A tale of two No. 2s – Derek Jeter and Mike Gallego

Mike Gallego was the last Yankees' player to wear No. 2 before Derek Jeter made that number historic.

Mike Gallego was the last Yankees’ player to wear No. 2 before Derek Jeter made that number historic.

One of the many universal rules in baseball is that all rookies learn some tough lessons from the men who came before.

Even if you are Derek Jeter, even if the team is the Yankees and even if you were the team’s first-round draft pick.

Jeter came to came to the spring camp with the Yankees in 1994, 18 months after New York had used the sixth pick in the draft to take him. He was just 20, and he was a long time away from wearing his No. 2.

In fact, No. 2 at the time was worn by current A’s third base coach Mike Gallego, at that point in his final year as the Yankees shortstop.

Gallego got an email Friday from his daughter, Allison. It seems she’d found Instagram an interview from 1995 when Jeter talked about his Gallego in the spring of 1994 asking him how old he was and if he had a girlfriend.

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A’s have been lucky to get away with a leaky defense

Daric Baton has three of the A's 18 errors coming into Sunday.

Daric Baton has three of the A’s 18 errors coming into Sunday.

The A’s defense has been a miserable replica of its former self this season.

Coning into Sunday, the A’s had made 18 errors in 17 games, including errors in each of the previous eight games, and multiple errors in five of those eight.

Then third baseman Josh Donaldson committed his team-high fifth error in the third inning of Sunday’s series finale with the Astros.

Through all of this, the A’s came into the finale with a 12-5 record, a 1½-game lead in the American League West and the best record in the AL overall.

How is that possible? Teams so error-prone tend to get roughed up because they are putting so many extra runners on base.

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Moss does Oscar-worthy work in latest A’s TV spots

Brandon Moss talks a good game at first base in A's TV ads

Brandon Moss talks a good game at first base in A’s TV ads

I’m not sure what it says about Vanderbilt University as a steppingstone to stage and screen, but A’s starter Sonny Gray, who took drama there for three years when not playing baseball, lost out in the early Best Actor Oscar nominations in the batch of A’s TV commercials to be released Thursday via social media.

Gray was fine, it should be pointed out, in doing his parts the five (of an eventual total of eight) commercials screened for the media Saturday (Raw footage of some of the other three bits also were shown). But first baseman Brandon Moss was flat-out hilarious in his spots, although some of the best bits, seen in outtakes and bloopers, may be left on the cutting room floor.

Put together by Hub Media and shot over the course of three days, the ads follow the path of “Green Collar Baseball’’ that the A’s have used as a general backdrop to their promotions the last few seasons, winning major awards in the sports advertising world the last three years.

Moss was seen in two bits, one where he chatters to runners at first base to distract them during pickoff throws and the other in which he crashes a group of his teammates doing “I’ve got a Secret’’ and veers the conversation from baseball secrets to improvised personal ones like “I’ve got three nipples.’’

If the bits survive the editing process, a star will be born.

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Game 91 wrapup: Cespedes wants to `bring the win’ in Home Run Derby; Gallego to sub for Melvin (and mom) as batting practice thrower

There will be no pressure on Yoenis Cespedes Monday night as he takes part in the All-Star Game Home Run Derby.

No pressure from first baseman Brandon Moss, who said after Tuesday’s game “if he doesn’t win the Home Run Derby, I’m going to be disappointed.’’

No pressure from manager Bob Melvin, who is Cespedes’s favorite batting practice pitcher but who is bowing out of making a quick cross-country jaunt to New York City.

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Game 87 wrapup: Reddick value is more than a bat

The A’s have gone a long way (51 wins) without a lot offensively from Josh Reddick this season, but now is as good a time as any to remember that Reddick is not a one-dimensional ballplayer.

He had two hits – and Oakland manager Bob Melvin would argue that he should have had a third – and a sacrifice fly in the A’s 6-3 win over Kansas City Friday. He scored three of the A’s six runs and drove in two others.

Still, that’s been the kind of game that’s been an anomaly for Reddick this season. What hasn’t been weird has been the rest of his game. He plays first-rate defense and on Friday he showed that he hasn’t lost his edge when running the bases.

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A’s, Holliday both in better places since 2009 union

Matt Holliday was supposed to change the way things were done in Oakland.

An outfielder with a big bat, big RBI potential and a big salary, Holliday was the A’s foray into big-money baseball.

That lasted for less than a full season. Oakland general manager Billy Beane acquired Holliday for a hefty price – letting a proven reliever, Huston Street, and a would-be star, outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, go to Colorado.

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Smith homer in wind and rain of Fenway Park leaves the A’s suitably impressed

It won’t be the most clutch home run Seth Smith has ever produced or even the longest he’ll ever hit.

But Tuesday’s homer in the fourth inning of Boston’s Alfredo Aceves is likely to go down as the hardest Smith has ever hit, even if Smith himself doesn’t think that’s necessarily so.

