OAKLAND — On the surface, Eric Sogard might seem to be the last person on the Athletics' roster to have a catchy nickname and a growing cult following.
He's a quiet, mostly reserved infielder who gets the majority of the playing time in the Athletics' second base platoon. While most players wear contact lenses if they need help with their vision, Sogard stands out by wearing glasses.
The 27-year-old left-handed hitter says he never has felt the need to wear contact lenses — that he likes his glasses — but his teammates suggest that it's nerdy, in a playful way, of course. Sogard's eyewear has suddenly become a big deal because he's on a hot streak that includes a personal-best nine-game hitting streak heading into Friday's series opener against Texas.
The A's call it "Nerd Power" every time Sogard gets a big hit, which lately has been often. It's not meant to be disparaging but is a sign of respect from his teammates and the A's fans.
After each big Sogard hit, his teammates put their thumbs and forefingers together in an open circle and put it to their eyes as a kid might do to simulate binoculars. Now the fans are starting to pick up on.
"It's fun; I enjoy all the nicknames," Sogard said. "Obviously wearing glasses kind of attracts a little attention, but it's exciting to have those fans out there. They're the best fans."
Sogard is 13 for 34 (.382 average) during his nine-game hit streak, and he has lifted his average to .273. Ten of his last 20 hits have been for extra bases (eight doubles, two homers).
The sizzling bat has earned Sogard a promotion to the top of the lineup. When the A's face right-handed pitching, Sogard hits second. Part of that is because John Jaso, the regular No. 2 batter against right-handers, is on the disabled list. But it's also because Sogard is one of the few A's still hitting while much of the offense struggles to snap out of a three-week slump.
"It's nice, but I don't make too much of it," Sogard said of the promotion. "The way I look at it, I'm only moving two spots in the lineup (he was batting ninth). But it does mean I'm getting an extra at-bat per game."
Manager Bob Melvin said Sogard's current output is similar to how the quiet infielder hit in spring training, when he was considered a long shot to win a roster spot.
Sogard also looks back to spring training.
"Over the (All-Star) break, I just kind of wanted to hit that reset button and kind of go back to finding that spring-training swing that I had," he said. "Not trying to do too much.
"And from the first at-bat, I've felt really comfortable, seeing the ball really well and just having fun."
The A's are having fun watching him do it.
"It's every day," left fielder Yoenis Cespedes said through interpreter Ariel Prieto. "He's always ready to play. He always gives a complete effort."