Adrian Beltre

A's Bob Melvin recalls celebrating Ichiro Suzuki, Adrian Beltre's careers

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AP

A's Bob Melvin recalls celebrating Ichiro Suzuki, Adrian Beltre's careers

OAKLAND -- Without fail, every time -- there's BoMel.

Just as the 2019 season opened up, Ichiro Suzuki decided he would play in his final major-league game in Tokyo. A's manager Bob Melvin was at the top of the opposing dugout paying his respects as the 10-time All-Star bid farewell to the game of baseball.

Suzuki made sure to personally run over to Melvin and shake his hand.

Ever the professional, Melvin knows he's been able to witness some amazing things across his illustrious career.

"I think the longer you're around, the more you really understand those type of days," Melvin told NBC Sports California. "I know when I was a player it wasn't something I had a focus on, but Ichiro, I had a close relationship with him and his career is one of a kind, so you want to see how he's embraced -- you want to be there for something you know you're going to remember for a long time."

The Texas Rangers retired 21-year veteran third baseman Adrian Beltre's number in Arlington a few months later. The team hosted the A's, and there was Melvin, at the top of the dugout paying his respects once again. 

And despite being on the other side of Beltre's retirement ceremony last season, and receiving "a lot of pain from Beltre over the years," Melvin knew what he did during his time in the game had to be celebrated.

"The fact that he's such a great player and such a good guy, and I've had so many conversations with him and -- a Hall of Fame-type guy -- you want to be out there and really feel good about watching it and seeing how he's embraced by the fanbase."

These were some of those significant moments Melvin's collected over the years.

Beltre has a certain unique quality to him. Well, it's more of a rule, really.

Do not -- under any circumstances, touch his head. Unless maybe if you're Elvis Andrus.

"No -- I don't even think I'd try to go there," Melvin said. 

"We did have a funny conversation," he recalled. 

[RELATED: BoMel calls Fiers' a hero for revealing Astros scandal]

When it was Yoenis Cespedes' first year, the A's were in Texas and Cespedes had slid into third base. 

"His ankle was a little funky -- we weren't really sure, I went out there, and [Cespedes'] English isn't very good, so Adrian was translating for us, which was really funny."

"I could tell at times, he was trying to get Cespedes out of the game and Cespedes was looking like 'No, no, no,' so it ended up being a funny situation, but I've spent a lot of time on the other side against Adrian."

A's Matt Chapman wins AL Platinum Glove Award for second straight year

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AP

A's Matt Chapman wins AL Platinum Glove Award for second straight year

For the second straight year, Matt Chapman is the best of the best.
 
The A's third baseman won the AL's Platinum Glove Award, given annually to the league's best defensive player, regardless of position.

 

Chapman's 16.7 SABR Defensive Index ranking was second-best in the majors and he led the league with a 14.8 ultimate zone rating. The 26-year-old topped all third basemen in defensive runs saved (18), fielding percentage (.981), zone rating (.834), total chances (466) and putouts (146). 

 

Chapman also won his second consecutive Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award on Wednesday. 

 

Chapman becomes just the second player to win back-to-back AL Platinum Glove Awards, joining former Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre.

How Jurickson Profar's talk with Adrian Beltre helped A's second baseman

How Jurickson Profar's talk with Adrian Beltre helped A's second baseman

This was not the first impression Jurickson Profar had in mind.

The A's new second baseman was mired in a 5-for-47 slump, held without a single RBI through his first 12 games. He was pressing, trying too hard to impress his new team.

That's when Profar made a phone call to recently retired third baseman Adrián Beltré, a long-time teammate in Texas, to wish him a happy 40th birthday. Beltre responded by providing Profar with some helpful advice.

"I just asked him about how he handled himself when he went to a new team," Profar told reporters. "I asked him about my swing and everything."

Whatever Beltré said worked, because in the next theee games, Profar went 6-for-12 with two home runs and seven RBI.

"Just the confidence," Profar explained. "He told me that he knows I'm going to do well. Just relax and do my thing, and that's it. ... He made me feel comfortable."

"We knew he was going to swing the bat well," A's manager Bob Melvin added. "He's probably a little bit more relaxed than he was."  

Profar, 26, had spent his entire career playing alongside Beltré in Texas before being traded to Oakland this past offseason. Last year, Profar had a breakout season, slashing .254/.335/.458 with 20 home runs, 35 doubles, and 77 RBI. The A's believed he would build on that performance this year, but it didn't start out that way.

"When you're with a new team, you want to get some hits and show the new team what you have to offer," Melvin said. "He certainly did that in the (Baltimore) series, not that he needed to because we've been on the other side. Last year he beat us up some, so we know what he can do at the plate."

It's also been a struggle for Profar defensively early on. He has already committed four errors, including a couple of costly errant throws in key situations. But Melvin believes Profar will get more comfortable playing second base as the season goes on.

"It's still kind of a new position for him, based on the fact he was on the other side of the diamond for the most part last year," Melvin told reporters. "Learning the angles, learning new players with Marcus at short and so forth, that all takes time. ... I think he enjoys the fact that he can come out and just work on one position consistently and know that's where he's going to be." 

[RELATED: Profar reflects on his time with Rangers]

Profar has drastically picked up his play of late, both offensively and defensively. He has raised his batting average from .106 to .191, driving in nine runs in his last six games. He credits that conversation with Beltré.

"I have a good friend in him and I can always call him and ask him for tips," Profar said. "If I ask him, he always will help. He's that kind of guy."