A's outfielder Butler reflects on his slow start to 2024 season

A's outfielder Butler reflects on his slow start to 2024 season originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Lawrence Butler is grateful to be in the midst of his first full MLB season.

Butler, after being selected No. 173 overall by the Athletics in 2018 and having clawed his way up Oakland’s pipeline, had his big break during spring training.

The 23-year-old played 21 games, registering 20 hits and hit .364 with an .928 OPS, earning himself a spot on Mark Kotsay’s Opening Day roster and the ability to shed the weight off of his back, Butler told NBC Sports California's Bip Roberts during the latest installment of "Field Vision."

"I was kind of just feeling a sigh of relief because spring training isn't guaranteed, especially for a player like me,” Butler told Roberts. “I wasn't guaranteed a spot on the roster coming out of spring, so just to be able to make the team out of spring is huge.”

And although the first month of the 2024 season didn’t give Butler the warmest of welcomes, the outfielder isn’t unfamiliar with facing challenges head on.

“And [the] first month of the season, it has been a little bit colder than I expected, but you got to get used to it because you're in the big leagues,” added Butler, who went to Westlake High School in Atlanta. “This is what they are paying you for. We've been playing a lot of great ball. The start of the season wasn't exactly how we wanted it but we've turned it around, we've progressed, and we fought through the adversity."

At the plate, things have not been going in Butler’s favor. In his last 15 games entering Saturday's contest against the Miami Marlins, Butler hit .152/.243/.273 with five hits and one home run.

Despite the shortcoming, Butler acknowledges he’s contributing to a red-hot A’s – who are 7-3 in their last 10 games and are only 1.5 games behind the division-leading Seattle Mariners – in other ways and knows that in due time, he’ll shore up the rest of his game.

"Results haven't been there but I'm hitting the ball hard, I'm leading the team in walks, so I'm just trying to see as many pitches, put up as many good at-bats as I can,” Butler said. “Baseball is a game of ups and downs.

“So as long as you stay steady, working, control what you can control, things will turn around in your favor."

It goes without noting that the MLB season is the longest of them all, allowing for an unprecedented number of highs and lows. The A’s cold to hot trajectory this early in the season serves as the quintessential example.

And as May kicks the baseball season into high gear, Butler’s goals are clear: Improving individually, especially if it means wins for the A’s.

"I just want to continue winning games, of course,” Butler said. “That's the No. 1 priority for me and the team. Just win as many games as we can.

“But me personally, I just want to continue to have great at-bats, continue to give my team the best chances to win the game, continue to play great defense, help my pitchers out.

“They're doing a phenomenal job. Even if I'm not doing great statistics wise, I just want to help my team. I just want to help my team get [runners in scoring position] so the next person behind me can clean it up."

After all, this is Butler’s first full MLB season – and he certainly doesn’t want it to be his last.