San Francisco Chronicle - (Sunday)

Laureano ready to throw

- By Matt Kawahara Matt Kawahara covers the A’s for The San Francisco Chronicle.

Ramón Laureano took Pat Valaika’s single to center field on one bounce. Ryan Mountcastl­e rounded second base headed for third. Laureano fired a throw to Matt Chapman on a line. Chapman had time to pivot and apply the tag.

Laureano’s arm is wellregard­ed. The ninthinnin­g play in the A’s loss Friday night to Baltimore was his 24th assist since his debut in August 2018, most among outfielder­s in that time. Of those, 19 came in his first 169 games. Just five occurred since the start of the 2020 season, with teams less eager to test his throwing.

“I mean, I notice that,” Laureano said Saturday morning. “But, hey, I just keep being aggressive, expecting that they’re going to run.”

A’s manager Bob Melvin said he was not surprised by Mountcastl­e’s attempt to go firsttothi­rd Friday on a oneout single in the ninth. Laureano’s throw might have been pivotal, erasing a runner in scoring position in a onerun game. The A’s put the potential tying run on base in the bottom of the inning but didn’t score.

“He hasn’t had many opportunit­ies,” Melvin said of Laureano. “Sometimes that frustrates him a little bit because he likes to throw. … Even though he doesn’t get the opportunit­ies, he’s still out there throwing every day.”

Chances might be less frequent. Last season, Laureano began positionin­g deeper in center field. It allowed him more range on deep flyballs, which he deemed a worthwhile tradeoff for fewer shots at assists. He said Saturday he still expects to be tested.

“Always anticipati­ng that they’re going to go and just being ready to execute,” Laureano said. “Doesn’t matter if he’s slow or fast. I’m always anticipati­ng to throw it.”

Briefly: First baseman Matt Olson (eye) took ground balls and swings in the cage Saturday, but Melvin said it is unlikely Olson plays Sunday. … Lefthander A.J. Puk (biceps) threw a bullpen session Saturday; Melvin said “we’ll see how he responds” before setting another session. … Righthande­d reliever Burch Smith (groin) is scheduled to pitch two simulated innings at the alternate site in Stockton on Sunday.

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