Athletics

After a year on TV, Matt Williams can't wait to help A's: 'I'm a rat, man'

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USATSI

After a year on TV, Matt Williams can't wait to help A's: 'I'm a rat, man'

Broadcasting kept Matt Williams connected to the game he loves.

Now, the former All-Star and Gold Glove third baseman is back in his element. Being on the field, coaching and instructing, is what Williams loves most. He’ll get a chance to do plenty of that after joining the A’s as their new third base coach.

The longtime Giant took time to discuss joining the team across the Bay with NBC Sports California’s Brodie Brazil, in the latest episode of “The Bro Show” podcast, also available on iTunes, Spotify and Google Play.

Williams played for the Giants from 1987-96, emerging as one of the National League’s top sluggers and best defensive third basemen. His coaching path eventually led him to a two-year stint managing the Washington Nationals from 2014-15. Local fans got reintroduced to Williams in 2017 when he served as a pregame and postgame Giants analyst for NBC Sports Bay Area.

“My most comfortable place is on the field, in the uniform,” said Williams, 52. “I’m a rat, man. That’s where I’m most comfortable, swinging a fungo with blisters on my hands and in the grind of 4:30 a.m. to the ballpark. So I’m happy to be back, and I’m so happy that (A’s manager) Bob (Melvin) called me and I’m proud to be part of the team and the organization.”

Williams’ ties to Melvin go back to their days as Giants teammates. He also credits Melvin for instilling the coaching bug in him after Williams called it a playing career in 2003.

“He invited me down when he was the manager in Arizona to spring training to work with Mark Reynolds and the infielders,” Williams said.

His credentials as a player — five All-Star Games and four Gold Gloves — speak for themselves. But, as Williams points out, he traveled a rocky road establishing himself as a big league regular, noting the patience that former Giants GM Al Rosen and manager Roger Craig showed with him early in his career. Perhaps that perspective will come in useful as he works with several young A’s players still finding their footing in the majors.

“There are times when Roger Craig or Al Rosen could have said, ‘You know, this kid just isn’t gonna make it,’” Williams said. “For three straight years it was really lean. But they just kept supporting me and kept helping me. I think that’s where I get my desire to help these players.”

As much as Williams enjoyed being an analyst, he’s pumped to be back in coaching.

“I love the broadcasting stuff, but when Bob Melvin calls and says, ‘Hey, I want you to coach third for me,’ I have to accept that job.”

Chad Pinder showing value to A's with his versatility

Chad Pinder showing value to A's with his versatility

You never know where you might find Chad Pinder in the field.

The 26-year-old has started games at second base, third base, shortstop, left field, center field, and right field this season.

“I like it,” Pinder said. “It's fun. You just do the work. You go out and take ground balls if you're playing second, take balls in the outfield if you're playing the outfield. I enjoy it.”

Pinder takes pride not only in playing multiple positions, but playing them all well. He has committed just four errors in 47 games this season, while leading the A's with three outfield assists.

“There are certain things we can do because I can play multiple positions,” Pinder said. “I like being able to help the team that way.”

“He's been extremely versatile for us,” added A's manager Bob Melvin. “I don't think I'd put him on the mound, but everything else is open for him.”

For what it's worth, Pinder says there is no position he can't play, including catcher.

“I love catching,” he smiled. “That was one of my main positions growing up.”

Pinder estimates he last played catcher in eighth or ninth grade, but believes he could serve as an emergency catcher for the A's.

“I'd like to think that I am. We'll see if that ever pops up,” Pinder said.

With all the injuries the A's have suffered this season, Pinder's versatility has been extremely valuable. He has contributed with the bat as well, slashing .246/.325/.442 with six home runs and 14 RBI. In Saturday's win against the Angels, Pinder nearly hit for the cycle, going 3-for-3 with a home run, triple, and single.

“When he gets on a roll, he's as productive as anybody we have,” Melvin said. “You look at exit velocities and so forth, when he squares one up, it's as good as anybody on our team.”

A's walk off Angels, win first series vs AL West since April

A's walk off Angels, win first series vs AL West since April

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- Jonathan Lucroy hit an RBI single off the center-field wall in the 11th inning and the Oakland Athletics capped their comeback Sunday with a 6-5 win over the Los Angeles Angels.

The A's rallied for two runs in the ninth to tie it at 5, then took advantage of control problems by a pair of Angels relievers to win.

Jed Lowrie led off the 11th with a single and Jake Jewell (0-1) hit Khris Davis with a pitch. After Matt Olson flied, Eduardo Paredes replaced Jewell and walked Mark Canha to load the bases.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia brought left fielder Justin Upton in for a five-man infield but it didn't matter. Lucroy hit a deep drive to win it.

Canha hit an early two-run homer, and added a tying single with two outs in the ninth. Marcus Semien homered to begin the Oakland ninth.

Albert Pujols hit his 625th career home run, Chris Young also went deep and Mike Trout reached base five times for the Angels.

It was another blown save for Scioscia's bullpen, the 15th by the Angels this season.

Blake Parker gave up two runs in the ninth. He also had a blown save Wednesday in Seattle. Canha's tying single came off Cam Bedrosian.

Pujols' drive off Daniel Mengden was his fourth this month and 11th overall this season. It also moved the Angels' 38-year-old slugger within five home runs of tying Ken Griffey Jr. for sixth place all time.

Pujols also had an RBI single in the third.

Trout had homered in four of his previous six games. He had singles in the fifth and ninth, walked twice and was hit by a pitch.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: 3B Matt Chapman (right thumb contusion) added throwing to his regimen, one day before his scheduled visit with a hand specialist in Los Angeles. Chapman's biggest hurdle remains swinging a bat. . LHP Brett Anderson (strained left shoulder) is headed for Arizona to pitch in extended spring training.

UP NEXT

Angels: RHP Jaime Barria (5-2, 2.61 ERA) faces the Arizona Diamondbacks in the opener of a two-game series Monday in Anaheim. Barria's ERA is the lowest among all rookies with at least 40 innings pitched this season.

Athletics: RHP Paul Blackburn (1-1, 11.05 ERA) starts against the San Diego Padres on Tuesday to begin Oakland's 10-game road trip.