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Kurt Suzuki is still the guiding hand for A’s young pitchers

A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki had reporters surrounding him after Monday’s 1-0 victory over Seattle. It wasn’t to talk about him vying for playing time with Derek Norris. It wasn’t to pepper him with questions about what his future might be with the team. The scribes wanted to talk about A’s lefty Tommy Milone, and how the rookie pitcher worked with Suzuki to pull off the A’s eighth shutout of the season. That is what Suzuki does best, after all — study the opponent, know how to attack hitters and call a smart game for his young pitchers. That will not change, no matter how much playing time Norris might take from him.

“Zuk did a great job with (Milone) reading swings,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “(They pitched) away when they were looking in, and in when they were looking away.” Added Milone: “There’s not many times where I shake off Suzuki. He’s been around a lot longer than I have.”

This has got to be a challenging time for Suzuki, whose status as the A’s everyday catcher was set in stone until Norris was called up last week. And the kid has made quite a splash, calling good games on his own and hitting a walkoff homer Sunday afternoon. Watching Suzuki on a daily basis, however, you wouldn’t know it. He’s personable and chatty with reporters and still the same guy with his teammates. He’s handling this challenge to his job security like a pro, which is no surprise to those who know him.

–A couple postgame updates:

*Melvin said Brandon Hicks would start at first base Tuesday, giving Brandon Moss his first day off. Moss looks like he could use it. He’s on a 1 for 14 streak.

*Melvin also confirmed after the game that Yoenis Cespedes would start somewhere in the outfield Tuesday, though he didn’t say whether that would be in center or left field.

**Travis Blackley, a former Mariner, takes the hill Tuesday. He is 1-1 with a 9.95 ERA in three career starts at Safeco Field.

Joe Stiglich