Oroville Mercury-Register

Newcomer Bleday is glad for opportunit­y

- By Cole Bradley

As a number of familiar faces filed into the Hohokam Stadium clubhouse Friday morning, former Marlins outfielder J.J. Bleday made his anticipate­d arrival to his new digs.

Joining his new teammates just six days after being traded for fellow former top10 draft pick A.J. Puk, Bleday had his first workout with the A’s. In between rounds of batting practice, he shook hands and introduced himself to manager Mark Kotsay and some of his teammates.

“I just got in yesterday,” Bleday said with a smile on his face.

Bleday said that he received the news of the trade from Marlins general manager Kim Ng during an alumni event for Vanderbilt baseball — his alma mater — in Nashville. He said the call was “definitely a blindside.”

Earlier that day, Bleday said he was at a Marlins fanfest event before boarding a flight to Tennessee.

“Definitely a little sense of bitterness at first, but once it kind of settled in, man, I’m really happy to be here,” Bleday said. “I think it’s going to be a good fit and an exciting opportunit­y.”

Bleday, 25, was selected by the Marlins with the fourth overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft before becoming one of the organizati­on’s top prospects. Struggles at the plate throughout much of his three minor league seasons to this point kept him from joining the big league club before a breakout performanc­e in Arizona Fall League in 2021.

Bleday hit .316 in 95 atbats that fall, tagging 15 extra-base hits en route to landing AFL Hitter of the Year honors.

He was called up to the Marlins for the first time last season and made his major-league debut in July, though he struggled once again to produce at the plate, hitting .167 in 204 at-bats.

Bleday is looking to make the most of his new opportunit­y with the A’s.

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