With Melvin at graduation, Hale takes A's helm

With Melvin at graduation, Hale takes A's helm

TORONTO -- The A's began a three-game set across the border Friday without their manager, who was in New York for his daughter's college graduation.

Bob Melvin was expected to resume his duties in Toronto on Saturday, but it was bench coach Chip Hale at the helm on Friday. Bullpen coach Darren Bush acted as his bench coach, while Ariel Prieto, the A's coach and interpreter, filled in for Bush in the bullpen.

For Hale, who has interviewed for numerous managerial vacancies in recent years, it marked the first time he'd managed an entire big league game, outside of Spring Training. He, of course, has fulfilled the duties on occasion when Melvin has been ejected, and on Friday, Hale didn't appear the least bit overwhelmed by the job in advance of the contest.

"Basically, I'm just that guy that has to walk out there and change a pitcher and look in and see what the calls are on the replays," Hale said, smiling. "The coaching staff, we always work together as it is. I guess I'm just the guy they can blame if something goes wrong."

Hale and Melvin wrote out the lineup during Thursday night's flight from Tampa. But after Melvin boarded an early-morning flight from Toronto to New York, Hale told him: "Just relax. Everything's fine."

"As an organization, we have a way of going about it with guys here," said Hale. "I mean, we're not all of a sudden going to make Brandon Moss a hit-and-run guy. We're going to play the way we always play, and as long as they play hard, we should be good."

Melvin's daughter, Alexi, graduated from The New School in New York City.

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.