That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: A one on one interview with A’s manager Bob Melvin

March 14, 2017

MLB, Oakland Athletics

sfgate.com file photo: Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin in the A’s dugout during a 2016 season game interviewed with Amaury Pi Gonzalez on Tuesday from Mesa AZ

By Amaury Pi Gonzalez

Hohokam Park, Mesa–Temperatures today went all the way up to 96 degrees here in the Valley of the Sun. All the Athletics were on the field and after the practice, approximately one hour prior to first pitch, A’s Manager Bob Melvin sat with me on the A’s dugout(first base side).for a one-on-one interview, right after finishing throwing to his team the last round of batting practice.

Q; Bob, 2017 Spring Training, another year, another group of players and many familiar faces.

A: “Yes. And we tend to have some turnover here and you have to be able to embrace that, but we have a good group nucleus of guys that have come back, we added some guys that we really feel not only they’re going to be productive force on the field, but in gthe clubhouse, and then we have a whole host of wave of younger players that you probably will start to see this year, that makes this an exciting time for our organization”.

Q: About those new players, Rajai Davis cameback to Oakland for the second time, Adam Rosales for the third time. Matt Joyce, a veteran is now an Athletic.

A: “And Trevor Plouffe also, all these guys are pros,they are four position players than we got,they know how to play and in Rajai’s and Rosie’s case, they know how do we do things here, and sometimes is dificult from some guys coming from other organizations, but when you come here we need all 25 to win, that everybody will have to contribute and support your teammates (pause)…they have the background they know how it works here, and they actually can be resourceful for some of the other guys…in the case of Matt Joyce we were last in the league in on-base-percentage last year, we need guys that get on base a little bit more, he can definitely do that, Rajai will be leading for us, he can create that havoc that he does on the bases, Trevor Plouffe we feel we really got a guy that plays solid defense as a pro and knows how to play the game”.

Q: “Your pitching staff is young, with good arms very promising, guys like Sean Manaea, Kendall Graverman,Jharel Cogtton and others, but you also have a bullpen this year with options, talk about that”

A: Yes we do, we have quite a few veteran guys, it is great to Santiago Casilla on the right side of the bay this time, back in green and gold where he’s been before, he’s closed games, Ryan Madson has closed games, John Axford has closed games Sean Doolittle has closed game, Ryan Dull had a terrific year for us, Liam Hendricks…so we feel that we have some veterans in this bullpen that add more pieces to that bullpen and one guy you haven;t mentioned as far as young pitchers that is going to be a star is Frankie Montas, Oh my God…he is absolutely electric, where and when we get him, he is going to be fine, he didn’t have a lot of innings last year, and he could be a mix of starter and reliever, but once he gets here, you’ll noticed him real quickly”

Q: “Bob, finally on your number one starter Sonny Gray he is out with a lat(lateral)problem, how is he coming along, when do you expect to get him back?

A: “Yes, you know it is unfortunate, he came in such a great shape, the ball was jumping out of his hand like it normally does,he was throwing the ball really well, so…we are going to be careful with him, he feels good right now, but we are still going to give him another couple of weeks of no throw, and then incrementally have him back at the end of April, is probably what we are targeting, but he is a guy that we have to be careful with, because he means so much for this team on top of the rotation, so we are going to make sure he is a hundred percent when he comes back:.

Q: ‘Well Bob I just wanted to tell you, you are one of my favorite managers, you get along well with everybody, the players like to play for you, you are good with the media, with the fans, and I hope this team can surprise a lot of people, and I mean it”

A: “Well…coming from you that means a lot, we known each other a long time and you do a terrific job, so that is kind of humbling to get that kind of compliment”

Notes:The Colorado Rockies beat the Athletics 4-3, however Sean Manaea pitched 3 2/3 of scoreless ball and Sean Doolittle made his spring debut pitching a perfect sixt inning in relief. The A’S are now 10-6 this spring. Tomorrow, Wednesday the 15th the A’s have their second Day Off this spring and then on Thursday the 16th they travel to Goodyear, to face the American League champion Cleveland Indians. Rickey Henderson was in rare form today as he was coaching some of the A’s young players, we spoke for a while behind the batting cage as the Athletics took batting practice. I told Rickey that I saw his whole career from the start as a rookie with the A’S in 1979, and we were talking about the good old days of A’s baseball when they were winning pennants and going to the World Series, the Hall of Famer was blessed with a great body, he looks like he can still play… and maybe he can.

 

 

 

 

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