Orlando Cabrera hasn’t struck me as the most vocal guy in the A’s clubhouse. Nice guy, sure. But I didn’t picture him as the take-charge type. Come to find out that it was Cabrera who initiated the players-only meeting for A’s hitters before today’s game. Whatever he said seems to have struck a chord, as the A’s had a season high in runs scored tonight and also put together their biggest rally with a seven-run second inning. Cabrera said his message was simple: Play hard every day, even if it’s in a losing effort.
The A’s made headlines by acquiring four marquee veterans for this season — Jason Giambi, Matt Holliday, Cabrera and Nomar Garciaparra. Of those four, Giambi was the one people pointed to as the clubhouse leader-type, the guy who would speak up when the team fell in a lull. Giambi, indeed, is that type of player. In fact, he and Garciaparra also addressed teammates in the meeting along with Cabrera. But I think the A’s have found a surprise leader in Cabrera along with someone who plays Gold Glove-caliber defense and provides a steady bat.
Just as important as his words, Cabrera raked from the leadoff spot once the game started, going 3-for-5 w/four RBI. Jack Cust hit a three-run homer and Giambi and Holliday added two RBI each.
–One thing I didn’t squeeze into tomorrow’s stories: Reliever Santiago Casilla (sprained right knee) pitched a 1-2-3 inning tonight for Triple-A Sacramento. He’s thrown two perfect innings in his two rehab appearances, and I would think that’s a good sign he’ll be activated from the DL for Friday’s game at Detroit.