OAKLAND -- When it was announced that Jonny Gomes was rejoining the A’s as part of the Jon Lester-Yoenis Cespedes trade, A’s management stressed they were getting back a player perhaps as important as any to their clubhouse dynamic. Manager Bob Melvin today offered an intriguing example as to why.
Probably the main off-the-field development for the A’s on Thursday was the appearance of Gomes and Stephen Vogt on MLB Network’s "Intentional Talk" in the afternoon, on which Vogt performed his excellent basketball referee impersonation. It was shown again in the clubhouse after the A’s 3-0 win with nearly the entire team glued to the big-screen TV. Said Brandon Moss, after it was over: "That is beautiful."
Vogt said he hadn’t originally intended to appear on the show, but that Gomes texted him Thursday afternoon to ask if he would go on and do the impression. His answer was an emphatic "Yes," and clearly he delivered on the performance.
Here’s where Melvin’s theory comes in. Vogt began Thursday in an 0-for-23 slump, the second-longest hitless streak of his career. After going on "Intentional Talk," he came up for his first at-bat Thursday night and hit a home run. Melvin said that may not have been entirely coincidental.
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"I think Jonny might’ve had a little something to do with that, to try to get him on (the show) and loosen him up," Melvin said. "It was Jonny’s idea to get him on there. So one of the nuances to what Jonny Gomes brings to the table sometimes."
Granted, Vogt said after the game he felt like his at-bats had been getting better the past two days. And Gomes didn’t hit the ball for him, or tell him a 2-2 fastball was coming.
Still, Melvin said: "I looked over after Vogt hit a home run first time up, Gomes had a big smile on his face. So part of the whole clubhouse dynamic Jonny can bring to the table."
* Vogt, John Jaso and Brandon Moss all snapped long hitless streaks Thursday night (the latter two were both in 0-for-18 skids), and all three are in the lineup again tonight facing Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson. So is Jed Lowrie, who returns after missing three games with a bruised right index finger.
Here’s the full A’s lineup against Gibson:
And the Twins’ lineup against A’s left-hander Scott Kazmir:
* First baseman Kyle Blanks was scheduled to travel today to join the Triple-A River Cats and begin playing rehab games Saturday. Blanks has been on the disabled list with a calf injury since June 23, and Melvin said the lengthy layoff probably means Blanks will be in for an extended rehab stint.
* Craig Gentry (fractured hand) has resumed throwing, but is not to the point where he can hit. "He grabbed a bat yesterday, and so-so as far as swinging it," Melvin said. "But I think this’ll be the third day where he’s throwing, and starting to feel better."
* And in case you haven’t taken the time to watch Vogt’s referee impression yet, here’s a little more incentive from Melvin:
"I had to show my daughter this morning and my wife," Melvin said today. "Once he’s done with his baseball career, it wouldn’t surprise me if he ended up on Saturday Night Live or something like that. He is that good."