OAKLAND -- The A's are nothing if not a young team. They currently have 10 rookies and three other young players on the roster, and the team has used a Major League-leading 17 rookies this season.
But as manager Bob Melvin likes to say, the organization's propensity for youth doesn't mean that the players don't have to earn their lineup spots -- and recent callups Derek Norris and Chris Carter have done enough to earn more time leading up to the All-Star break.
Norris, 23, made a splash June 24, when he hit a walk-off home run against the Giants for his first career long ball. The catcher has been solid outside of that memorable play, too, hitting .333 and managing the A's pitching staff well.
Norris has started six of 11 games since he was called up from Triple-A Sacramento on June 21, and he will likely see a bit more playing time given how he's produced. Melvin said before Monday's series opener against the Red Sox that he's been pleased with how his rookie backstop has adjusted to the Majors and that Norris will play two of the three games against Boston. The manager's also happy since it means he can keep veteran catcher Kurt Suzuki fresh.
"One, I can give [Suzuki] some more rest," Melvin said. "He was dealing with the hand issue, playing all the time day games after night games and stuff like that. Add in a guy that deserves to be behind the plate and doing some things, [Norris has] caught [Travis] Blackley very well, he's caught some other guys real well and he's swinging the bat well."
Having just been called up on Friday, Carter has had even less time to impress than Norris, but he's still been able to do so. The first baseman collected three hits, two of them home runs, in seven at-bats against the Rangers over the weekend.
With Oakland scheduled to face three left-handers in the team's final five games before the All-Star break, Melvin said first base will be a true platoon position at least until then. The right-handed-hitting Carter will be in the lineup against left-handed pitchers, and the lefty-swinging Brandon Moss will face right-handers.
"I think to this point, confidence-wise, it's probably best to give [Carter] lefties right now," Melvin said. "You can't shut Moss down either. He's a guy that's done some good things here. It just is what it is. We feel like the matchups will be good for both of them."