Programming note: Twins-A’s coverage starts today at 6:30 p.m. with A’s Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California
OAKLAND – Throw any baseball-related question at Bob Melvin, and he volunteers a thoughtful, sincere answer.
Ask him about his own personal achievement of reaching the 800-win milestone as a manager, and it becomes clear the A’s skipper would rather shift topics.
Melvin rang up his 800th victory with Thursday’s 3-0 win over the Minnesota Twins. Since taking the reins with the A’s on June 9, 2011, he has guided them to a 307-230 (.572) mark, the best in the majors over that span.
He’s also one of just six managers to win Manager of the Year awards in both leagues, but he makes every effort to re-direct credit to others when asked about reaching his 800th win. He’s one of eight active managers to reach the mark, and the 76th in major league history to get there.
“It’s a round number, one more than 799,” Melvin said matter-of-factly. “But it’s just a credit to the great coaches and great players I’ve been able to have. I do know I was at less than 500 when I got here, so to be able to get to 800 this quick means we’ve had some terrific players and a lot of success.”
The A’s have utilized a platoon system at several positions over the past three years, so Melvin is juggling different lineups on a regular basis. He’s considered an excellent clubhouse communicator. And Twins manager Ron GArdenhire, another of those eight active managers in the 800-win club, is impressed with how well Melvin utilizes all 25 players on his roster.
“I think he handles himself really easy over there,” Gardenhire said. “His knowledge of the game is as good as anybody’s. I think he has a good feel for what each player can and can’t do, and I think that probably says everything about a manager. He uses his players probably as well as anybody in the game.”
Notes: First baseman Kyle Blanks, recovering from a torn left calf muscle, will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento on Saturday. Melvin expects Blanks to spend considerable time with the River Cats, given he’s missed 38 games entering Friday night. … Outfielder Craig Gentry (fractured right hand) has started throwing, but swinging the bat still gives him some discomfort. There’s no plan yet for a minor league rehab assignment.