Lester’s influence extends beyond mound

By all accounts, Jon Lester has made a seamless transition since he was traded to the A’s from the Boston Red Sox.

“It seems like he has fit in pretty well,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said before Friday night’s game against the Minnesota Twins. “He’s probably not the most vocal guy in every clubhouse to begin with, but a game like that yesterday goes a long way toward making you feel like you fit in with the team.”

Lester tossed a three-hit shutout against the Twins on Thursday and won for the second time since he joined the A’s.

Melvin said Lester’s value transcends what he does on the mound.

“You can already see a little bit of the influence,” Melvin said. “You look down in the corner of the dugout on the days that he’s not pitching, and he’s like the pied piper down there. Everybody is talking to him and trying to pick his brain. … So, even on days that he doesn’t pitch, he can be instrumental in whatever feedback he happens to give to the guys.”


— Shortstop Jed Lowrie returned to the starting lineup after having missed three straight games with a bruised right index finger. He pinch-hit Thursday.

Lowrie said he doesn’t feel 100 percent, but who does this late in the season? The key is, the swelling subsided enough for Lowrie to throw without discomfort.


— John Jaso, Stephen Vogt and Brandon Moss all ended notable hitless streaks Thursday night. Melvin said such slumps come during the course of a long season.

“We had three guys that were going through a little bit of a streak, but to (have) all three of them get out of it at the same time and all get hits, now you just move past it, move forward and continue to think positively.”


— Kyle Blanks will play in a game for Triple-A Sacramento on Saturday as part of his continued rehabilitation from a calf injury. Melvin said he isn’t sure when Blanks will come off the disabled list.


— Melvin credited Jonny Gomes with helping Vogt break out of his 0 for 23 slump. Gomes spearheaded Vogt’s appearance on MLB Network, which preceded Vogt hitting a home run against the Twins on Thursday night.

“I looked over after Vogter hit a home run his first time up, Gomes has a big smile on his face,” Melvin said. “So, (it’s) part of the whole clubhouse dynamic that Jonny can bring to the table.”

Melvin was just as impressed with Vogt’s national TV appearance in which he imitated a basketball official.

“I saw it firsthand,” Melvin said. “I had to show my daughter (Friday) morning and my wife. It was great. I’ve seen some of his acts before; the Chris Farley one, maybe he’ll break that one out one of these days.

“He’s got quite a few of them in his pocket. Once he’s done with his baseball career, it wouldn’t surprise me if he ended up on ‘Saturday Night Live’ or something like that. He is that good.”




Steve Corkran