NEW YORK -- A year ago, Jemile Weeks was one of the bright spots on a losing team. Now, he finds himself as a backup on a team deep in the hunt for late October. The second baseman's second season hasn't gone the way he'd hoped, but he's pleased to be part of a contending team.
Weeks, a switch-hitter, has batted just .222 this season, and he's managed to go 107 games without a home run. All but one of those games has come while Weeks has been playing second base, and he's just six games from tying a team record set by former infielder Mike Edwards (113).
The A's optioned Weeks, the 12th-overall selection in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, to Triple-A Sacramento for a few weeks last month, and he's played in just three games since his return. But Weeks, who batted .303 as a rookie, isn't ready to push the panic button yet.
"My performance level wasn't where I wanted it. It wasn't where the team wanted it," he said. "You learn from it and you move on. You either get tougher from the grind or it breaks you down. I understand what I've got to do at this point and I don't feel pressure that I'm not the player I know I am."
The A's don't expect power from Weeks, but it would be a nice fringe benefit. The dimunitive infielder went 90 games without a homer last season, and he's had two homers in each of his first two seasons. Now, with his demotion behind him, Oakland wants Weeks to get back to basics.
"He was fine about it. He understands," said manager Bob Melvin. "And I think it gave him a little bit of a break to not have to grind the way he was doing so much. Take a step back, [get] some perspective, and not have to play under the kind of pressure that he did here. You know what? There are bumps in the road in everybody's career, and I think it's going to be a small bump. I think he'll be right back on it next year and doing the things we expect him to do. And that he expects himself to do."
Weeks, the younger brother of Milwaukee regular Rickie Weeks, said that his family has been a great resource for him his whole life. But a moment later, he said that he doesn't necessarily call his brother after a difficult game, and he doesn't expect Rickie to start calling him after an 0-for-5 either.
"We're not the sympathetic types," said Weeks. "We understand the grind of the season and that every day isn't going to be your best day. You just go out there and you put your best on the field. We don't have to tell each other to do that. You just do it and you see what you come up with."