Ramón Laureano's return spoiled as Athletics' losing streak hits nine games

·3 min read

Laureano's return spoiled as A's lose ninth straight originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

After missing 80 games between this season and last, Athletics outfielder Ramón Laureano returned to the starting lineup on Sunday in the midst of a gloomy losing streak.

Their long-lost outfielder wasn’t the answer for the A’s, however, as they were swept for the third straight series following their 4-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.

Laureano went 0-for-4 at the plate in his first game since being suspended on Aug. 6 for violating MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. He served 53 games of his suspension last season and missed the A’s first 27 games this year, making his return against the Twins after a 10-game rehab stint at Triple-A Las Vegas.

Before Oakland lost its ninth game in a row, Laureano told reporters ahead of Sunday’s series finale he was excited to be back and help his team compete. He watched every game while he was suspended, he said.

“They’re good, you’ve just got to give them time,” Laureano said. “It’s just part of baseball … It’s a grind, and you’ve got to have fun with it. You’ve got to have fun in the dugout … You’ve got to keep going.”

A wrinkle in Laureano’s return was the unanticipated ascension of rookie Cristian Pache in center field. After starting 75 games in center for Oakland last season, Laureano made the shift to right field on Sunday. He started eight games there in 2021.

The two Dominican outfielders got to know each other during spring training, where Laureano was able to compete with the team outside of his suspension. He said Pache’s start to the season has been “outstanding,” and the pair would text each other while Laureano was away.

“He’s something else out there,” Laureano said of Pache. “I’ve got a better arm, so it works better [in right field] than in center. And Pache’s outstanding there, so why not, you know?”

Laureano saw some action off the bat of Gio Urshela in the fourth inning, who crushed a sharp line drive that forced the now-right fielder to make a running catch. It was much to the delight of A’s starter Daulton Jefferies (1-5), who was tagged with the loss after allowing four earned runs off seven hits in five innings.

“On the field, in the locker room, guy’s a spark plug,” Jefferies said of Laureano after the game. “We’re very thankful to have him back. I was really happy to see his face today.”

Neither Laureano’s big play nor RBI singles from both Chad Pinder and Seth Brown were enough for Oakland to snap its losing streak on Sunday, however.

But Laureano is going to do everything in his power to make sure he can have an impact on turning the A’s season around.

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“I’m just going to be myself,” Laureano said. “I’ll leave it at that.”