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Tarantula wrangler Gallego highlights newest group of A’s television commercials

The A’s introduced their new line of television commercials to the media Saturday morning, and the early Star Power award goes to third base coach Mike Gallego.

Without giving too much away, Gallego was asked to handle a tarantula and a possum for the sports, and he did so without yelping, which I’m reasonably certain I would have done.

Sad to say, the tarantula didn’t make it into the final cuts, although the blooper reel shows a rather formidable arachnid making his presence felt.

The possum isn’t an animal I’d particularly want to pick up, although Gallego makes it work.

The first of the commercials, Pie Alternatives, is already online at www.oakland.athletics.mlb.com and debuts today in the Bay Area. This first commercial geatures Coco Crisp and Josh Reddick. It is a play on the frequent post-game pie celebrations that marked the A’s American League West title season of 2012 as the A’s try to go beyond simple pies to the face.

Others featured in the commercials are pitcher Ryan Cook, Sean Doolittle, Jarrod Parker, outfielder Chris Young, coach Chip Hale, manager Bob Melvin and an actor playing a guru who gets off the best line of anyone at Crisp’s expense.



Adenhart’s memory lives on

The A’s pregame routine has been pushed back here in Anaheim, with first pitch not until 7:25. The Angels are inducting outfielder Brian Downing and pitcher Chuck Finley into their Hall of Fame before the game.

It was something to walk up to the entrance at Angel Stadium today and see the memorial that still sits out front for Nick Adenhart. It was first started April 9, just hours after the Angels pitcher died in a car crash. Basically, there’s a big circle with flowers and Adenhart T-shirts in the middle of it. Ringing the memorial are hundreds of hats that people left, most of them with hand-written messages about Adenhart. All three victims who died in that crash will be honored before Saturday’s game. Jon Wilhite, the lone crash survivor and a good friend of Kurt Suzuki’s, is supposed to throw out the first pitch.

–As for A’s news, Bob Geren said we can expect some pitchers called up Sept. 1 when rosters expand, but probably not any position players that day (he didn’t say how many pitchers).

Geren added that Edgar Gonzalez is a strong candidate to start Sept. 1, which would signal the start of a six-man rotation. But that depends on if (and in what capacity) Gonzalez is needed before then. He hasn’t appeared in a game since Aug. 15, and Geren wants to get him at least a brief outing before Sept. 1. … I could see why …

–Bobby Crosby ran some sprints today to test his strained left calf. He has yet to run the bases, but the A’s say he’s very close to being ready. He’s eligible to come off the DL on Sept. 2.

–Niko Gallego, the 20-year-old son of A’s infield coach Mike Gallego, took grounders at shortstop during batting practice and looked pretty smooth (I guess the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree). Niko will be a junior at UCLA next season and just got done playing in the wood-bat Cape Cod League.

Here’s tonight’s lineups for Game 1 of a four-game series w/the AL West-leading Angels:

Kennedy 3B
Davis CF
Suzuki C
Cust DH
Hairston LF
Sweeney RF
Ellis 2B
Barton 1B
Pennington SS

Cahill RHP

Figgins 3B
Abreu RF
Hunter CF
Guerrero DH
Rivera LF
Morales 1B
Izturis 2B
Aybar SS
Mathis C

Santana RHP


A’s pregame update: Wednesday

Pretty uneventful around the A’s clubhouse leading up to tonight’s game. A replay of the 1989 ALCS playoff series between Oakland and Toronto was on the TV, and players were kidding w/Mike Gallego. Gallego is currently the team’s third-base coach, but back then, he was playing second base for the team and sporting traces of a mullet (not that mullets were unusual on the ’89 A’s). It’s amazing how ancient those old films look now, particularly the TV graphics. Didn’t seem that way then …

On to the news …

The A’s claimed lefty reliever Craig Breslow off waivers from the Minnesota Twins today. He’s expected to arrive tomorrow, and will be the team’s lone lefty in the ‘pen. Manager Bob Geren usually downplays the need for having a set number of lefties or righties, but he acknowledged it would be nice having a lefty specialist of sorts. Breslow’s splits aren’t drastic: Lefties are hitting .211 against him, righties .226. Last year, he had a 1.91 ERA in 49 appearances combined with Cleveland and Minnesota. One thing to watch: He walked 11 in 14 1/3 innings this season w/the Twins.

Nomar Garciaparra (right calf) was not activated from the DL today, as he said the team wanted to save him from playing on the artificial surface of Tropicana Field. This turf has been tough on some A’s players with back problems in the past. But Garciaparra said he had a very good day of work yesterday and that he thinks he can be activated this weekend against Arizona.

Your A’s lineup:
Cabrera SS; Suzuki C; Cust DH; Holliday LF; Giambi 1B; Kennedy 2B; Crosby 3B; Cunningham RF; Davis CF; Anderson P.

And for the Rays:
Upton CF; Crawford LF; Longoria 3B; Pena 1B; Bartlett SS; Aybar DH; Iwamura 2B; Kapler RF; Navarro C; Kazmir P.