about why he's relegated to penciling in a journeyman such as Drury in his major league lineups.
"He's the No. 1 prospect in baseball. I get it," Montoyo admitted of Guerrero to reporters a bit standoffishly. "He's the (subject of) the first question and the last question. And in the middle."
Drury's homer off A's starter Aaron Brooks was his first of the season. Guerrero, meanwhile, began the day Friday with two homers in just nine minor league games.
Just a few hundred feet away from Montoyo's address to the media, A's general manager David Forst was hosting a news conference formally announcing a two-year contract extension for his club's designated hitter, Khris Davis.
Soon the questions turned to locking up other young Oakland standouts, like Chapman.
"Khris was a priority because of the impending free agency," Forst explained. "There are other players we have had talks with and there are ongoing conversations. It takes two to tango. You have to find common ground. We will continue to have conversations focused on keeping players here into a new ballpark and beyond."
Chapman isn't eligible for free agency until 2024. That hasn't kept him from looking ahead, however.
"I want to be a part of this organization," he assured reporters before Friday's game. "I love coming to play here. I love the A's, and I want to be a part of this for a long time. Khris is a step in the right direction for all that, and I'm just committed to showing up every day and working hard. Whatever happens, that is out of my control."
Working hard meant suffering a 5-1 defeat in the series opener despite two hits, including an RBI double that opened the game's scoring in the first inning.
Saturday, Chapman will take his whacks at Blue Jays right-hander Matt Shoemaker (3-0, 1.75 ERA), against whom he's gone 2-for-5 in his career with two RBIs.
Shoemaker is 6-3 with a 4.19 ERA in 15 career games against the A's, including 14 starts.
Oakland will counter with righty Mike Fiers (2-1, 7.06), who has a 1-3 career record and 3.49 ERA in seven games (six starts) against Toronto.
He's faced Drury twice, allowing a single and also recording a strikeout.
--Field Level Media