Maxwell still seen as starter at catcher

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - BASEBALL - By John Shea John Shea is The San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle’s na­tional base­ball writer.

OR­LANDO — Un­til fur­ther no­tice, the A’s still view Bruce Maxwell as their No. 1 catcher in 2018.

Maxwell pleaded not guilty Tues­day in Phoenix to as­sault charges af­ter he al­legedly waved a gun at a food-de­liv­ery per­son last month. Ma­jor League Base­ball will in­ves­ti­gate the mat­ter, and Maxwell could be sub­ject to dis­ci­pline by MLB or the A’s.

“I don’t want to talk about the off-field stuff right now. We’ll let the crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings play out,” gen­eral man­ager David Forst said at the GM meet­ings in Or­lando. “But from a base­ball stand­point, I ex­pect Bruce to be our catcher next year.”

Maxwell hit .237 with three homers and 22 RBIs in 76 games as a rookie and late in the sea­son be­came the first big-leaguer to take a knee dur­ing the na­tional an­them.

Forst called Maxwell, a sec­ond-round pick in the 2012 draft, a good re­ceiver and thrower who works well with pitch­ers and has dis­played a po­tent bat at dif­fer­ent stages in his pro ca­reer.

“The in­ter­est­ing thing about Bruce is at var­i­ous times, he has shown he can do ev­ery­thing,” said Forst, adding that Maxwell has a good re­la­tion­ship with pitch­ing coach Scott Emer­son, “which can go a long way.”

The A’s have most of their lineup set but want to add a right-handed-hit­ting out­fielder, and it was learned they have in­ter­est in Avi­sail Gar­cia of the White Sox, or at least that type of player.

Gar­cia, 26, is com­ing off a break­out sea­son and was a first-time All-Star, hit­ting .330 with 18 homers and 80 RBIs in 136 games. Chicago GM Rick Hahn said he’s open to trad­ing Gar­cia and first base­man Jose Abreu, both of whom are un­der club con­trol through 2019.

The A’s an­tic­i­pate left fielder Khris Davis mov­ing more into a des­ig­nated-hit­ter role. Matt Joyce is the main right fielder, and a col­lec­tion of oth­ers can play cen­ter, in­clud­ing Chad Pin­der, Boog Pow­ell, Dustin Fowler and Mark Canha.

Fowler, one of three prospects ac­quired from the Yan­kees in the Sonny Gray trade, is pro­gress­ing from a rup­tured patel­lar ten­don in his right knee, and he is in Ari­zona this week work­ing out. Canha is ex­pected to be ready for spring train­ing af­ter un­der­go­ing wrist surgery this month.

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