04/15/07 5:45 PM ET
Notes: Embree fitting in well
Strong start earns reliever respect in young clubhouse
By Ryan Quinn / Special to MLB.com
A's reliever Alan Embree is making a statement early this season for the A's with a team-leading eight appearances and a 1.17 ERA over 7 2/3 innings.
"I would say performance dictates [respect] more than anything else," Embree said. "It doesn't really matter until you show them what you have."
Embree, 37, has more experience than any other pitcher on the staff and is second on the A's in age only to the 38-year-old Mike Piazza. The southpaw from Vancouver, Wash., is 10 years older than most of the pitchers with Oakland, but he feels that they have accepted him.
"The guys have taking me in," Embree said. "I'm the older guy they've been very respectful to, but still playful with. It helps me stay young, which is good."
One of the players whom Embree jelled with early was 24-year-old Chad Gaudin, who is from Harahan, La., and went hunting with Embree before Spring Training. He has enjoyed learning from Embree.
"That's one of the guys that we hit it off perfect," Gaudin said. "I love to hunt, and he's more of a country guy.
"He's really knowledgeable about the game. He brings a lot to our table. He brings a good even keel on personality and appearance. You don't know whether he is dying out there or he's hurting or he's doing great. You watch him go about his business, and he is just a professional. I think he sets a great tone for us."
Embree started the season with 5 1/3 scoreless innings scoreless before giving up his first run to the Yankees on Friday night.
Still down: Milton Bradley celebrated his 29th birthday on Sunday by taking another day off with a sore left hamstring. Bradley hasn't played since tweaking it on the basepaths on April 10 against the White Sox.
The A's will definitely miss Bradley's birthday bat, which has given him 10 hits, including two doubles and two homers, in 20 April 15 at-bats.
"We're shooting for Tuesday," A's manager Bob Geren said. "I talked with him [on Saturday], and he said he just a day or two away from coming back."
Second baseman Mark Ellis was a late scratch from Sunday's game against the Yankees. Ellis was originally in the lineup, with Bobby Crosby getting the day off after playing 24 innings in two days, but he was replaced by Marco Scutaro. Ellis missed Saturday's game with a bruised trapezius muscle, which spans the neck, shoulders and back.
Jackie Robinson Day: A video was shown at McAfee Coliseum for Jackie Robinson Day before Sunday's game, and a few players gave their thoughts on No. 42.
"It's definitely a special day," catcher Jason Kendall said. "[This day] definitely needs to happen. When I was in high school, I always did book reports on Jackie Robinson, from eighth grade on up. It's definitely an exciting day. He played the game the right way -- with a lot of heart."
"[Robinson] definitely bettered the game," added Embree. "It gave everybody an equal opportunity, and deservedly so. If you look at all the great players that didn't get a chance to play, there were great players that were African-American. It's a shame that it didn't happen sooner.
"If you look at what Jackie did, it opened the door and it gave opportunities to great players. It made the quality of baseball better."
Crow hops: Geren said that Joe Kennedy will be available from the bullpen over the next few games, since his turn was skipped in the rotation because of the three days off in two weeks. ... Triple-A Sacramento won, 9-8, on Saturday against Tacoma. Shortstop Donnie Murphy went 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs.
Up next: After a day off on Monday, the A's will host the Angels for the first of a two-game series on Tuesday. Gaudin (0-0, 2.53 ERA) will make his third start against lefty Joe Saunders (1-0, 2.92 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. PT.
Ryan Quinn is a contributor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.