OAKLAND — The A’s are wasting no time trying figure out what they received in the Yonder Alonso trade.
Boog Powell was recalled from Triple-A Nashville just before Friday’s game along with relief pitcher Michael Brady. In order to make room on the roster, outfielders Mark Canha and Jaycob Brugman were optioned back to Nashville.
A little on the smaller side with his 5-foot-10, 185-pound frame, Powell likens his style of play to a former All-Star with a similar build: New York Yankees center fielder Brett Gardner.
“He plays the game with heart, emotion always running with 100 percent and that’s what I try to do,” Powell said. “I don’t have the power or a lot of the things the big guys have so I gotta provide the small game things like bunting, getting on base and making the catches.”
Powell was batting .333 with six home runs, 33 RBIs and 11 stolen bases this season in 61 games at Triple-A this season. He batted .194 in 23 games this season for the Mariners.
While most of his playing time came off the bench as a fourth outfielder with Seattle, the left-handed Powell is expected to platoon with Rajai Davis, getting most starts against right-handed pitchers. Having frequently played the corner outfield spots as a Mariner, Powell will primarily patrol center field for the A’s.
Originally drafted by the A’s in the 20th round of the 2012 draft, Powell is excited to be returning to his original team with the likelihood of getting consistent playing time for a team that is still in search of its center fielder of the future. The 23-year-old who was acquired from Seattle last week in exchange for All-Star first baseman Alonso was immediately inserted into the starting lineup as the center fielder against the Baltimore Orioles.
“This is obviously a better opportunity for me. This is where it all started for me so this is like family,” Powell said. “I’ve wanted my chance and I think now I’m getting my chance. I just gotta go out there and be myself and play well.”
A’s manager Bob Melvin loves the comparison to Gardner that Powell made for himself, which fits the description of the type of players the club is looking to develop as they rebuild for the future.
“It goes along with what we’ve talked about. A pretty aggressive player that plays the game hard and always runs hard,” Melvin said. “That’s what I’ve heard about him so I’m hoping that comp is a good one.”
— How did Powell get his nickname, which shares the same namesake as Boog Powell the Baltimore Orioles legend and 1970 American League MVP? It came from his dad.
Powell’s full name is Herschel Mack Powell IV. He needed a nickname to separate himself from his father, who his family referred to as Mack, and grandfather, referred to as Herschel. Powell’s dad, who was a big Angels fan and all-around baseball enthusiast, began to call him “Boog” around the age of five or six. Powell hated the nickname at first, but it began to grow on him.
I went by “Little Mack” when I was a kid and then my dad started calling be Boog,” Powell said. “My dad coached me in baseball and my teammates started calling me Boog. It just slowly escalated to senior year of high school and everybody called me Boog.”
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