In for John Hickey …
Struggling reliever Ryan Cook worked in the bullpen well before the game under the observation of Bob Melvin and Curt Young. The A’s know they have to get Cook straightened out before the playoffs, but Melvin is confident that will happen.
“If you remember, he went through one of these last year and he got through it,” Melvin said. “He’s a competitor and it bothers him when he’s not contributing how he’d like to. So he’s going to fight his way through it, and he’ll get through it. Sean Doolittle went through a little bit of a tough time, and so will Cookie.”
Melvin said that Cook’s stuff. which is still very good, is one positive indicator that this is just part mechanical, part mental, and that could snap out of it at any time.
“I believe it’s only going to take one good outing and he’ll be off to the races again,” Melvin said. “If we felt like he was hanging his breaking ball every time or he was getting so out of whack that his velocity was going down, then we’d have a real issue. I think it’s just about him not worrying so much about stuff that goes on. He just got a little frustrated with himself.”
— Nate Freiman normally would be starting against Twins lefty Andrew Albers tonight but he has an abdominal strain near his obiique that’s been bothering him the past few days, so it’s Daric Barton in at first.
— Yoenis Cespedes is in the lineup as the DH, but he’s still not throwing yet, even during warmups. Melvin said it could be a few days before Cespedes is back in left field.
— John Jaso continues to step up his baseball activity. He caught Fernando Rodriguez on the side today and he’ll soon head to the instructional league to get some at-bats. Said Melvin, “Whether or not he’s able to get back with us this year, I’m not sure. But for peace of mind, even going into the offseason knowing he’s gotten over this hurdle will give him some confidence and reassurance going into next year.”
— Since he managed in Arizona, I asked Melvin what he thought of the Dodgers’ division-clinching pool party at Chase Field. “It looked like a lot of fun,” he said. “That’s about as far as I’ll go with it.”
–Got a chance to chat briefly with Terry Steinbach, who is now the Twins’ bench coach, before the game. One of the nicest guys I’ve ever covered. And Ken Korach makes the case that pre-Posey, Steinbach may be the best catcher we’ve seen on either side of the bay. I hadn’t really thought about that, but he may be right.