Bob Melvin spent parts of eight seasons in three different roles
with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Now, he will try to beat his former
club as manager of the Oakland Athletics.
With Rich Harden set to begin his second stint in Oakland,
Melvin’s A’s open a three-game set against the visiting
Diamondbacks on Friday night.
After serving as Arizona’s bench coach from 2001-02, Melvin
managed the Diamondbacks from 2005 until he was fired early in the
2009 season. Melvin, who guided the club to the NLCS in 2007, was
hired back by Arizona as a special advisor in May before he left to
replace the fired Bob Geren in Oakland on June 9.
The A’s (36-46), who have dropped six of eight, are 9-10 under
“That’s who I came up playing for, and the relationship is
there. But at the same time, he wants to win, and so do we,”
Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton told the team’s official
website. “We are going to go in there and battle, and win every
game that we can.”
Meeting for the first time since Arizona took two of three at
Oakland in 2009, both clubs are looking to bounce back after losing
their most recent series.
The A’s hope Harden can help them avoid a third consecutive loss
when he takes the mound for the first time since Sept. 29 while
with Texas. A strained right lat muscle was the latest setback for
the oft-injured Harden, who went 5-5 with a 5.34 ERA in 18 starts
for the Rangers in 2010.
Harden went 36-19 with a 3.48 ERA in 89 starts while spending
his first five-plus seasons in Oakland.
“He has a track record of success when he’s healthy. Our job, my
job, is to keep him healthy,” Melvin told the Athletics’ official
website. “So, I won’t overextend him on Friday. It’ll be nice to
have him out there again. For us, it’s like making a trade, getting
some of these guys back.”
Harden, who struck out 12 and allowed three runs over 7 2-3
innings in two starts for Triple-A Sacramento, gave up a run and
fanned 10 in seven innings of a 2-0 loss in his only appearance
against the Diamondbacks on July 21, 2008.
The A’s hope to provide more support for the right-hander than
they have while averaging 1.6 runs over the last eight games.
David DeJesus had two hits in Thursday’s 5-4 loss to Florida,
but he’s 5 for 46 (.109) in his last 18 games and batting a
career-low .226. However, he’s hit .359 with two homers and 15 RBIs
in 10 games against the Diamondbacks (44-38), who hope rookie Josh
Collmenter can avoid a fourth consecutive losing start in the
Collmenter (4-4, 2.71) went 3-1 with a 1.05 ERA in his first six
career starts but has posted a 7.00 ERA over the last three. The
right-hander gave up six runs in six innings of a 6-0 loss at
Detroit on Saturday.
Upton, who homered in a 6-2 loss to Cleveland on Wednesday, has
hit .414 with four home runs and 19 RBIs in his last 29 games. He’s
batted .421 (8 for 19) in five career contests versus Oakland.
Arizona had a six-game winning streak at Oakland snapped with a
6-2 loss May 24, 2009.