Bench coach Aldrete takes reins for split-squad

Handling squad in Mesa with Melvin managing Vegas club

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- It's Spring Training for everybody, as they say, and for A's bench coach Mike Aldrete, a two-day stint as manager will help get him ready for the likely eventuality that skipper Bob Melvin will earn an early exit from a game during the season.

With Melvin managing the split-squad in Las Vegas, Aldrete is running the club staying back in Mesa, including Friday's game against the Royals and Saturday's game against the Giants. It's not Aldrete's first rodeo, having served as bench coach for the Cardinals as well, taking over on occasion.

At least Aldrete will have a couple of games under his belt if and when Melvin has to hand over the keys to the team after being ejected from a game.

"I've been in that situation with St. Louis the last three years, so it's not foreign," said Aldrete, who before his stint as bench coach with the Cardinals served as a first-base coach and hitting coach for Melvin's teams in Seattle and Arizona, respectively. "I understand from a managerial standpoint it's probably going to happen. I think Mel does a real nice job of keeping his emotions, but at the same time, throughout the course of the year I think we can all say it will happen."

Not that he's auditioning or looking for another gig, but Aldrete says it's a natural that a bench coach has managerial aspirations. This assignment, however, is much more a matter of holding down the fort until Melvin comes back from the Vegas trip. Meanwhile, a little time at the helm doesn't hurt.

"I'm not looking forward to Bob getting kicked out of games, but at the same time getting your feet wet and experiencing being the manager is not a bad thing," Aldrete said.

John Schlegel is a national reporter for You can follow him on Twitter @JohnSchlegelMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.