Athletics Shift Lineup: Grossman, Piscotty Move Up, Laureano, Olson Head Down

With Robbie Grossman leading the team in on-base percentage, he's the Oakland Athletics new No. 2 hitter. Stephen Piscotty, who is on pace to set an Oakland record for RBI in August, moves up to No. 5. Meanwhile, Ramón Laureano and Matt Olson get shifted lower in the order.

What kind of year has it been for Stephen Piscotty?

The kind of year where he wasn’t going to be on the Oakland opening day roster because of an oblique injury, only to see the open pushed back four months by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The kind of year where your first career grand slam is a walkoff piece.

The kind of year where he’s spent most of the season near the bottom of the A’s lineup, batting seventh or eighth in 22 of his 25 starts.

The kind of year where on Tuesday he’s been promoted to the middle of the lineup, batting fifth for the first time this season.

The kind of year where he’s finally getting comfortable, so much so that he’s second in the Major Leagues with 22 RBI in August. That’s one shy of the best an Oakland hitter has done in August in the last 16 years - Josh Reddick having had 23 in 2012.

“You know, I missed a lot of game there for a while with injury and spring training,” Piscotty said. “So at the summer camp, it was good to get my feet wet again. And as the season’s gone along, I’ve felt more and more comfortable in the box. It’s just repetition.

“From that perspective, it’s been great. And (Mark) Canha and Robbie (Grossman) have been getting on base like crazy, so it seems like every time I came up there’s someone on, and so I’m getting more comfortable.”

The move of Piscotty, who batted fifth 26 times last year and 17 times in 2018, was just part of a lineup overall by manager Bob Melvin.

Ramón Laureano, who has batted second in every game he’s started this year, was moved to seventh in the wake of a falloff in his productivity following his four-game suspension following a brawl in Oakland against the Astros. Robbie Grossman, who leads the team with a .427 on-base percentage, is batted second.

“You know Robby’s been get on base a lot,” Melvin said. “And Ramon has maybe been a little bit rusty coming back.

Mark Canha, who has mostly batted fifth (22 times) moves back into the cleanup role for the sixth time. And Matt Olson, who has hit third, fourth or fifth all season, is batting sixth.

“Oly’s been struggling a little bit been though he walking and getting on base, so we’re just trying to move some up in the order – Piscotty’s a little higher, Canha’s a little higher – guys that are swinging the bat a little better right now.

“I have no doubt that these guys will be back in their spots at some point in time. But over the courser of a season, you do this several times. But my guess is it won’t be like this for long.”

Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3

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