MINNEAPOLIS – The crowd of media surrounding third baseman Trevor Plouffe was enough to prompt A’s manager Bob Melvin to wonder what was next.
“Was the parade today? Or will it be tomorrow for him?” Melvin said with a laugh.
Tuesday was the first day Plouffe had been in Target Field as anything other than as a Minnesota Twin. He’d opted for free agency, and the A’s signed him to play third base back in January.
Plouffe said he’s made the adjustment, although there was the small matter of the number on his jersey.
He is wearing 3, a number he said he wore growing up. He would have taken 24, his number with the Twins, but thanks to Rickey Henderson’s Hall of Fame career, that didn’t happen.
“24 wasn’t available in Oakland, and rightfully so,” Plouffe said. He went on to say that because it was his number as a kid and because 3 was the number that Hall of Fame third/first baseman Harmon Killebrew wore, it was right.
“It was a little bit of a tribute to Harmon and all the time I spent with him,” Plouffe said.
He said it was good to be back in Minneapolis. But …
“The hardest thing is seeing everybody again and kind of remembering all the times that we had,” he said. “It’s also a cool thing, I have a whole new experience; new people I get to meet. It was difficult to leave, but now I feel good.”
Melvin said that Plouffe has fit right in with the A’s even if his number with Oakland — .207 four homers and nine RBI – aren’t much to speak of.
“He’s a terrific presence in the clubhouse,” Melvin said. “He’s all about his team. He’s gotten off to a little bit of a slow start, but he’s also hit some home runs, and some big home runs for us. He’s the type of guy we’ve had to hide him down in the lineup a little bit right now. But the next thing you know, with one swing of the bat it could be a three-run home run.
“A couple of weeks into spring training, it felt like he had been on the club before. There are certain guys who have moved around a little bit and who know how to handle themselves in different organization, but this was his first move, and he’s been great. He’s one of the position player leaders in our clubhouse.”
Disabled reliever John Axford joined the club Monday and threw his first bullpen session Tuesday. If all goes well, and Axford said his right shoulder strain wasn’t a problem anymore, he will have another bullpen throw Thursday. He could be back within a couple of week. “It takes a little while once they started throwing bullpens,” Melvin said.
Disabled starters Daniel Mengden and Chris Bassitt will throw this week as they continue their rehabs. Mengden will throw three innings and 45 pitches Wednesday at the A’s extended spring training facility in Mesa, Ariz., while Bassitt will throw four innings and 60 pitches with Class-A Stockton.
It appears that Sean Manaea, who went on the DL Sunday, will only miss one start and could be back in the rotation as soon as his 10 days on the disabled list are up this weekend when the Tigers visit Oakland. “He’s feeling pretty good,” Melvin said, saying a bullpen would take place in the next day or two.