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Melvin on Fiers: Game better because of him

@MartinJGallegos
February 12, 2020

MESA, Ariz. -- Given A’s pitcher Mike Fiers' involvement in the launching of MLB’s investigation into the Astros' sign-stealing scheme, manager Bob Melvin knew which topic would dominate his first media session as soon as pitchers and catchers reported to camp on Wednesday. He did his best to address it

MESA, Ariz. -- Given A’s pitcher Mike Fiers' involvement in the launching of MLB’s investigation into the Astros' sign-stealing scheme, manager Bob Melvin knew which topic would dominate his first media session as soon as pitchers and catchers reported to camp on Wednesday. He did his best to address it as thoroughly as possible, so that the rest of Spring Training can focus on his own club.

“I’m glad we’re at this point right now. Obviously, Mike had a lot to do with that. The game is better for it, from this point going forward,” Melvin said. “I think it’s all about moving past right now and getting through a lot of the issues that you saw. It’s supposed to be an equal playing field and it wasn’t. I think MLB has done the right thing to move forward and handle it how they’ve handled it.

“Hopefully, at some point in time, we’re not answering a bunch of questions about that. I understand it. I don’t think anybody was too happy about a lot of the things you are seeing come out.”

It felt like a normal first day back at the office for Fiers, who was one of several pitchers to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday. He still is choosing not to address his role as the “whistleblower” in the ordeal, and that’s fine by his teammates and coaches.

“His name is going to be looked at a little differently,” Melvin said of Fiers. “But I think the farther we go along, the more people will realize the game is better because of what he did.”

Melvin added that while MLB did its best to address the complaints it received from various teams throughout the league, including the A’s, it required a player like Fiers, who was a member of the Astros in 2017 and knew exactly what was going on, for action to be taken.

“As you’re seeing right now with more things coming out, I think he’ll be looked upon as a guy that got us to this point,” Melvin said. “MLB does a great job of monitoring these things, but it’s very difficult when a team calls in and complains about something. They can only do so much.

“When a player that was on their team reports what he did, it makes it easier on them to be able to investigate.”

The topic was not discussed with players during Melvin’s introductory meeting on Wednesday, and he does not expect it to come up when position players report next week, either.

“It’s not something I’ll address in our first full-squad meeting,” Melvin said. “We talked about it enough as a group to where I don’t think I need to.”

Martin Gallegos covers the A's for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MartinJGallegos.