Notes: Stewart leads by example
Veteran shows teammates how to be a well-prepared player
ST. PETERSBURG -- With 1,300-plus Major League games under his belt, Shannon Stewart has probably learned a few things.
What makes Bob Geren smile, though, is the way the A's outfielder is willing to share his experiences with others.
Youngsters on the team may want to grab a pen and paper and take note, because Stewart is meticulous with his pre-game schedule right down to the stretches he performs. It's probably a good reason why the 33-year-old has lasted through 16 seasons of professional baseball.
"He has a real nice routine for everything he does," Geren said. "Just the way he gets ready for a game and prepares his body, the way he takes batting practice. He's very organized, as far as what he does in warm-ups and everything. He's as organized as anybody I've ever seen."
Stewart's had some time to work out the kinks and has experience playing for two other teams that he brought with him to Oakland when he signed as a free agent just prior to this year's Spring Training. As the third-eldest on a roster filled with late-70s and 80s babies, Stewart's already been through a lot of issues going on with his younger teammates, and is on hand to offer advice when needed.
"He's been a real example," Geren said. "I've mentioned it before, but everything he does is a great example for these younger players. The way he does his preparation, and in every which way."
Quick hits: Jeff DaVanon rested up on Saturday, although Geren said he'd be available to pinch-hit should the situation arise. Oakland's center fielder had earned the day, Geren said, after playing five games straight on turf, which is widely known as being hard on the athletes' bodies. ... The A's are just 15-25 in weekend games this season, compared to 50-40 from Monday-Friday. ... Friday night's loss marked the first time in Oakland history that it had won by 10 (Thursday) and then turned around the next night to lose by 10. ... Oakland leads the American League in walks this month (102). The A's also have the third-most doubles (50) and are tied for third-best in runs scored (128).
Down on the farm: The Triple-A River Cats lost, 8-5, to Fresno on Friday, but still saw their magic number needed to clinch the Southern Division title shrink to seven. ... Double-A Midland mustered just four total hits and lost its third straight to Corpus Christi, 4-0. ... The Class A Ports jumped out to a 3-0 lead but went cold soon after, and finished on the losing end of a 6-4 game to Lancaster.
Here's the question: At 139-53 (.724), the A's have the best August record since 2001. Can you name the teams that round out the top three?
On this date: In 1986, Mark McGwire hits his first Major League homer, off the Tigers' Walt Terrell, during an 8-4 win. ... In 2006, Barry Zito wins the 100th game of his career and no-hits the Rangers through seven innings during a 9-3 victory.
And the answer is: The Yankees have the second-best win percentage in August over the last seven seasons, but the A's have a pretty big lead on them -- New York is 116-79 (.595) in the month. St. Louis is right on the Yankees' heels with a 117-80 (.594) record.
Up next: The A's conclude a four-game series at Tampa Bay with a Sunday afternoon game. Oakland will send right-hander Dan Haren (14-4, 2.66 ERA) to the mound, where he'll face off against righty Andy Sonnanstine (2-9, 6.53). First pitch is set for 10:40 a.m. PT.
Dawn Klemish is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.