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Soderstrom recalled, homers in return to big leagues
Tyler Soderstrom
Oakland Athletics' Tyler Soderstrom, right, celebrates with Max Schuemann, left, after hitting a two-run home run against the Texas Rangers during the fourth inning in the second baseball game of a doubleheader on Wednesday in Oakland (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez).

Tyler Soderstrom has been hard to ignore the past month or so in the minor leagues. In the month of April with Triple-A Las Vegas, the 2020 Turlock High graduate had 21 hits, including 7 home runs. So when the Oakland Athletics needed an extra position player ahead of Wednesday’s doubleheader against the Texas Rangers, the 22-year-old catcher and first baseman was a prime candidate.

The A’s recalled Soderstrom from Triple-A on Wednesday morning, flying him in from Round Rock, TX just hours before first pitch of the opening game against the Rangers. He did not appear in the 9-4 A’s win, though he was in the starting lineup for the afternoon contest, batting ninth and playing first base.

In his first at-bat in the first inning against Rangers starter Jack Leiter, Soderstrom tagged a single to right field. In the fourth inning, still facing Leiter, the left-hander drove an 89-mile-per-hour fastball to the opposite field bleachers. The home run was blasted 421 feet and marked his fifth career big fly. He went 2-for-5 on the day as Oakland lost a 12-11 marathon.

Soderstrom appeared in 45 games with the Athletics last season. His last game in The Show came on Oct. 1 — the final game of the 2023 regular season. The Turlocker was optioned to Las Vegas on March 17 after a stomach illness derailed his spring training. He played in just 15 Cactus League games, most off the bench, and had just four hits in 33 at-bats. The hope was that, by sending him to Triple-A, he could have more consistent opportunities at the plate.

The 2020 first-round draft pick took full advantage. Soderstrom strung together an eight-game hitting streak in mid-April. During the streak, he had 10 hits while also displaying newfound plate discipline with 6 walks.

“I didn't get really too much of a clear message from the organization,” Soderstrom recalled of the week he was sent down in an April 24 interview with the Turlock Journal. “I think they just want me to come down and, you know, find my swing and start hitting a little bit and see what happens. I’m just down here doing my thing, and whenever the time is right, I'll be ready. We're gonna keep working hard to try and get wins out here.”

The time was right this week, as the A’s major league roster was in desperate need of an offensive boost while also being forced to deal with a multitude of injuries.

Heading into the Wednesday doubleheader, the A’s were tied with the St. Louis Cardinals with the third-worst team batting average in all of baseball with a measly .215 mark. The lack of production led to the demotions of Ryan Noda and Nick Allen earlier this month. A major blow to the roster came on April 24 when star second baseman Zack Gelof suffered an oblique injury. He was replaced by prospect Darrel Hernaiz, who suffered an ankle injury last week.

By being able to play multiple positions as well as serve in the designated hitter role, Soderstrom allows manager Mark Kotsay to move players around the infield depending on pitching matchups while also using him to fill spots in the lineup to give other players rest.

Soderstrom was in the starting lineup again at first base in Seattle for Friday’s game against American League West rival Mariners.