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Bartender, a Jack

Great story developing with the A’s, regarding the daily feats of designated hitter Jack Cust. The minor-league journeyman went deep again Sunday, and this one was a walk-off that capped a series victory over Cleveland. Cust homered in all three games against the Indians, and he’s going long-ball seemingly as often as Mark McGwire did in his rookie campaign of 1987.

Seems stories of this nature happen with the A’s every year. A year ago, Marco Scutaro emerged from deep on the bench to become perhaps the team’s Most Valuable Player. Two years ago, pitcher Kirk Saarloos had a stretch of five or six terrific starts, and Joe Kennedy and Jay Payton were fantastic after being acquired in trades. A couple of years before that, Eric Byrnes went nuts for a three-week stretch and flat-out carried the team.

The point is, it’s not sensible to expect Cust to continue this pace. A guy who has been in the minors as long as him has been there for a reason. That said, there’s no reason to think this can’t keep up for a couple weeks, or a month. And ultimately, that could make a huge difference in where the A’s stand come September.

One other aside: I wonder if Todd Linden has noticed any of this. Linden, unlike I theorized in an earlier blog, was not given a final opportunity to prove he could stay with the Giants, and he’ll likely find himself with another organization soon. What he should take from Cust’s heroics is that it’s never too late to have a moment in the sun. It’s often a matter of finding yourself in the right place at the exact right time. Linden, almost 27, is likely headed toward a career that mirrors Cust’s, but perhaps at some point, he’ll find that place, and that time.

rhurd