0

Blackley greets old teammates in new guise

Travis Blackley drops by the A's dugout before Friday's game.

Travis Blackley was all over the place, as always, talking up a storm, as always.

It was almost as if he’d never left. But of course he has, traded by the A’s to the Houston Astros for whom he’s in uniform tonight for the first time.

    He spent time on the first with A’s manager Bob Melvin after the Astros batting practice session was over and hung out to say high to most of his old teammates. And it’s not like this is new to Blackley, who had to face the Giants last year just after San Francisco put him on waivers and Oakland claimed him.

Blackley says he’ll take fond memories of Oakland with him, including the last day, when he’d been waived but took the opportunity to sit with family and friends in the stands, where he was embraced by Oakland fans, most of whom were sorry to see him go.

“I didn’t think anything of it, but some guys came over and invited me out to the right field stands,’’ he said. “Actually, it was really cool. I’d never seen the game from that.’’

Those fans were ones who’d great the Australian pitcher with chants of “Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! OiI’’ when he’d come in the game.

“They’re a fun bunch of fans out there,’’ he said. “Some of them were upset with the move, some wished me well. It was nice to get that kind of reaction. I didn’t expect it.’’

It may be that the A’s see Blackley this weekend, but while he’s been working out after he’d been designated for assignment, he hasn’t faced batter is a while and the Astros may give him a little time to work his way back.

If it happens, Blackley would welcome it.

“I’ve been around so many years that I’m always facing old teammates,’’ he said. “This would be different, facing nine of them in a row.’’

John Hickey

Returning to the Oakland A's beat after a dozen years covering the Seattle Mariners. Covered the A's through the late 1980s and 1990s.