Baseball

MLB: Oakland Athletics designate Prairie Ridge grad Nick Martini for assignment

Oakland Athletics' Nick Martini high-fives teammates in the dugout after scoring on Matt Chapman's single in the third inning Sept. 12, 2018 against the Baltimore Orioles.
Oakland Athletics' Nick Martini high-fives teammates in the dugout after scoring on Matt Chapman's single in the third inning Sept. 12, 2018 against the Baltimore Orioles.

Nick Martini experienced an unforgettable moment at Wrigley Field on Aug. 5, hitting a pinch-hit, two-run home run in Oakland’s 6-5 loss to the Cubs.

Unfortunately for Martini, that moment may be all he gets this year. Playing time and at-bats were sparse; he had only that one hit in 11 at-bats, and on Monday the A’s designated him for assignment.

That move means Martini is no longer protected on the Athletics’ 40-man roster. Oakland can return Martini to the 40-man roster after seven days, place him on waivers, trade or release him or outright him to the minor leagues.

Martini, a 2008 Prairie Ridge graduate, was hitting .328 at Triple-A Las Vegas before he was called back to the major leagues. He had hit eight homers and 40 RBIs.

Martini was called up just before the A’s came to Chicago for a week (three games at Wrigley Field and three more at the White Sox’s Guaranteed Rate Field). Martini had attended numerous games at Wrigley through the years with his family, who cheered for the Cubs.

This time, Martini’s family and friends cheered for the A’s and were thrilled when Martini grinded out an 11-pitch at-bat against Cubs reliever Steve Cishek, ending it with a two-run homer.

Martini played 55 games with the A’s in 2018, hitting .296 with one homer and 19 RBIs and an on-base percentage of .397. A’s manager Bob Melvin often used Martini in the leadoff spot and Oakland finished 97-65 to make the playoffs.

But Martini suffered a Grade 2 PCL tear in a late February spring training game when he caught a spike on the warning track and injured his right knee. That injury set him back at least two months, and Martini had to work his way back to the majors.

Martini has two minor league options left, so he could be claimed on waivers by another team.

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