Before there was Marco Scutaro, there was Mike Gallego. During the Oakland A's glory years in the late 1980s, early 1990s, Gallego was the super-sub on four A's playoff teams. Gallego is returning to Oakland next season, this time as a coach.
Gallego played for the A's from 1985 through 1991 and then again in 1995. The diminutive middle infielder had only a .239 career average, but his value as a player wasn't at the plate, but in the field. The UCLA alum was a wizard with the glove at second, short and third. He played in 133 games for the A's in 1989, the year Oakland won its last World Championship, batting .252 that season. His best year with the A's came in 1991 when he played in 159 games and hit .247 with 12 homers.
Gallego signed with the New York Yankees before the 1992 season and spent the '92-'94 campaigns with New York. After returning to Oakland in 1995, Gallego finished his career with two seasons in St. Louis, playing for former A's manager Tony LaRussa. Once he retired from baseball, Gallego joined the Colorado Rockies organization as a coach. He spent the past four seasons with the Rockies at the major league level as a third base coach and infield instructor.
Gallego will be joining the A's in the same capacity for the 2009 season. He will be replacing Tony DeFrancesco, who spent only a year with the A's as a base coach after years as a manager in the team's minor league system. Gallego is filling the only open spot on the A's coaching staff. The rest of Bob Geren's 2008 staff will return next season, with Curt Young as the pitching coach, Ron Romanick as the bullpen coach, Tye Waller as the first base and outfield coach, Ty Van Burkleo as the hitting coach and Don Wakamatsu as the bench coach. Young was a teammate of Gallego's with Oakland from 1985-1991 and was a member of the same draft class for Oakland (1981).
Hunter Replaces Demel In Hawaii
The A's have sent 2008 seventh round pick Brett Hunter to Hawaii to join the North Shore Honu of the Hawaiian Winter Baseball league. He will be replacing reliever Sam Demel, who was sent home with what A's Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman termed as a tired arm.
"No reason to push at this stage," Lieppman said.
Demel had an uncharacteristically high ERA with Honu (11.12 in five appearances). He threw 67 regular season innings and had a 3.36 ERA in his first full professional season, which he spent with High-A Stockton. Demel had a 2.25 ERA in the post-season, which ended with Stockton as the California League champion. The hard-throwing Demel struck-out 90 batters during the regular season for Stockton.
Hunter arrived in Hawaii on Saturday. The Pepperdine alum inked with the A's just before the signing deadline in mid-August for a record signing bonus for a seventh-round pick. He appeared in only three regular season games for A's affiliates after signing, but was stretched out further during the A's Instructional League. Hunter missed much of the college season with a sore elbow that he has been rehabbing back into shape. He was hitting the mid-90s with his fastball during the A's Instructional League, only a few miles per hour lower than his peak velocity (97 MPH) when healthy during college.
Other News And Notes
- Prospect Sean Doolittle was named as the A's representative to the Arizona Fall League's Rising Stars showcase. The Rising Stars showcase game will be held on Friday, October 24th at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Previous A's Rising Star representatives were Travis Buck, Landon Powell, Mike Mitchell and Marcus McBeth in 2006 and Jeff Baisley and James Simmons in 2007. The first Rising Stars showcase was held in 2006.
- Former A's ace Mark Mulder had his option with the St. Louis Cardinals declined. The left-hander was traded from Oakland to St. Louis before the 2005 season for Dan Haren, Daric Barton and Kiko Calero. He won 16 games in 2005, but he has won only six games in three seasons since that time. Mulder has battled shoulder problems and is recovering from shoulder surgery this off-season. He is likely to be signed by a team to a minor league deal.
- Former A's skipper Ken Macha has been interviewed for the open managerial position in Milwaukee. Macha managed the A's for four seasons (2003-2006) and won two division titles. He led the A's to the ALCS in 2006. It was Oakland's first trip to the championship series since 1992. Macha is considered a top candidate for the Brewers' job.
- Outfielder Jeff Fiorentino, who began the season on the A's active roster for the opening series in Japan, was sent outright to Triple-A by the Baltimore Orioles earlier this week. Fiorentino, who was claimed by the A's from the Orioles last January, was designated for assignment by Oakland in July and re-claimed by Baltimore. He hit .268 in 68 games for Triple-A Norfolk after joining the Orioles in July. Fiorentino had one hit in one at-bat in Japan for Oakland.
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