The Athletics optioned Brown to their alternate training site in San Jose on Thursday. Brown and pitcher James Kaprielian were the casualties as Oakland trimmed its active roster from 30 to 28 men prior to Thursday's deadline to do so. A reserve outfielder/designated hitter, Brown had started in just one of Oakland's first 12 games and had logged three plate appearances overall.
Brown was named to the Athletics' Opening Day roster Thursday as a fifth outfielder that can also fill in at first base, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com reports. Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area notes Brown was kept over a third catcher, which is partly explained by the fact the team's three-man taxi squad will be obligated to carry a backstop per MLB rules. Meanwhile, Brown, who slashed a solid .293/.361/.453 across his first 26 big-league games in 2019, is capable of offering some left-handed power off the bench following a pair of 30-homer campaigns at two different minor-league stops in the organization. He also has experience playing all three outfield spots and logged 203 starts at first base in the minors, making him a valuable asset defensively as well.
Brown hit .343 (12-for-35) with five doubles, one triple, one home run, eight RBI, one walk and seven runs across 15 Cactus League games before spring training was suspended. With the likelihood big-league rosters are expanded up to 29 players, Brown's chances of opening the delayed regular season with the Athletics appear particularly strong. In addition to his highly impressive spring, the 27-year-old was similarly successful at the plate in three different minor-league levels over the prior three seasons. He then held his own over his first 26 big-league games in 2019, posting a .293/.361/.453 line in 83 plate appearances. Melissa Lockard of The Athletic reports Brown has been staying in shape in his home state of Oregon during the current layoff, working out with some equipment he borrowed from the gym he regularly utilizes and also hitting on a daily basis. Brown could fill in at both corner outfield spots and first base in 2020.
Brown is hitting .375 (9-for-24) with four doubles, one triple, one home run, eight RBI, one walk and five runs over his first 10 Cactus League games. Brown terrorized opposing arms with Triple-A Las Vegas in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League last season, generating an impressive .986 OPS while slugging a whopping 72 extra-base hits (29 doubles, six triples, 37 home runs). He then helped dispel the notion that he was simply a product of the system by holding his own against big-league arms in his first majors cup of coffee late in the season, slashing .293/.361/.453 across 83 plate appearances. His work this spring has included a four-game hitting streak, a grand slam against the Royals on Sunday and an extra-base hit in half of his 10 games. Essentially, Brown is making a strong case for the Opening Day roster, and his ability to fill in at first base and both corner outfield spots helps his cause.
Brown is not in Saturday's lineup against the Mariners. He will take a seat with lefty Marco Gonzales on the hill for Seattle. Chad Pinder gets the start in left field and will hit seventh.