OAKLAND -- A’s manager Bob Melvin said last week that his plans for the All-Star Break involved staying at home and doing a little gardening. So how much did he get done of the latter?
"Enough," Melvin said this afternoon, grinning. "Got some tomatoes picked, so pretty happy about that."
Tuning into the All-Star events left him pretty happy as well. On Monday, outfielder Yoenis Cespedes defended his title in the Home Run Derby. The next day, as many as four A’s players were on the field at one time during the All-Star Game, a rewarding moment for the manager.
"That was cool," Melvin said. "It was a better feeling than in the past, where you had to look around and try to find just one of our guys."
Of Cespedes’ performance in the Derby -- he started a little slow, needing to defeat Josh Donaldson in the so-called "swing-off" to advance past the opening round, but caught fire after that -- Melvin said that "once he got on a roll … you could kind of see it was going to be tough for anybody else to beat him.
"It really looked to me like he was the most experienced guy in it, really had a good understanding of what he needed to do and how he was going to go about doing it," Melvin said. "I don’t think it surprised anybody that he won it again."
Maybe the best news for Melvin -- everybody, especially Donaldson and Cespedes, came back healthy, or "in one piece," as Melvin jokingly said he was hoping for before the break. Here’s the A’s lineup as they begin the nominal second half of the season tonight against the Baltimore Orioles:
And the Orioles’ lineup against A’s right-hander Jeff Samardzija:
* A few injury updates: First, Coco Crisp starts after missing several games before the break with neck soreness. Melvin said Crisp is feeling "a little better. It’s still going to be a day-to-day proposition with him, but felt pretty good today."
Right fielder Josh Reddick spent part of the break playing in minor-league rehab games. Melvin said Reddick homered in his first game, went hitless in four at-bats in his second and was off yesterday. He’ll play Friday-Sunday and then be reevaluated.
"Early on it’s mostly about how he feels physically," Melvin said, "and he feels good."
Infielder Alberto Callaspo (hamstring) is getting treatment and hasn’t resumed baseball activities. Kyle Blanks (calf) has resumed running and "is making some strides there," Melvin said. Blanks has been able to keep up with throwing and hitting, so running is the last big hurdle for him to clear before going on a rehab assignment.
* It’s Andy Parrino over Eric Sogard at second base today against Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman. A’s second basemen hit a combined .225 in the second half and Sogard, after being the primary starter against right-handers early on, has seen his playing time diminish considerably -- he has started just one game since July 3 and has one hit in his last 16 at-bast.
Melvin said Sogard is "just scuffling a little bit right now … It doesn’t mean he’s completely out of the mix, it’s just been tough for him recently and I haven’t gotten him into the lineup to where he can get going."
* With the Orioles in town, Melvin was asked about the last meeting between these two teams in Baltimore in early June -- the series that included a confrontation between Josh Donaldson and Manny Machado, and later Machado being ejected and later suspended for tossing his bat in the direction of Callaspo at third base.
"I don’t expect anything" related to those events, Melvin said. "I think six weeks has been water under the bridge. And I don’t know that anybody here is even talking about it, so it’s a non-event for me."