A’s reliever Brian Fuentes rips manager, but two reconcile

Oakland Athletics manager Bob Geren talks to the media during MLB spring training camp in Phoenix February 20, 2011. REUTERS/Rick Scuteri (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

Brian Fuentes ripped A’s manager Bob Geren after the club’s loss to the Angels on Monday stating, “There’s just no communication.”

“Two games, on the road, bring the closer in a tied game, with no previous discussions of doing so,” said Fuentes. “I don’t think anybody really knows which direction he’s headed.”

Since the comments, Fuentes and Geren have apparently cleared the air and while the interim closer didn’t retract his comments, he did suggest he should have expressed his displeasure in a different manner.

Andrew Bailey, the A’s real closer, should be coming off the disabled list within a week so Fuentes can go back to his regular reliever duties. And that’s probably a good thing because clearly Fuentes can’t handle the responsibility of being the club’s closer.

There’s no doubt that Geren has made a couple of questionable moves this past week, including the decision to pinch hit for Trevor Cahill in the top of the seventh last Friday when the A’s were playing the Giants. The game was tied 1-1 at that point and Cahill had allowed just one run on one hit. It was a little early for Geren to go to his bullpen and if there has been a lack of communication between him and his pitchers, then maybe Fuentes’ comments were just.

That said, Fuentes is 1-7 this year with a 5.06 ERA and has just 15 strikeouts compared to 10 walks. He’s not doing his job and if he needs his manager to tell him to get ready to come into a game, then the A’s have a bigger problem on their hands than Fuentes’ numbers. Fuentes has experience as a closer: he should know that he needs to be ready at all times, regardless of the score and regardless of the situation. There’s just no excuse for a closer (interim or not) to be saying things like, “bring the closer in a tied game, with no previous discussions of doing so.”

Hopefully the A’s can get past their issues and start winning some games. Like the 2010 Giants, if they get enough offense on a nightly basis then they could do some real damage with their pitching staff. It’s outstanding save for Fuentes’ issues in the later innings, of course.

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