Athletics

Why versatile Chad Pinder is most respected player in A's clubhouse

Why versatile Chad Pinder is most respected player in A's clubhouse

MESA, Ariz. -- Chad Pinder played every defensive position for the A's in 2019, minus catcher and pitcher.

“I have so many gloves that I own,” Pinder told NBC Sports California during spring training. “I have an outfielder's glove, a third baseman glove, a middle infielder glove, a first baseman’s mitt … and I just got a catcher’s mitt.”

The 27-year old is the definition of a “super-utility" player. That makes him super valuable, but it doesn’t make his job super easy.

“To put up the numbers he’s put up, with the inconsistent at-bats he’s had, not only that — he’s had to worry about playing every position on the field,” relief pitcher Lou Trivino said. “I think it shows what a talented player he is.”

Stephen Piscotty can easily sum up how teammates view Pinder: “With the utmost respect.”

“Baseball is a lot about rhythm,” Piscotty continued. “And when you’re not playing every day, it’s hard to find that rhythm. He just brings it.”

Pinder also routinely brings “it” as one of the prominent leaders inside Oakland’s clubhouse, even though you might not find him regularly in the starting lineup, or drawing extra personal attention.

“I think it’s just through relationships and building trust,” Pinder shared. “And being friends with everyone in the clubhouse. I’ve always been told since being little to just put my head down and go about my business. Let your actions on the field do the talking. That’s something that I’ve tried to live by.”

Manager Bob Melvin recognizes Pinder’s leadership as so strong, that he can already make this bold prediction: “He’ll be a manager someday.”

“There are times that I call him in my office and say, ‘You know that Chapman guy? Go handle him,' " Melvin shared. “He’s got a great idea how to handle guys, he’s probably as well-liked a guy as we have.”

[RELATED: Where key A's position battles stand before opening day]

Pinder has become an A's fan-favorite for all of his on-field hustle since his 2016 arrival, and a players’ favorite for much of the effort you don’t see.

“What we see too, on the bench is that he’s up in the tunnel in the fifth inning getting ready for that pinch-hit at-bat that may or may not come,” Piscotty shared. “He’s very active and I know how draining that can be, getting all psyched up.”

“I have so many things I like about him. He works hard every single day, he wants to be great,” center fielder Ramon Laureano said. “On the field, and inside the clubhouse, he’s just outstanding. I love the guy. I get happy every time I see him. He’s one of the greatest teammates I’ve ever had.”

Marcus Semien says A's have no room for error in shortened MLB season

Marcus Semien says A's have no room for error in shortened MLB season

Coming off back-to-back 97-win seasons, the A's entered 2020 with aspirations of competing for a World Series title.

Those dreams have been put on hold by the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The start of the 2020 MLB season has been delayed until health officials deem it safe for people to leave their homes and gather in large groups.

While MLB and the Players' Association agreed to a number of items regarding the 2020 season, no one knows when regular-season games will be played or how many games each team will be able to play.

In the eyes of shortstop Marcus Semien, that could be a problem for the A's.

"We definitely have the talent, the arms, the depth," Semien told The San Francisco Chronincle's Susan Slusser on Friday on "The A's Plus" podcast. "You know, it's going to be interesting. Everything is hypothetical right now, so if there's a half season, you know, three months, whatever, whatever the season length is, we like our chances. It's just different.

"You gotta get off to a better start, I would assume with the shortened season. In the past we've had slow starts. I don't think there's any room for error there. You gotta come out to a better start."

Based on how the last two seasons played out, Semien is right. If MLB only plays an 81-game season, it doesn't bode well for the A's.

Through 81 games in 2018 and 2019, the A's had identical 43-38 records. Both teams were in third place in the AL West and not in possession of a wild-card spot at the completion of Game No. 81.

But both teams finished strong, going 54-27 over the final 81 games both seasons.

[RELATED: How simulated A's Opening Day game went]

If MLB were to shorten the 2020 season to just 81 games, the A's wouldn't have the ability to go on a second-half run.

If the A's don't start the season playing well, they will likely fail to achieve their goal of hoisting the Commissioner's Trophy.

A's pitcher Liam Hendriks says friend died of coronavirus in emotional post

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USATSI

A's pitcher Liam Hendriks says friend died of coronavirus in emotional post

Liam Hendriks' friend died of the coronavirus, the A's pitcher revealed in a post on his Instagram story Thursday.

Courtesy: @Hendriks_31/Instagram

Conrad Buchanan, a Brooklyn-based musician who used the DJ name "Griff Gotti," posted last week on his Facebook page that he had tested positive for COVID-19. Hendriks wrote that Buchanan was survived by his wife and daughter.

"And I implore you: PLEASE take this virus seriously," Hendriks wrote in his post. "Stay home not only for your health, but for the sake of others as well."

The number of deaths in the United States linked to the coronavirus surpassed 1,000 on Thursday, and NBC News reporting has confirmed over 82,000 cases nationwide. State and local governments, including California, have issued shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders in order to halt the virus' spread.