Near the end of his suspension, Ramón Laureano prepares to play

 

As if he had known, Christian Pache stopped by Ramon Laureano’s locker and chatted with the center fielder this week before Oakland’s first preseason game.

Just minutes earlier, Laureano had described to reporters his terrific relationship with fellow Dominican Pache, a top prospect who was part of Atlanta’s loan package this week for All-Star first baseman Matt Olson.

Laureano and Pache met during the break between campaigns, in his native Santo Domingo. The rangers trained together, not knowing that they would be partners. Now, they have developed a relationship where the former is the mentor.

Pache, 23, bombarded Laureano, 27, with questions. He wanted to adjust as quickly as possible to his new clubhouse after six years in the Braves organization.

“When he asks me questions, I always try to help him,” Laureano said. “I think he’s eager to learn, like I was at one time. He gets a routine every day, so you get used to his game and his day. He is doing it.”

That same afternoon, Laureano started center field, as he was allowed in the Cactus League, even as he remains suspended for a total of 80 games after testing positive for a banned drug in 2021.

Laureano will miss the first month of the regular season, while he finishes serving the sanction.

“I’m thankful that (Mark) Kotsay came up to me and told me he was playing the first game,” Laureano said of the manager, who is in his first year with the A’s.

For his part, Kotsay commented: “As for Ramon, you know he loves baseball. He evidently deprived himself of that by his own actions, but he has taken responsibility. He is part of this culture and this team.”

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“As we move forward, we will manage his workload, because he does have 27 days (games left on his suspension) once the season starts,” he added. “And he’s going to get a chance to play enough games and do enough reps to be ready.”

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