In two seasons under Jim Skaalen the A’s offense ranked ninth and 11th among AL teams in runs scored and yesterday they fired him and hired Gerald Perry as their new hitting coach.
Perry was previously Oakland’s hitting coach in 2006, which is the last time the A’s made the playoffs, but even while winning 93 games they ranked just ninth among AL teams in runs that season. Perry left the A’s for the Cubs, where he served as hitting coach for two-and-half seasons before being fired in mid-2009. He’s also previously served as hitting coach for the Mariners and Pirates.
In addition to replacing Skaalen with Perry the A’s also added Joel Skinner to the Bob Geren’s staff as a bench coach, with Tye Waller moving from bench coach to first base coach. Skinner spent two decades in the Indians organization, first as a player and then coaching at various levels, including a half-season stint as the interim manager when Charlie Manuel was fired in 2002.
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.