The A's are suddenly soaring, and the lucky recipient of this week's edition of Five Quick Questions features Rick Hurd of the Contra Costa Times.
If you want to peruse any previous week's editions, you can find these under the Athletics Nation Exclusives heading on the right-hand side of this web page.
Without further ado, here's Rick:
1. What's you initial impression of Octavio Dotel? Do you think he's a natural fit in the clubhouse? Do you think he's going to be the answer as the A's closer and do you think he'll add stability to the pen?
My initial impression of Octavio Dotel is that he'll fit in just fine in the A's clubhouse. He's a good-natured guy, as exemplified by his offer to the media to hold off on his weight-lifting until we talked to him after Saturday's game. Normally, that would be an outing most guys would want to forget, seeing as he blew a 7-3 lead in the ninth. Dotel comes from a team with a good clubhouse reputation, and the A's long have been known for having excellent chemistry off the field. Salsa music has been playing all season, and Dotel has wasted little time adding to the collection.
As for the stability he brings to the bullpen, he brings a ton of it just because of his ability to pitch everyday. He was a godsend to Ken Macha during the sweep of the Angels, because the bullpen was without Arthur Rhodes, Justin Duchscherer and Chris Hammond. Billy always has his feelers out in search of help, but my guess is that the bullpen will stay the way it is. The A's will soar or crash with this bunch.
2. Do you think that Billy is done dealing or what do you think he may go after next?
I think the one item on the A's agenda as the trading deadline approaches is one more bat, perhaps a corner outfielder. Eric Byrnes has done a nice job, but doubt still lingers around the organization about whether he can avoid a repeat of his 2003 slump. Bobby Kielty has been very inconsistent and has had a horrible year hitting left-handed. Having said that, I think adding an additional bat would be a luxury. I think the A's have enough offensively if Tim Hudson gets healthy, Barry Zito straightens himself out and the bullpen improves with the addition of Dotel.
3. Do you have an update on how Eric Chavez's rehab is going? Is it going to be like he's starting spring training all over again because of all the time missed? In other words, do you think he feels like he going to have problems in the batter's box because he hasn't see a 95-mph fastball in six weeks?
Eric Chavez took batting practice off a machine on Thursday and was scheduled to have an x-ray on Friday. But head trainer Larry Davis said the X-ray might be called off, because team orthopedist Dr. Jerrald Goldman said Chavez's progress at this point will be determined by how Chavez "reacts to the stress of baseball more than by what the (X-ray) film will show. I anticipate Chavez will begin a rehab assignment in 7-10 days and probably will return to the A's immediately following the All-Star break. And yes, it will take him a couple of weeks to get adjusted at the plate. Chavez said "no matter how great I feel, I'm going to be behind for a little while. You can't avoid it."
4. The oblique seems to be a recurring problem for Huddy. Have you heard anything about Larry Davis and company going to start to look at possibly changing his delivery to prevent the torque on his midsection? Many in Athletics Nation are nervous that this will spring up again come playoff time, if the A's get there.
Tim Hudson did some heavy abdominal work during the offseason to prevent this problem, but the A's now aren't sure if there's really anything they can do to prevent it. Hudson generates so much torque on his delivery with such a slim frame that this injury might just be a by-product. The A's have talked about bringing in new abdominal machines to the clubhouse. The last thing they'll try to change is his delivery. Once you begin doing that, you risk an injury to the forearm, elbow or shoulder. The A's can live with an occasional oblique problem; not so an arm injury.
5. Do you think that the Arthur Rhodes CBS Sportsline article comments were completed hashed out and everyone feels good moving forward now, or do you think this is a T Long situation, where Rhodes is going to be dealt for making the comments he did?
From everything I've been told, the Rhodes situation is behind the A's. They've responded with a 5-2 run since the team meeting to clear the air. Still, hard feelings can run deep in this sport, and don't be surprised if Rhodes is moved before the July 31 deadline.
Thank you so much, Rick. We here in AN appreciate the time you've taken to correspond with us.