Already with six representatives on the American League All-Star team, the A’s learned Thursday they’ll also have two players in the Home Run Derby as third baseman Josh Donaldson was the fifth and final competitor named to the A.L. Derby team by captain Jose Bautista.
Donaldson, who hit his 20th home run of the season in the A’s 6-1 win over the Giants on Thursday, said he found out via text from Bautista that he’d been chosen for the event, which takes place Monday at Minnesota’s Target Field.
“It’s definitely pretty neat,” Donaldson said. “It’s just going to be one of those things that for me adds icing to the cake, and (I’m) hoping to go there and put on a show.”
Yoenis Cespedes, last year’s Derby winner, is also on the A.L. team with Bautista, the Twins’ Brian Dozier and the Orioles’ Adam Jones.
Donaldson, who was elected to start the All-Star Game as the A.L. third baseman, said he had no reservations about participating in the Home Run Derby. He’s not worried that it will affect his swing for the second half.
“In (batting practice), I like to hit homers, too,” he said. “It’s just going to be another run of batting practice, except with a lot more people watching.”
While third-base coach Mike Gallego will pitch to Cespedes in the Derby for the second year in a row, Donaldson said he’ll have A’s bullpen coach Darren Bush throwing to him.
“That’s going to be another thing that’s going to be really cool about it,” Donaldson said. “He was my first manager when I got traded (by the Chicago Cubs), and I had him in High A, Double A and Triple A, and now he’s up in the big leagues with us as well. I remember hitting off him back then in the minor leagues, and it’s going to be great for the journey that both of us have kind of made up here. We’ve been through a lot of battles together.”
Manager Bruce Bochy said he had considered starting Adrianza, who missed 16 games because of a hamstring strain, on Thursday – thus the timing of the move. Brandon Crawford started at shortstop instead, but Bochy said Adrianza likely will play more shortstop in the second half in an effort to get Crawford more days off.
Crawford has started 85 of the Giants’ 92 games this season and played the entirety of 83 of them. Bochy said Crawford is “going to need some more games (off) here as we get into the second half, particularly when we hit the East Coast in hot weather.”
Bochy said he thought about resting Crawford on Thursday but instead hit him second against the A’s Scott Kazmir – a nod to the left-handed-hitting Crawford’s improved hitting against left-handers this season. Crawford entered the game batting .346 in 81 at-bats against left-handers, with three of his seven home runs and a 1.024 OPS.
Adrianza will still play some second base and also is an option at third, Bochy said. Perez was “just not getting playing time” with the Giants, while Adrianza provides them with a switch-hitter off the bench.
With Perez gone, Tyler Colvin will back up center fielder Gregor Blanco, with Hunter Pence as the emergency option.
“(Pence) plays center half the time anyway,” Bochy said. “You see Blanco catching the ball, and there’s Pence right behind him.”
“But I think shortly after the second half,” Bochy said of Pagan, who just resumed baseball activities in Arizona. “I think we’ll have a pretty good read here in the next couple days.”
“I had a bet with our video guy, (as) it looked like for weeks we were going to miss Felix for the first time since I’ve been here,” Melvin said with a grin. “Not only do we get him, we get him on the first game. So that didn’t surprise me.”
Will he watch the All-Star Game?
“Oh, yeah,” Melvin said. “Might even turn on the home run hitting contest, too.”