Editor's Note: The above video is from May 10, 2016.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – It took a moment to process who the tall guy was standing at Sean Manaea’s locker after the A’s win Friday night.
Turns out it was Manaea himself, who looked like a completely different person after shaving off the giant mop of hair that made the 6-foot-5 lefty appear to be closer to 6-9 or 6-10.
Given that he’s struggled over his first three major league starts – and his rotation mates along with him -- Manaea decided to do away with his self-described “Samo-fro”, which ranked as one of the most distinctive hairstyles in the bigs.
He had been letting his locks grow since last May, and he joked that video coordinator Adam Rhoden didn’t know who he was at first.
“I’ve been struggling. I might as well switch something up,” Manaea said. “It’ll come back at some point.”
Manaea is 0-1 with an 11.37 ERA in his three starts. His next start comes Monday at home against Texas.
Shortstop Marcus Semien took some satisfaction in knowing his ninth home run of the season Friday night tied the Oakland single-season record for most homers from the No. 9 spot in the order. Ramon Hernandez also hit nine in 2000.
“I remember watching Ramon Hernandez, so that’s cool,” said Semien, a Bay Area native. “It’s good to provide some run production and to turn over the lineup at the same time. It’s great.”
Given Semien leads the team in homers, it always presents the question of whether manager Bob Melvin should move him up in the order.
“I can guarantee you he won’t hit ninth (Saturday),” Melvin said with a smile. “He’s not going to hit third or fourth or fifth, but he won’t hit ninth (Saturday). He’s comfortable down there. You want to keep him in a spot where he’s comfortable, and we get some production down there in the lineup.”
Lefty Dana Eveland, who pitched for the A’s from 2008-09, is now in the Rays bullpen and threw two innings against his former team Friday. He struck out three but also gave up Danny Valencia’s homer in the sixth. The 32-year-old Eveland, who broke into the majors with Milwaukee back in 2005, is now with his 10th major league organization.
Yonder Alonso’s sixth-inning single off Eveland was his first hit of the season against a lefty. He entered the night 0-for-12.
Odd sight: A group of Rays pitchers doing their pregame conditioning outside of Tropicana Field, on a patch of grass that runs along Fifth Avenue. Tampa Bay’s pitchers often run there just to get outdoors and save their legs from the pounding on the Trop’s artificial turf.
Former Rays reliever – and onetime A’s closer -- Grant Balfour will throw out the ceremonial first pitch Sunday. He retired after last season and pitched in 13 postseason games with Tampa Bay, tied for the most in club history.