From Comcast SportsNetOAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Bob Melvin has repeatedly described the comfort of managing right at home in the Bay Area -- and Billy Beane has described the comfort in having a winning, "modern-day" manager leading the Oakland Athletics.Melvin is staying put in the very place he wants to be well into the future.The A's manager received a two-year contract extension Monday that takes him through the 2016 season. Later Monday, Oakland announced it had reached agreement on a 1 million, one-year contract with catcher George Kottaras, a raise of 275,000.Beane is thrilled to have a manager in place to guide the small-budget A's for years to come."To get an extension like this from people you respect and admire and supported you, it really makes you feel good and makes you feel better about doing your job," said Melvin, voted AL Manager of the Year after leading Oakland to a surprising West division title. "My expectations are the same as last year. We're going to compete hard and expect to win. Based on having the results we had last year, we'll have that much more confidence coming into spring training."Oakland became the first team in major league history to win a division or pennant after trailing by five games with less than 10 to play, sweeping three games against Texas to win the division over the Rangers."It's really a reflection of our commitment to Bob and Bob's commitment to us. If you know you have the right guy, there's no sense in waiting until he's got one year left," general manager Billy Beane said. "This was probably the simplest negotiation I've ever had in my career here. That's a reflection of the relationship that Bob has with the organization. We're happy to give him this well-deserved extension. It didn't take very long. The actual writing it up took longer than the actual negotiations."Oakland lost to Detroit 3-2 in a best-of-five AL division series. The A's ended a five-year stretch without a winning record or playoff berth, finishing 94-68.The A's did it with a payroll of 59.5 million -- lowest in the majors -- and 12 rookies. They did it with significant injuries to their starting pitchers and lost their third baseman, Scott Sizemore, to a season-ending knee injury on the first full-squad workout of spring training. And they did it after losing right-hander Bartolo Colon to a 50-game suspension in August for a positive testosterone test, then re-signed him this winter.The 51-year-old Melvin, a former big league catcher who grew up in Menlo Park and played at Cal, took over from the fired Bob Geren in June 2011. Melvin led the Diamondbacks to the NL West title in 2007 and also won 93 games in his rookie season with Seattle in 2003."We knew we had the right guy right from the get go. Continuity is important," Beane said. "It's really important. Once again last year was certainly enjoyable. It's easy to look at a year like last year and everybody has fun when you're winning. This relationship with Bob and myself and the front office and the players started when he took over."Melvin received a three-year contract from Oakland late in the 2011 season. The A's went 47-52 after he took over that year.His local ties are only a bonus. Melvin played three seasons with the San Francisco Giants."I was excited and impressed when Billy told me that Bob was available and accepting the manager role with us," owner Lew Wolff said. "As I observed Bob's leadership and very special drive, I was even more impressed with Billy's choice. I am so very pleased that we will have Bob with us for the foreseeable future. Bob's use of our talent was and is brilliant in my opinion."Kottaras, acquired from Milwaukee before last year's trade deadline, batted .212 with six home runs and 19 RBIs in 27 games for Oakland after hitting .209 with three home runs and 12 RBIs in 58 games with the Brewers.Three A's remain eligible to file for arbitration Tuesday: left-hander Jerry Blevins and outfielders Brandon Moss and Seth Smith.
Three things we learned from the Boston Red Sox’ 11-9 loss to the Minnesota Twins . . .
1) David Price isn’t having fun
Boston’s $217 million-dollar arm had another rough outing -- this time against a team that already has 60 losses.
Those are the team’s he’s supposed to dominate.
“It’s been terrible,” Price said on how his season has gone following the loss. “Just awful.”
Price’s mistakes have often been credited to mechanical mishaps this year. Farrell mentioned that following his start in New York, Price spent time working on getting more of a downhill trajectory on his pitches.
But Price doesn’t think his issue is physical.
So it must be mental -- but he doesn’t feel that’s the case either.
“Honestly I don’t think it’s either one of those,” Price said when asked which he thought was a factor. “It’s me going out there and making pitches. “
But when it comes down to the barebones, pitching -- much like anything else -- is a physical and mental act.
So when he says it’s neither, that’s almost impossible. It could be both, but it has to be one.
His mind could be racing out on the mound from a manifestation of the issues he’s had throughout the season.
Or it could just be that his fastball isn’t changing planes consistently, like Farrell mentioned.
Both could be possible too, but it takes a certain type of physical approach and mental approach to pitch -- and Price needs to figure out which one is the issue, or how to address both.
2) Sandy Leon might be coming back to Earth
Over his last five games, Boston’s new leading catcher is hitting .176 (3-for-17), dropping his average to .395.
A couple things have to be understood. His average is still impressive. In the five games prior to this dry spell, Leon went 7-for-19 (.368) But -- much like Jackie Bradley Jr. -- Leon hasn’t been known for his offensive output throughout his career. So dry spells are always tests of how he can respond to adversity and make necessary adjustments quickly.
Furthermore, if he’s not so much falling into a funk as opposed to becoming the real Sandy Leon -- what is Boston getting?
Is his run going to be remembered as an exciting run that lasted much longer than anyone expected? Or if he going to show he’s a legitimate hitter that can hit at least -.260 to .280 with a little pop from the bottom of the line-up?
What’s more, if he turns back into the Sandy Leon he’s been throughout his career, the Red Sox will have an interesting dilemma on how to handle the catching situation once again.
3) Heath Hembree has lost the momentum he gained after being called up.
Following Saturday’s contest, the right-hander was demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket after an outing where he went 1/3 of an inning, giving up a run on three hits -- and allowing some inherited runners to score.
Hembree at one point was the savior of the bullpen, stretching his arm out over three innings at a time to bail out the scuffling Red Sox starting rotation that abused it’s bullpen.
His ERA is still only 2.41 -- and this has been the most he’s ever pitched that big league level -- but the Red Sox have seen a change in him since the All-Star break.
Which makes sense, given that hitters have seven hits and two walks against him in his 1.1 innings of work -- spanning four games since the break.
“He’s not confident pitcher right now,” John Farrell said about Hembree before announcing his demotion. “As good as Heath has been for the vast majority of this year -- and really in the whole first half -- the four times out since the break have been the other side of that.”
Joe Kelly will be the pitcher to replace Hembree and Farrell hopes to be able to stretch him out over multiple innings at a time, as well.
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