Nate Freiman realizes how impossible it is to predict the future.
It was just four years ago that the San Diego Padres took him in the eighth round of the draft.
He spent those years in their farm system, his swing screaming out power potential. His eyes — and bat — lit up at the sight of lefthanded pitching.
The next thing he knew, he was a Rule 5 pick caught in a weird web of waivers, bouncing from Houston, where he spent spring training this year, to Oakland, where he has been since the start of the season.
By rule, if the A’s don’t keep him on their 25-man roster, he could end up back with the Padres. Right now, though, as unpredictable as things are, the big first baseman/DH is enjoying them.
“It’s a very unique situation,” Freiman said. “Just got plucked from one team to another and now I’m with a third team. Loving it over here.
“I’m also aware of the rules regarding my situation, but I can’t focus on that too much. Just, when I’m in there, just try to help the team win.”
Freiman, 26, has played nine games so far this season, knowing that opportunities will be sporadic.
But his approach has been to keep his head down, absorb as much as possible, and take advantage of them when they come.
He is only 3 for 20, but has hit his first major league home run and knocked in five runs.
In the A’s series-opening loss to the Red Sox Monday night, he went 0 for 2 but worked a one-out walk in the fifth inning and eventually came around to score.
“As a reserve player, if I can get in there and score a run, it’s a good day,” he said.
Although he wasn’t in the lineup Tuesday night, manager Bob Melvin said Freiman has been a good fit in the clubhouse.
“He’s been great,” said Melvin. “He’s all about the team. He prepares hard. He works as hard as you can in pregame stuff and is always ready for his opportunities in the game.
“Doesn’t expect anything, and we like to let him know ahead of time when he’s going to get a start, but he’s fit in pretty well here and on top of that has some ability. It’s just trying to get him some regular at-bats that’s a little more difficult.”
Freiman lives to hit the baseball, and his work ethic is praised by coaches.
“It’s a mixture of work and enjoying hitting,” Freiman said. “I like being in the cage. I could spend all day in there.”
But so much of the opportunity is out of his hands.
“I’m in control of what I do in preparation and what I give on the field, but after that it’s out of my control,” Freiman said. “In the big leagues, a guy like me who’s just made it up for the first time, I’m just trying to stay out of the way, let the veterans guys run the show and just let them do their thing.”
This trip has been something of a homecoming for Freiman, who is a Wellesley native. He kept the ticket requests to a minimum Monday, but the Red Sox donated several to Wellesley High School, enough for the school’s athletic director, coach, players, and some administrators to attend.
“It was really nice of the Sox,” Freiman said.
Because of the weather Tuesday, they didn’t get a chance to take in batting practice, but Freiman planned on going out to the field to see them.
“There’s pride,” Freiman said. “When I was younger, I wanted to play at Fenway, and I had the chance last night. It was an amazing experience.”
He has seen history at Fenway. He was there for Games 1 and 2 of the World Series in 2004.
“That was an amazing, amazing experience,” he said.
Taking the field took it to a different level.
“It was surreal,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of games there. To be on the field was kind of cool.”
It’s one of the opportunities that he’ll take as they come to him.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity to be part of a good team,” said Freiman. “But I’m just going to take it a day at a time and see what happens.
“I could be in a whole lot of different places a couple months from now. So I’ll just worry about today and do the best I can.”