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SAN FRANCISCO –- One of Brandon Moss’ tasks this season will be learning what to do with all the free time on his hands.
With Daric Barton all but certain to make the Oakland A’s roster and see significant time at first base, Moss will slide over and get a good chunk of at-bats at designated hitter.
That will be an adjustment for Moss, a 30-homer man last season who has appeared in just six major league games as a DH. He’s not used to sitting on the bench while his teammates are in the field, but Moss has a plan for how to adjust to the role.
“Fortunately I’ve got a guy who spent a lot of time at DH as our hitting coach,” he said. “I’ll pick his brain a little bit.”
That man would be Chili Davis, who hit 200 of his 350 career home runs as a designated hitter. He said Moss’ main challenge will be staying engaged for nine innings.
“The tendency is you’ve got some free time, so you go upstairs, watch a little TV,” Davis said. “If you do, you (should) go up and watch pitch patterns. Stay as mentally into the game as you can.”
A’s manager Bob Melvin reiterated that by no means will Moss strictly be a DH. He’s molded himself into a good first baseman after making it to the majors as an outfielder. He’ll see time at both first base and in the outfield, as Melvin will look to shuttle center fielder Coco Crisp and left fielder Yoenis Cespedes through the DH spot to give them a bit of rest.
Moss said he doesn’t have an issue with turning over first base to Barton some of the time.
“I don’t think it’s any secret that Daric is a far superior first baseman to me.”
But Moss is selling himself short a bit because he’s turned himself into a more-than-adequate first baseman since taking up the position in 2012. Now the A’s are trying to break in another player at the position. Alberto Callaspo, a switch hitter, will handle first against left-handed starting pitchers with Barton and Moss rotating against right-handers.
Davis thinks attitude plays a big part in being a successful DH.
“You can accept it when you’re doing it and cherish those four at-bats and try to make good use of them,” he said, “or you can find a reason why you don’t like doing it, which a lot of guys tend to do.”
Moss cut to the heart of the issue.
“The good thing, for me -- what I enjoy most about baseball is hitting.”