Bankston trying to adjust to Majors

Bankston trying to adjust to Majors

OAKLAND -- There's no denying the excitement Wes Bankston feels when reminded of his newly acquired status as a Major League player.

Beneath the wide eyes and enthusiastic sensations, though, there's no denying the frustration Bankston feels when reminded of his newly acquired status as a Major League player battling an offensive slump.

"I'm definitely feeling more comfortable here each day," the 24-year-old said from the A's dugout before batting practice on Tuesday. "It's great being here, but I'm not swinging."

That much is evident by his current 0-for-17 skid and 2-for-20 mark since being recalled from Triple-A Sacramento on July 19 for his second stint with the A's this year. Bankston also has been a contributor to Oakland's strikeout-heavy ways, as 10 of those 20 at-bats have resulted in swings and misses.

"His approach in the strike zone is off," offered manager Bob Geren. "There's a bunch of lefties coming up, so he'll get in there soon."

The right-handed-hitting Bankston is expected to sit out Wednesday's series finale against the Royals' right-handed Brian Bannister. He may even have to wait until Saturday for the chance to shake the offensive woes off, as Oakland doesn't face a southpaw until that time when lefty Jon Lester and the Red Sox play host to the A's.

However, that will give the A's first baseman plenty of time to keep developing into what he hopes will be "a guy that drives in runs."

"Right now I'm going up there with no approach," he said. "I'm swinging at everything and maybe trying to do too many things.

"I've always been an aggressive hitter. If I see a good pitch, I'm not going to let it pass by, but I need to be more selective."

Before returning to Sacramento after his first run with the A's at the beginning of July, Bankston was turning heads with a .294 average in nine starts. The infielder said adjusting to big league pitching goes hand in hand with gaining a better sense of the strike zone.

"Here, they challenge you more," he said. "They come after you, so I have to go up and make an adjustment on my end."

Pitching matchup
OAK: RHP Sean Gallagher (4-4, 4.03 ERA)
In his third start with the A's, Gallagher got tagged for five runs (one earned) on nine hits -- two of them home runs -- in 5 1/3 innings against Texas. He struck out five but also walked five in the no-decision. This marks Gallagher's first career starting assignment against Kansas City.

KC: RHP Brian Bannister (7-9, 5.40 ERA)
Bannister was hurt by defensive miscues in his last start on Friday night against Tampa Bay. He lasted just 5 1/3 innings, the extra outs driving his pitch count up to 100, and was charged with three runs (two earned) on seven hits. Bannister did feel he made good adjustments in his delivery on the stretch, a pregame goal. But he still hasn't won since June 23. Bannister started against Oakland on April 18 and was hit for five runs in five innings. The loss came after he'd won his first three starts of the season.

Reliever Joey Devine (right elbow inflammation) made his first rehab appearance with Triple-A Sacramento in Round Rock, Texas, on Monday and surrendered four runs -- three earned -- in one inning for the River Cats. He rejoined the A's on Tuesday and is expected to pitch again for Sacramento on Thursday. "He called me after the game, and he liked the way he felt," said Geren, who hopes the reliever can be activated as early as Friday. "He said he had problems with his location early, but got better as he went on." After giving up three hits and a home run, Devine struck out three in a row to retire the side. ... Keith Foulke (right shoulder inflammation) threw from the mound on Tuesday and is expected to make a rehab appearance with Sacramento on Friday. ... Frank Thomas, who has been battling right quadriceps tendinitis since May 29, continued hitting and running activity for the third straight day and will join the team on the upcoming 10-game road trip. Geren said the Big Hurt will hopefully not need a rehab stint and be activated at some point on the road. ... Rookie first baseman Daric Barton is 5-for-24 with the River Cats in six rehab appearances and continues to have neck stiffness, Geren said. ... A's players and Bay Area celebrities will be on hand in the East Side Club at McAfee Coliseum prior to Wednesday's 12:35 p.m. game against the Royals for the ninth annual MUG Root Beer Float Day. Dana Eveland, Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street, Ryan Sweeney and other Oakland players will join A's wives and broadcasters in serving root beer floats from 10:35 a.m. to 1 p.m., with proceeds benefiting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

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On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• KFRC 106.9 FM/KYCY 1550 AM

Up next
• Thursday: Off-day
• Friday: Athletics (Justin Duchscherer, 10-7, 2.37) at Red Sox (Tim Wakefield, 6-8, 3.94), 4:05 p.m. PT
• Saturday: Athletics (Dana Eveland, 7-7, 3.88) at Red Sox (Jon Lester, 9-3, 3.17), 4:05 p.m. PT

Jane Lee is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.