The A’s try to make it two in a row at Safeco Field, where much to my amazement the roof is once again being opened for tonight’s game. It rained much of the afternoon in Seattle, and the roof was closed through batting practice. But apparently the forecast calls for it to be dry the rest of the night. … Dry and chilly …
–Yoenis Cespedes makes his return to the outfield, and he’s playing center with Coco Crisp getting a night off. Bob Melvin says it will be a daily call with how much Cespedes plays the outfield in the aftermath of his hamstring injury. I think a couple things come into play with that decision: 1) The A’s don’t want Cespedes pushing his hamstring with too much running on defense. And 2) They’ve got another quality outfield option in Seth Smith, and Smith’s offensive numbers are much better when he plays the outfield as opposed to DH’ing. So expect Smith and Jonny Gomes to split up DH duties, but don’t be surprised to see Cespedes still get the occasional start there.
–Travis Blackley takes the mound for the A’s. How big (and unexpected) has this guy’s performance been so far? You can bet that one secret to his success has been that Blackley doesn’t get too uptight on days he pitches. Some pitchers crawl into their own little world and don’t want a word spoken to them on days they pitch. Blackley is the opposite. He’s looking for people to chat with in the clubhouse beforehand. It’s actually pretty refreshing to see.
Derek Norris catches him tonight. For the time being, look for Kurt Suzuki to catch Jarrod Parker and Tommy Milone, and Norris to catch Blackley, Tyson Ross and A.J. Griffin. Melvin likes pairing Norris with pitchers he’s familiar with from Triple-A, and Suzuki has been a guiding hand for Parker and Milone since spring training. That rotation isn’t locked in forever, Melvin said, but that’s the criteria he’s using to budget out playing time right now …
A’s — Weeks 2B, Hicks 1B, Reddick RF, Cespedes CF, Inge 3B, Smith LF, Gomes DH, Norris C, Pennington SS; Blackley LHP.
Mariners — Ichiro DH, Gutierrez CF, Seager 3B, Montero C, Smoak 1B, Saunders LF, Wells RF, Ackley 2B, Ryan SS; Vargas LHP.