SAN FRANCISCO -- As the A's were putting the final touches on their second straight win over the Giants on their home turf on Tuesday night, a national baseball writer sent out a tweet about the Coliseum that ruffled several players who call it home.
It was CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, who tweeted, "A shame the a's and giants have to play these games at the coliseum while ATandT sits empty. #shame"
Oakland's ballpark, built in 1966, may not be as aesthetically pleasing as San Francisco's AT&T Park, but, "At the end of the day," said lefty Sean Doolittle, "That's our home."
Talks of a new ballpark for the A's have circulated for years, but no plans have gained traction.
"I get what he was trying to say," said Doolittle. "You can't deny the fact it's a concrete castle. It's outdated. It is what it is. It's not the state-of-the-art stadium these other teams have. But it's our home. It's got a certain character to it, and we think it provides a distinct home-field advantage for us with the fans. I was just defending our territory."
Doolittle also took to Twitter in the wake of Heyman's remark, and he wasn't the only one. Several of his teammates, including Brett Anderson, also weighed in. Reliever Jerry Blevins thought about tweeting, but opted not to, instead simply saying Wednesday, "I don't think that's how he meant it. I just think it came across very poorly. He could have worded it differently."
However, Blevins was aware that Heyman declined to comment about his tweet at the request of a local radio station and said, "I think he should have taken the chance to kind of put his side of the story out there."
Manager Bob Melvin, who purposely refrains from engaging in the Twitter world, had gotten word of Heyman's tweet by the time a reporter asked him about it.
"Well, you know what, if you come out and experience the atmosphere at our ballpark, maybe you wouldn't say that because it's a pretty dynamic atmosphere, with those fans being very vocal there," Melvin said. "It's unlike anywhere else, just that you get that component both ways. It makes for a very dynamic atmosphere. Even the Giants were making comments about how great the atmosphere was."
Norris evolving as a clubhouse leader
SAN FRANCISCO -- It was sometime during A's Spring Training when outfielder Chris Young learned the truth about catcher Derek Norris.
Young, fresh off spending seven seasons in the National League with the D-backs, turned to Norris for insights on attacking the opponent's starting pitcher. But as the youngest member of the A's active roster, Norris was unable to provide advice.
"I just assumed by the way he carried himself that he had been around for a few years," Young said. "It's just one of those things that you get a feeling for with some players. The way he goes about his business, you see how important the game is to him. You can see that he takes it seriously."
Mistakes like Young's are fine with Norris. If anything, they're preferred. Oakland's second-year catcher has always been complimented on being mature for his age -- something he takes as much pride in as any facet of his game.
"I try to go about my business in a way that I don't want anybody to know if I have 10 years or one year or whatever in this league," said Norris, 24, who joked that he'd look much younger without his straggly facial hair. "That's how I think you gain respect with your teammates."
Norris' maturity extends to his approach behind the plate, where he has backed the A's starting pitchers to one of their best stretches of the season. Oakland's starters are 7-1 with a 2.72 ERA in their 11 past games and have allowed no more than one walk in their last seven starts. He was behind the plate for nine of those.
"The fact that he's been catching a lot here as of late and been having some success, he knows the pitchers now with his second year with them for the most part," A's manager Bob Melvin said this week.
Norris has counterbalanced his youth by watching video of opposing hitters' at-bats and offering his findings to the pitchers before games.
"I present them with a game plan so they know I've done my homework, they know I've done my research and I'm prepared for the game," Norris said. "I think they put that in the back of their mind so that when it comes down to it, if they execute the pitches I call, I got their back and want what's best for them."
John Jaso started Wednesday's game against the Giants, though there was a chance Melvin could insert Norris into the lineup later in the game as the A's began a two-game foray into NL play. Norris cranked a two-run home run down the left-field line Tuesday's second inning to give the A's a 2-1 lead, as he attempts to expand upon his role as simply a game manager.
"The next step is to become a little bit more of a leader and impactful here and being impactful here with some of your conversations that you normally don't have as a younger player," Melvin said. "But he is maturing into that role."
Reddick set to return on Friday
SAN FRANCISCO -- Josh Reddick enjoyed another productive rehab game with Triple-A Sacramento on Wednesday, again exiting the outing without any issues in his right wrist.
The plan is for Reddick to play in one more game with the River Cats on Thursday and, "if things go well," A's manager Bob Melvin said, the outfielder will be reinstated from the disabled list on Friday.
Reddick went 1-for-4 on Wednesday, after going 1-for-3 in each of his previous rehab games. He also "made a couple of nice plays" in right field," Melvin said.
"Feels good, no issues with the swing," he continued. "The plan is to DH him tomorrow and hopefully we're on our way."
Reddick will be coming back to a .152 clip, a meager average he believes was directly affected by his wrist woes. He hit .242 with 32 home runs last year.
"It was probably good for him to get a break and get fully healthy," Melvin said. "That way there'll be no trepidation about coming back. He was having trouble pulling the ball there at the end, too. Obviously he was a key component to our success last year and means the same this year."