MESA, Ariz. — A’s manager Bob Melvin returned to the team Sunday following the death of his mother, and he praised bench coach Mark Kotsay and the rest of his staff for keeping things running smoothly in his absence.
“Our staff did an unbelievable job, particularly Mark Kotsay, so it’s easy to be able to leave and know that everything’s going to be taken care of beautifully,” Melvin said.
Melvin’s mother, Judy, passed away Friday.
Oakland enters Sunday’s home game against the Cubs having won five in a row and sporting the Cactus League’s best record at 9-4. In particular the A’s have been swinging the bats well, scoring 52 runs over the last four games.
“In general, spring training wins aren’t the most important thing in the world, but they aren’t bad either, especially when you have some new guys here and try to create a good atmosphere,” Melvin said. “I think winning some games goes a long way.”
The A’s sent down nine players Sunday morning, including shortstop prospect Richie Martin and outfielder Andrew Lambo.
The others were left-hander Felix Doubront, who is still rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, pitcher Tyler Sturdevant, infielders Jermaine Curtis, Max Muncy, Rangel Ravelo and Josh Rodriguez, and outfielder Kenny Wilson.
Martin, Oakland’s No. 9 prospect by Baseball America, played in just three games and logged four at-bats this spring. He was the A’s first-round pick in 2015 and spent most of last year with Single-A Stockton, where he hit .230 with three homers and 31 RBI in a season that was delayed by left knee surgery.
Lambo re-signed with the A’s on a minor league deal during the winter and arrived at camp having received a clean bill of health after being treated for testicular cancer. The outfielder hit .200 with a homer and two RBI in seven games.
Melvin announced that reliever Sean Doolittle will make his Cactus League debut Tuesday against Colorado.