Gallego was thinking A’s might just replace him

Oakland third base and infield coach Mike Gallego not only was not surprised that the A’s decided to bring in Ron Washington as an extra infield coach, he was thinking that Oakland might have gone further and simply replaced Gallego.

He’s had a tough last week with Stephen Vogt thrown out at the plate as the last out of a one-run loss to the White Sox and Max Muncy and Brett Lawrie thrown out at the plate on consecutive plays in the second inning Tuesday, although Lawrie was running on his own.

Add to that the 16 errors made at shortstop by Marcus Semien with Gallego in charge of the infield defense, and the cumulative sum is unimpressive.

Continue Reading


Semien strikes Gallego as being tough mentally on errors

Marcus Semien gets high marks from A's infield coach Mike Gallego for the way he's handled his error problems.

Marcus Semien gets high marks from A’s infield coach Mike Gallego for the way he’s handled his error problems.

There is some good news about Marcus Semien’s defensive work this season. Really.

Mike Gallego, the A’s third base coach, handles the club’s infielders, and while Semien now has a league-worst 14 errors after one was reinstated on him Monday, Gallego is happy with the way Semien has handled himself through it all.

“A streak like this could break players; it’s happened,’’ Gallego said. “But you look at Marcus and it seems that he’s taking it in stride.

“If he makes one, he doesn’t dwell on it, and he’s out there every day during workouts, always wanting one more grounder to be hit at him.’’

It’s not like this kind of error explosion has never happened before. Not all players handle it the same. After finally arriving in the big leagues with the A’s in 1998, Miguel Tejada made 26 errors in 104 games, a total that would get him to 40 parsed out over a full season.

Semien’s total would get him to 58, but the A’s keep expecting him to settle in defensively and keep the errors to a relative minimum rather than the seven in his last eight games, a pace that A’s fans find extremely troubling.

“There are guys whose defense can get into their head and they can be broken,’’ Gallego said referring to Chuck Knoblauch and Steve Sax, both of whom has their careers cut short by their inability to throw from second base. “I don’t see that with Marcus. I think he’s going to be a good one.’’

Manager Bob Melvin remains clearly in Semien’s corner. Melvin has started him in all but one of the A’s first 39 games, and he was the starter for No. 40 Monday in Houston. Asked if he would use second baseman Ben Zobrist, expected to be back with the club next week, at shortstop some to spell Semien, Melvin said he didn’t see things playing out that way.

“At this point it’s difficult to do, because we’d be playing somebody out of position every time we wanted to give Marcus a day off. I’m not 100 percent sure, but if we give Marcus a day off, it probably would be (Eric Sogard) at shortstop and Zobrist at second.’’

Getting Zobrist back would allow for more days off for Semien because the A’s don’t have great depth at shortstop without their second baseman and Zobrist came up as a shortstop.


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.

Continue Reading


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.

Continue Reading


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.

Continue Reading


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.

Continue Reading


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.

Continue Reading


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.

Continue Reading


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.

Continue Reading


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.