By John Hickey
Special to S.F. Examiner
OAKLAND – Oakland Athletics designated hitter Khris Davis leads the Major Leagues with 43 homers and with 115 RBI is second to Boston’s J.D. Martinez, trailing the Red Sox slugger by eight.
For all of that, in the polling designed to ferret out the winner of this year’s American League MVP winner, Davis isn’t even a second thought.
No one seriously expects Davis to beat out a possible triple crown winner like Martinez, a potential batting champ like Mookie Betts or the vastly gifted Mike Trout. But shouldn’t Davis at least be in the conversation given what he’s meant to the team with the fourth-best record in the major?
Oakland manager Bob Melvin says so.
“It’s all banter right now,” Melvin said before Tuesday’s game against the Angels. “When you talk to us, we’re a little biased. Certainly the numbers would suggest he should be in the conversation.”
The play of the night Monday was the fan interference that kept A’s right fielder Stephen Piscotty from making a catch of a foul fly from Andrelton Simmons for the second out. Given a second chance, Simmons delivered a two-run single in what would prove to be a decisive five-run inning.
Given about 24 hours to think about it, Melvin seemed to take it in stride, although potentially the umpire’s decision not to call Simmons out cost the A’s one game in the AL West standings and one game in the AL Wild Card derby. The rule book says fan interference of that type should result in an out.
“I guess it was based on (the umpires) not knowing it was a for-sure catch,” Melvin said. “I guess I can’t argue that.”
Piscotty wasn’t 100 percent sure he could have made the catch, but he was probably 90 percent sure. Even so, he didn’t hold any grudges, saying that most people in the stands, given a similar situation, likely would have done the same thing.
–Trevor Cahill went through a 35-pitch bullpen session before Tuesday’s game. He was pleased with the results and the A’s have pronounced him ready to go, Melvin saying he could get “a slot this weekend” against the Minnesota Twins. Cahill hasn’t pitched since Sept. 9 after being scratched from a Saturday start in Tampa Bay. He had an MRI that disclosed no serious issues.
–Much has been made of new additions Jeurys Familia and Fernando Rodney increasing the depth of the Oakland bullpen, but it’s a pitcher who has been in the pen all year who may be the most steadying force. Yusemeiro Petit comes into Tuesday with the second-most innings of Any American League reliever with 89.0, and is fourth in games pitched with 70. In his last 31 games, he has a 2.20 ERA with 40 strikeouts and just 10 walks.
“He’s been exactly what we had hoped,” Melvin said. “He gives us multiple innings. He’s not 25 years old, but seems to get better every year. I had him early in his career in Arizona, and it’s in the last couple of years he’s done his best work.”
–The A’s completed their deal with Detroit for Mike Fiers, sending minor league starting pitcher Logan Shore to the Tigers. When the deal was first announced in August, minor league reliever Nolan Blackwood went as part of the deal. Fiers’ success – the A’s have won all but one game he’s started – meant that the second player going to the Tigers was going to be a decent prospect, and Shore, despite a mediocre season in 2018, is that. He was 2-0, 1.21 with Single-A Stockton, but was 1-6, 5.50 with Double-A Midland in between three stints on the DL.
–Left-handed starter Sean Manaea underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder Tuesday. The procedure was performed in Los Angeles by specialist Dr. Neil ElAttrache. Melvin said he was told the surgery “went really well.” Dr. ElAttrache performed a subacromial decompression, acromioplasty and posterior labral repair at the Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles. The left-hander will begin his rehab on Monday in Arizona.