By John Hickey
Saturday, April 13th, 2013 at 6:09 pm in 2013 regular season.
Bob Melvin probably will never get into the Earl Weaver/Bobby Cox/Lou Piniella class of managers who seemed to get ejected from games just for the fun of it.
The A’s manager isn’t shy about getting ejected, however. He was thrown out of Saturday’s 7-3 loss to the Tigers by home plate umpire Andy Fletcher after questioning a called third strike against first baseman Brandon Moss.
It was the fifth of six called third strikes against the A’s, who can strike out plenty on their own. Oakland, after all, struck out 17 times in Friday’s 12-inning win over Detroit.
Moss said he didn’t know his manager had been ejected until he came briefly back into the A’s clubhouse while the bottom of the eighth was going on and saw Melvin headed in.
It was the 26th time that Melvin has been ejected, the first this year. He didn’t make excuses for getting ejected, but he didn’t say he and his players were wrong for contesting Fletcher’s strike zone, either.
It’s not unusual for a front-line starting pitcher to get a little leeway in the strike zone from umpires, so the A’s weren’t surprised to see Justin Verlander get some marginal calls. But when the entire Detroit bullpen began to get the same calls, Oakland tempers started to rise.
–Yoenis Cespedes started his day by heading out to have his left hand submitted to an MRI.
Given the way Cespedes looked in the eighth inning when his off-balance slide led to him putting his hand down for bracing, the news that the A’s got – no breaks, no ligament damage – was as good as could have been hoped for.
“When you send a guy in for an MRI like that, you’re hoping there won’t be any ligament damage or anything like that,’’ Melvin said. “So we have to be happy about that and hope that it’ll just take the 15 days.’’
But Cespedes isn’t even close to being happy about the outcome. Asked to talk about his injury, Cespedes turned to interpreter Ariel Prieto and said a few words in Spanish.
“He doesn’t want to talk about it,’’ Prieto said. “He doesn’t like to talk about injuries.’’
Neither do the A’s, but they are facing some. Cespedes is out for two weeks. Coco Crisp isn’t headed for the disabled list, but his groin injury is such that Melvin said he didn’t expect the center fielder to be able to start in Sunday’s series finale.
When you mix in the fact that first baseman Brandon Moss could leave the club any day now on paternity leave, that’s one-third of the A’s lineup potentially out of action.
And that’s why Oakland went out and added Chris Young to the mix over the winter. Even with two outfielders out of action, the A’s were able to start three veteran outfielders – Seth Smith, Young and Josh Reddick – against the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year.
–Josh Donaldson’s 12th inning home run caught him a little bit by surprise.
Donaldson had never hit a home run to right field in the Coliseum, and on a cool and windy night, “it wasn’t exactly favoring right-handed hitters going out to right,’’ he said.
That’s why he ran hard until he saw it clear the wall, then he ran hard the rest of the way because he knew he’d given the a’s their first walkoff win of 2013.
“That’s what you dream about as a little kid,’’ he said, “hitting the homer that wins it for your team. But the way the wind plays here, I wasn’t thinking it would go out. Once it did, it was one great feeling.’’
–Backing up the outfield now is Michael Taylor, who joined the team Saturday morning after being called up from Triple-A Sacramento. He brought with him one of the hottest bats in the Pacific Coast League, a .410 average with five doubles and three homers.
Taylor followed up a so-so spring with a quick jump out of the gate in his first nine games for the River Cats.
“I’ve been really relaxed,’’ Taylor said. “I had a plan, I know what I’ve been doing and I’ve been able to carry it into games. I’m just having some fun, and I’ll be ready when they need me.’’