Instead of fielding questions, Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin asked one as he looked at a handful of Philadelphia reporters before Friday night’s game against the Phillies.
The topic, of course, was Rhys Hoskins.
“You guys want to give me some scouting reports on how to pitch him?” Melvin said.
He was told not to throw him fastballs — or breaking pitches.
“So come up with a new pitch?” Melvin said, smiling.
The veteran skipper had high praise before he was to get his first look at Hoskins, who enters the three-game series with 18 home runs in his first 34 big-league games.
The rare September interleague series features a pair of rookie sluggers. Oakland’s Matt Olson entered with 18 home runs in 50 games.
“Gaudy numbers for sure. Both of these guys have had serious impacts from the time they’ve gotten here,” Melvin said. “You look at Hoskins and what, it’s what, 50 (47) home runs or whatever between Triple A and here. It’s pretty impressive.”
But Melvin said both players will soon face key tests.
“At some point in time, both of these guys are going to have to make adjustments because the league always does make adjustments to you,” Melvin said. “But the numbers, you can’t argue with the numbers. It’s significant for anybody in baseball, let alone rookies.”
Hoskins' hitting contagious?
Phillies manager Pete Mackanin was asked if Hoskins’ plate discipline — he had 26 walks to just 27 strikeouts in his first 118 big-league at bats — would rub off on teammates.
“I hope it does. That’s how you learn, watching other people,” Mackanin said. “When I was a kid growing up in Chicago, Ron Santo was the third baseman for the Cubs and when I was playing baseball I tried to repeat his actions. … I would like to think that some guys are asking him what he thinks about when he hits and what his approach is. That’s what I would do.”
While the Phillies were holding off making it official, Mackanin said right-hander Henderson Alvarez would “most likely” start Sunday’s series finale.
Alvarez, a former All-Star with the Marlins, hasn’t pitched in MLB since 2015 because of shoulder problems.
Home run ball
Rookie outfielder Cameron Perkins said the Phillies were able to track down the fan who grabbed the ball from his first major-league home run Thursday night. Perkins is planning an exchange before Sunday’s game.
“They were very generous and more than willing to make a trade,” Perkins said. “So I’m just going around trying to collect some stuff. I have a bat I’m going to sign and I’m going to get some [signed] balls from some of the more popular guys.”
Veteran observers declared Mackanin’s corny joke Friday to be one of his worst yet.
“Anybody play tennis here?” Mackanin asked. “I quit because it hurt my ears too much. It was a lot of racket.”