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Rookies take center stage for A’s in matchup vs. Rangers

The Oakland Athletics are going full speed ahead with their youth movement.

The A’s could have five rookies in their starting lineup when they take on the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night in the third game of their four-game series in Arlington, Texas.

Shea Langeliers is the latest to make his major league debut for Oakland. He was the designated hitter on Tuesday night and doubled on the first big-league pitch he saw. He eventually scored in the 5-1 victory that ended the A’s nine-game losing streak.

Langeliers is the top-ranked prospect in the Oakland organization, according to MLB Pipeline.

“It was a matter of when, and not if, we were going to bring him up,” A’s general manager David Forst said on a conference call before Tuesday’s game. “He has excelled in every way since starting the season in (Triple-A) Las Vegas. And we knew we wanted to get him here at some point this year.”

Langeliers is primarily a catcher, but that position currently is anchored by Sean Murphy, the reigning AL Gold Glove winner. Murphy hit his 14th home run of the season in the win on Tuesday and remains one of the team’s best offensive threats.

“I don’t think bringing Shea up is about limiting Sean’s workload as much as it is about seeing Shea and getting him some opportunities in the major leagues,” Forst said.

The other rookies expected to be in the batting order on Wednesday are second baseman Nick Allen, first baseman Jonah Bride and center fielder Cal Stevenson.

Rookie right-hander Adam Oller is scheduled to be the A’s starting pitcher on Wednesday.

Oller has faced stiff competition since returning to the starting rotation after a stint in the bullpen. Three of his past five starts have come against the Houston Astros, who own the best record in the American League.

Oller faced Houston in his last outing and gave up two runs and five hits in 4 2/3 innings. He did not receive a decision in the 7-5 loss.

Oller (1-5, 7.26 ERA) faced Texas on April 22 and allowed five runs and five hits in five innings, taking the loss in the 8-1 defeat in Oakland.

The Rangers plan to start rookie left-hander Cole Ragans, who also is coming off a tough outing against the Astros.

Ragans, a first-round pick of the Rangers in 2016, missed the 2018 and 2019 seasons because of back-to-back Tommy John surgeries, and then missed 2020 because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

In his major league debut on Aug. 4, Ragans (0-1, 4.82) held the Chicago White Sox without an earned run over five innings in a 3-2 victory, though he did not receive the decision.

He wasn’t as sharp against the Astros on Thursday, however, giving up five runs and six hits over 4 1/3 innings of a 7-3 loss.

“I didn’t execute very well,” Ragans said of his most recent start. “Fell behind a lot. Obviously, it’s a really good-hitting team. Fall behind, they’re ready for the fastball. You can’t just sneak something by them. They’re ready for it.”

The Rangers are 1-1 since firing Chris Woodward as their manager on Monday.

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