By John Hickey
Friday, April 26th, 2013 at 11:33 pm in 2013 regular season.
Jed Lowrie was confronted with something odd Friday.
He came to the Coliseum and saw his name in the lineup, as usual.
He was listed as the second baseman, which was anything but usual. He was a semi-regular second baseman with the Red Sox back in 2010, but he’d only played one game there since, that in 2011.
It was unusual, because A’s manager Bob Melvin likes to give his players as much warning as possible when a player is going to be asked to do something outside their comfort zone.
“I found out when I got here at three (o’clock),’’ Lowrie said.
Lowrie wasn’t complaining, and if he would have liked more notice, he only hinted at it. What he did say is that if he’s going to play second base some, then he’s going to have to make time to work out there.
“I felt all right there,’’ he said, “but I’m going to need more reps if they want me to play over there a lot.’’
He won’t need those reps Saturday. Plans are for him to play at shortstop with Eric Sogard at second base. But against left-handers it seems likely that Adam Rosales will get the call over Sogard, and the A’s powers that be seem to like the idea of Rosales at short rather than at second.
You could look at it as if the A’s were getting ready for the emergence, perhaps next month, of Hiroyuki Nakajima at shortstop. It’s the only position he plays, and he’s perhaps two or three days shy of going out on an injury rehabilitation assignment.
But some club insiders say it’s all about Sogard vs. Rosales, at least for the moment. One is at his best playing shortstop, one is at his best at second base. And as Lowrie was acquired by the club in part for his versatility, that versatility may force him to do the one thing he’s said all along he’d prefer not to do – to move between positions depending on whether it’s Sogard’s day or Rosales’ day.
It was an eventful day at second base for Lowrie. He seemed to have turned a double play, or at least gotten a force, when he took a throw from Josh Donaldson in the second, but it was ruled that Donaldson’s throw had pulled Lowrie off the bag.
“I didn’t see the replay,’’ Lowrie said, “but I thought I stayed on the bag. But it’s a judgment call.’’
Then in the ninth inning, Lowrie muffed a grounder leading to one of the two last-inning runs being unearned.
“More reps,’’ Lowrie repeated.
–Josh Reddick’s average is floundering at .169 coming into the weekend, but that didn’t prevent Melvin from moving Reddick back to the No. 3 slot in the lineup. Melvin had started Reddick there early in the season, but the right fielder’s struggles forced Melvin to move him lower in the lineup after the 12th games of the season. Lately, however, he’s been picking it up (6-for-15, three doubles). “He’s swinging well enough,’’ Melvin said. “And he’s comfortable hitting there.’’ Reddick went hitless in four at-bats with two strikeouts.
–Casper Wells, who’d pinch-hit in each of the last two games after being picked up in a trade with Toronto, was finally in the starting lineup, the right-hander getting a chance against lefty Wei-Yin Chen. Wells, shuffled around the rosters in Seattle and Toronto, hadn’t had a start in a month. “We wanted to get him acclimated,’’ Melvin said. “Usually you like to get new guys in fairly quickly when we make a deal. But based on the fact that he hadn’t played in a while, we wanted to get him comfortable and give him some good work in the field for a couple of days.’’ Wells was 0-for-3 with a strikeout, and with Yoenis Cespedes likely back from the disabled list on Sunday, Wells’ status is up in the air.
–Dick Green, the second baseman for the 1973 A’s, doesn’t know A’s general manager Billy Beane but he’s hoping he’ll get a chance to meet him Saturday when the 1973 A’s have a reunion at the Coliseum. What he knows of Beane is through Brad Pitt, who played Beane in the film “Moneyball.’’ Green says it’s his favorite baseball movie.
–In case you were wondering, Bob Melvin wears “6’’ with the A’s because Sal Bando did. The manager is a big fan of “Captain Sal,’’ who gave Melvin his first not-playing job in baseball. Bando is in Oakland this weekend as the organization salutes to 1973 World Series champions. “There are many things that Sal Bando has done to not only enhance my career, but to act as a resource for me,’’ Melvin said. “He’s one of my all-time favorites.’’