Boog Powell to debut with A’s



OAKLAND — One day later than expected, Boog Powell will make his debut with the A’s on Saturday night.

The problem Friday night?

“I couldn’t breathe,” the 24-year-old center fielder said Saturday afternoon.

“I was sick the last two days before that. I felt a little dizzy. It wasn’t a good idea to play yesterday.”

Uh, no. Even with his parents up from Orange County to watch the game and Powell eager beyond words to get out there, the combination of a lingering upper-respiratory illness and an episode with asthma he hadn’t experienced in more than 10 years put him on the shelf.

He was ready to go Saturday afternoon. Woke up feeling great, did some running with no ill effects and saw his name penciled in at the top of the A’s lineup for their game against the Orioles.

“I honestly can’t wait. Yesterday I was so let down not being able to make my debut with the A’s,” he said. “My parents were up here. They know, unless I’m dying, I’m playing.”

You have to wonder then what they were thinking when manager Bob Melvin was forced to scratch Powell an hour before first pitch Friday night.

Powell said he was sweating and struggling to breathe during batting practice. He was taken to the emergency room for a breathing treatment, which coaxed a lot of “stuff” out of him.

“Obviously, yesterday didn’t go the way he wanted it to,” Melvin said. “He feels good today.”

Powell was picked by the A’s in the 20th round of the 2012 draft, but his only major league experience came early this season with Seattle: a .194 batting average (7 for 36) in 23 games. He returned to the A’s organization last Sunday in the trade that sent Yonder Alonso to Seattle.

Asked what he hopes to find out about Powell, Melvin teased, “I’d like to see him hit .500, play center field really well, steal two bags a game . . . No, he was in the organization for a while. I didn’t get to the see him play, but everything I heard is he plays the game hard.

“He brings a little tenacity to his game. Put him in the leadoff spot and see what he can do.”

Powell is best known to a certain generation of baseball fans for sharing the name of former Baltimore Orioles slugger John “Boog” Powell.

“There’s been fans who have come up to me and said, `I just met Boog Powell the other day, the real one.’ I’m real, too. Just not original.”

Baseball’s two Boogs are cut from different cloth. The original, now 75 years old, went 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, hit 339 major league home runs and won the AL Most Valuable Player award in 1970.

Herschel Mack “Boog” Powell IV is 5-10, 185 pounds and still awaiting his first major league home run.

He was given his nickname by his father in high school because his family wanted a way to distinguish him from his father and grand father. “My parents loved it,” he said of the moniker. “I hated it growing up. But it stuck.”

Now Powell is not only comfortable with his nickname, he’s eager to meet the original Boog, who operates a barbeque stand on the right field promenade at Camden Yards. The A’s play a three-game series in Baltimore, beginning Aug. 21, and Powell intends to take the initiative.

“I’m excited to play there and meet him,” he said. “I’m going to go out to his barbecue and introduce myself and talk baseball hopefully.”

* Sean Manaea, who starts Saturday evening against the Orioles, has allowed four home runs in 19 innings over his past four starts, losing his only decision during that stretch. But Melvin said he has lost no confidence in his left-hander.

“Everybody goes through a down period during the course of the season. He’ll work though it. He’s been so consistent for us that every time he struggles it puts a spotlight on him. But we feel good every time he goes out there.”

* Reliever Blake Treinen, who came to the A’s in the Sean Doolittle trade on July 16, has been a pleasant surprise. He has not allowed an earned run in 12 of 14 appearance since coming from Washington, and sports a 1.26 earned run average after picking up his third save Friday night. With the Nationals this season, he had a 5.73 ERA in 37 appearances.

“We’ve seen him in any number of roles. We’ve brought him in for leverage situations in the seventh. we’ve used him in the eighth and the ninth. He’s done a nice job for us,” Melvin said. “We’ve thought all along he has the stuff to close.

“He has a little bit of a tough time in Washington. Sometimes all you need is a little bit of a change of scenery to get (rid) of some of the baggage that might have been there. Right now he fits the bill for us.”

* Jake Smolinski, who has missed the entire season after undergoing shoulder surgery on March 30, was scheduled to DH for Class A Stockton on Saturday.


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