Powell, acquired from the Seattle Mariners on Sunday for Yonder Alonso, was fighting a cold and experienced an asthma attack that he said had him breathing at about 50 percent. He received a breathing treatment and was able to recover quickly. He arrived at the Coliseum about noon on Saturday, ate and began testing himself with some game-speed running.
"Yesterday, I was so let down with myself not being able to make my debut with the A's," Powell said. "Today's the day."
The breathing issue was the worst Powell could remember, and he had only a couple of asthma attacks as a child.
"I think it was just a mixture of being sick, just a bunch of stuff stuck," he said. "I don't know what it was. Yesterday during BP, I honestly couldn't breathe. I was breathing like 50 percent. I went to the ER and had them take a look at me. They gave me a breathing treatment, and I started coughing up all the stuff that was in me. Woke up this morning and felt better, came here at 12 and ran outside -- ran as much as I would in any game -- and I could tolerate it."
Oakland manager Bob Melvin wrote Powell into the lineup leading off and playing center field for the middle game of a series against the Baltimore Orioles, and Powell's parents stayed in town for his second try after the scare. He struck out three times after a walk and single in Oakland's 12-5 loss.
Powell hadn't experienced an asthma attack in at least 10 years, though he keeps an inhaler with him at all times just in case.
"Obviously, yesterday didn't go the way he wanted it to, a little bit of a respiratory infection and had some asthma issues," Melvin said of Powell. "Just didn't feel like it was right thing to do. But he feels good today. He was out here running, and he's ready to go."
Now, Powell's primary goal is to stick in the majors so he can play at Camden Yards when the A's visit Baltimore from Aug. 21-23. There, he plans to meet the other Boog Powell, a former 17-year major league first baseman and left fielder who played mostly for the Orioles and who will be 76 years old next week and running "Boog's BBQ" along the ballpark's outfield concourse.
"I'm going to meet him when I go to Camden Yards and play there. I haven't played there," the Athletics' Powell said. "I'm going to go out to his barbecue either before or after the game, go out there and introduce myself and talk baseball. There's been fans and stuff that come up to me, 'Oh, I just met Boog Powell the other day, the real one.' I'm like, 'I'm real too, not original.' Boog's his nickname too. I'm excited to play there hopefully one day and meet him."
The elder Boog Powell was a 6-foot-4, 230-pound power hitter as a player. Oakland's Powell, listed at 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds, finally began to accept his name.
"He's up here, and I'm down here," said the younger version, formally Herschel Mack Powell IV and nicknamed Boog by his father. "Maybe in a couple years gain some weight and start hitting a lot of homers."