What Will the A's Do Once Mark Ellis Returns from Injury

Steven ResnickSenior Writer IMay 3, 2009

CHICAGO - JULY 06: Gregorio Petit #2 of the Oakland Athletics ends up on the back of DeWayne Wise #31 of the Chicago White Sox after tagging him out in the 2nd inning on July 6, 2008 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox defeated the Athletics 4-3. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Oakland A's have a problem, and it's a good one, but the question that Billy Beane and manager Bob Geren are going to have to answer is what are they going to do with Mark Ellis once he gets off the 15-day disabled list?

Since, Gregorio Petit has filled in nicely for Ellis in his limited time in the big leagues. Last year Petit proved he belonged in the majors and in fact should have been one of the young players the A's kept on the big league roster instead of sending him down.

Even before the Ellis injury the A's needed to do something at second base. Ellis hasn't hit very well since his break out season in 2007 at .276. Including the start of this year batting only .206 and being out four-to-six weeks.

This will give Petit the opportunity to shine. Eric Patterson hasn't proven he belongs in the majors and should be sent back down to Sacramento and the A's should bring up either another left handed to go into the bullpen or first basemen.

When Petit was called up he wasn't exactly stinging the ball in Sacramento he only had a .239 average. Yet, looking at what Petit did in his limited time in 2008 for the A's he should have been on the opening day roster as a backup infielder.

In 14 games last year, he batted .348 had a on-base percentage of .400. He didn't drive in any runs, but he proved he could get the job done while playing second base.

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Was it the least surprising that Petit did well in his first start of the season for the A's? The answer is no. The surprising thing is why wasn't he up their sooner and why wasn't he part of the youth movement at the end the 2008 season.

In 2008 when he got his first start of the A's, Petit went 2-3 with a walk, a strike out, and a double.

For the start of the 2009 season for him he went 3-4 with one rbi which was the game winner. So, in his season debuts Petit has gone 5-7 with an RBI, a walk, and a double.

The A's need to keep Petit in the lineup. When he's at the plate he has a plan and he has confidence that he can get the job done at the plate something the A's desperately need from the second base position.

When Ellis does return from injury it's going to be hard for the A's too keep Petit out of the lineup. Ellis may see time at first base if Petit continues to hit the ball and Ellis will also be a defensive replacement in late innings when he doesn't start and Petit does.

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