A's put April fracas with Royals in the past
OAKLAND -- The echoing sentiment among the A's before their series-opening game against the Royals at the Coliseum on Friday is that the team wants to put the drama-filled April meeting with Kansas City behind them.
In that three-game set, from April 17-19, tempers flared, benches cleared multiple times and six Royals were ejected. Despite the history, the A's insist this is just another series.
"That stuff happened a long time ago," former Royal Billy Butler said, "and I think it should be left in the past."
A's manager Bob Melvin said he didn't say anything different to his club prior to Friday's matchup. He said he's very confident there are no lingering issues between the teams.
Melvin said he's not sure how the fans will react, but his focus is on ensuring the A's season-high five-game winning streak extends to six games.
"We just want to go out there and forget about that and play baseball," Melvin said. "I would expect both sides to think the same way. That was probably uncomfortable for both teams."
Melvin added that situations like this happen somewhat frequently in baseball, more so than other sports. Every team wants to put animosity behind them, he said, and the A's are no different.
Brett Lawrie was at the center of the April hullabaloo. After sliding into shortstop Alcides Escobar, he was hit the next game and thrown at again the following day.
On Friday, he wouldn't speak to reporters about the issue, quickly dismissing a group that walked his way.
"I don't have anything to say about this series," he said.
• Billy Burns was out of the lineup against the Royals on Friday, missing his first start in 35 games.
Melvin said Burns is a little banged up, and that everyone needs an occasional day off. Burns wore recovery compression pants in the clubhouse Friday afternoon, which he said compress like a blood pressure machine.
"Been a little worn out," Burns said, "and [Melvin] sensed that and is just giving me some rest."
• A's switch-pitcher Pat Venditte said he'll play catch on Saturday for the first time since going on the disabled list June 12 with a right shoulder strain.
Venditte said his rehab has been going smoothly and he's not nearly as concerned about the injury as he was shortly after it first happened. He said he doesn't believe the injury will be season-ending, but he does not have a set date for his return.
"This past week has been a big boost for me, mentally," Venditte said. "I was thinking worst-case scenario when it happened, but it seems to be getting a lot better."