Weeks optioned to Triple-A Sacramento

Weeks optioned to Triple-A Sacramento

OAKLAND -- In an active offseason, the A's early on identified franchise cornerstone Jemile Weeks as their one and only untouchable player.

That he still might be, but he's not immune to a demotion, as he learned Tuesday afternoon.

With newly acquired shortstop Stephen Drew on his way to Oakland, Weeks was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento just one year removed from a remarkable rookie season. Hitting just .220 this year with the second-lowest slugging percentage in the American League at .305, the 25-year-old second baseman wasn't exactly stunned by the move.

"For some reason I feel like I was prepared for the news," said Weeks, sporting street clothes as his teammates dressed for the annual team photo. "It's disappointing, because I know I could have done more as a player. I still feel like I did a lot of things I wanted to do. The hitting part just wasn't there, and that's probably more of the reason why I'm going down."

"This will give him the opportunity to go down there and work on some things without the everyday pressure that you get at the big league level," manager Bob Melvin said. "Once you go through a season where you continue to struggle some, it can weigh on you, certainly mentally and physically. He hasn't performed to the level that we've gotten used to seeing in the last year, but that doesn't mean he won't have the type of career we expect him to have in this organization and that he expects himself to have. Sometimes these things can be a blessing in disguise."

Melvin will subsequently move forward with a platoon at second base, with Adam Rosales garnering the majority of starts against right-handers and Cliff Pennington -- no longer the go-to option at shortstop with Drew in tow -- getting starts with left-handers on the mound. Pennington has just 16 career games under his belt at second base, all coming in his 2008 rookie year, and 46 more to his name in the Minors.

Pennington was thought to be the more likely choice to be sent down Tuesday, what with Drew taking over his position in the midst of a disappointing offensive campaign that's resulted in a meek .198 average and .549 OPS. Being more seasoned could have given him the edge, though Melvin remained rather mum on the topic, only expanding when asked about his confidence in Pennington at a new position.

"We just think that he can," he said. "He's a good middle of the diamond defender. The one variable that he's not used to is turning the double play on the other side, even though we do shift quite a bit and he is over on that side. He takes ground balls every day and he'll turn double plays based on who is taking ground balls at shortstop. We think he has the defensive ability to pull that off."

Weeks, who hit .303 with 22 stolen bases in 97 games with the A's last year, could be back as soon as Sept. 1, when rosters expand. Between now and then, he'll seek consistency, all the while maintaining the same confidence he displayed when speaking to reporters Tuesday, telling them, "At the end of the day, I'm going to be a star in this game. You gotta have your ups and downs. It just makes the story so much sweeter when you come back. I don't wanna expound too much on it, but you're looking at a star, period.

"I think there have been times in big games where I've gotten hits, times where I've put together two or three hits, but it just hasn't been consistent," he said. "Until that consistency comes, you're in jeopardy of this happening. It's the game. It's anybody's job."