Blanks getting settled with first A's homestand
OAKLAND -- Kyle Blanks has essentially been living out of his suitcase the past couple of months.
On Monday, he took the field for his first home game with the A's at O.co Coliseum as the starting first baseman, batting eighth. The 27-year-old said the A's clubhouse has been welcoming, but he's grown weary of life on the road.
Blanks started the season with the Padres at Triple-A El Paso, where the home stadium wasn't finished for nearly a month to start the year due to construction. After making five appearances with San Diego, Blanks was traded and joined the A's in Cleveland before continuing the lengthy road trip to Tampa Bay and Toronto.
"It's nice to try and finally settle and have somewhere to leave my stuff and kind of take a deep breath," Blanks said. "Just somewhere to have a baseline and have a frame of reference to kind of go from and work from there. In El Paso, we started with 25 on the road. I need a few days to decompress for sure."
Blanks said he's enjoyed a good dialogue with manager Bob Melvin since joining the A's on May 15. It's also been nice knowing that he can focus solely on first base after shuttling between that position and the outfield the past few years.
"The first conversation I had [with Melvin] I was told my role and 'This is what you're going to do,'" Blanks said. "It's pretty obvious the way the lineup seems to flip here. It's more of a matchup game, but it's definitely nice to know coming in -- this is what we see, this is what we like, this is what you're going to do -- it's nice to have some idea of what's going on and what you're doing. That was definitely a nice breath of fresh air."
Entering play Monday, the right-handed-hitting Blanks was 2-for-11 (.182) with a couple of singles in his first five games with the A's. But as he noted, he's still getting used to the American League pitchers after spending his entire career with the Padres. In the second inning of Monday's game, Blanks went deep off Drew Smyly for his first homer of the year.
"It's always nice to get consistent at-bats," Blanks said. "But it's always a matter of staying focused and making the most of the opportunities when you're given them. I'm not going to freak out over five, six, 10 at-bats. I've been playing long enough to understand that it's not always great to put the utmost emphasis on results immediately."