OAKLAND -- There's never a bad time to question Bob Melvin on his decision to wear No. 6.
The A's manager has always admired "The Capain" of Oakland's World Series championship teams in the early 1970s, No. 6 Sal Bando, and not just because he gave him his first non-playing job in baseball in Milwaukee.
"There are many things that Sal Bando has done to not only enhance my career but to act as a resource for me all the time," Melvin said. "He's one of my all-time favorites."
Melvin spoke these words just seconds before Bando and several of his former teammates joined together at the Coliseum on the eve of Saturday's 1973 World Series championship reunion and celebration.
Bando was accompanied by Cy Young Award winner and American League Most Valuable Player Vida Blue and All-Stars Bert Campaneris, Ray Fosse, Ken Holtzman, Darold Knowles, John "Blue Moon" Odom, Joe Rudi and Gene Tenace, along with Billy North, Dick Green, Pat Bourque, Billy Conigliaro and Ted Kubiak. Coaches Irv Noren and Wes Stock were also on hand.
Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson is scheduled to be at the park Saturday.
Several of these same greats were in the Bay Area just a year ago to celebrate the 40-year anniversary of the 1972 championship club. A similar commencement will likely take place next year to honor the '74 champion A's.
"I wasn't able to make it last year, so it really is a thrill," Bando said. "I haven't seen a lot of these guys in a whole lot of years. I'm always curious to see how everyone looks and feels. Instead of talking baseball, we talk medication now."
Except with maybe Melvin.
"I love talking baseball with Bob," he said. "He's a good baseball man, and we recognized that. I just think players respond to him well and respect him."
With Rosales back, Lowrie gets first start at second
OAKLAND -- Upon Jed Lowrie's arrival in Oakland, the organization's thinking was that he would get a chunk of playing time at nearly every infield position this season.
Yet the versatile Lowrie has only appeared at shortstop through the club's first 23 games, in large part because of Hiro Nakajima's absence. So that's why there was an element of surprise to Lowrie's name attached to second base for game No. 24.
Adam Rosales, fresh off the disabled list, drew the start at shortstop on Friday against the Orioles, and that's where he'll likely be whenever he's in the same lineup as Lowrie, whose last start at second base came on Sept. 6, 2010, while with the Red Sox.
"It's more about Rosie," manager Bob Melvin said. "Jed's versatility probably works against him at times. Without Rosales here, he got to play shortstop every day. He'll still play some shortstop, but his versatility would suggest he can probably play anywhere up the middle. And Rosales' best position is probably short.
"We'll see where it goes, but Jed's good anywhere up the middle, and obviously his bat speaks for itself, too."
Lowrie entered the day with 31 hits on the season, good for a second-place tie in the American League. The 31 hits are also the most by an Athletic over the first 23 games of the season since Carney Lansford posted 32 in 1992. The record is 33, achieved by both Stan Javier (1994) and Ben Grieve (1998).
Melvin gives newcomer Wells nod in left field
OAKLAND -- Four days after being acquired by the A's and three since he joined them, outfielder Casper Wells finally landed a start with his new club on Friday.
Wells, brought over from the Blue Jays for cash to bolster the outfield depth with Yoenis Cespedes hurt, started in left field and batted eighth vs. Orioles lefty Wei-Yin Chen, against whom he's 2-for-4 with a home run in his career.
The start marked Wells' first of the season. After remaining on the bench with Toronto, he was hitless in two pinch-hit at-bats for the A's prior to Friday.
"I'm trying to keep it simple, keep my thoughts to a minimum," Wells said. "This is like Opening Day for me. Just be relaxed and let your ability take over.
"Mentally, I feel like I'm ready and prepared for that opportunity to play. I knew I'd be playing baseball at some point, somewhere this year, so I prepared as such."
Said manager Bob Melvin: "We wanted to get him acclimated a little bit. Usually we like to get a guy in there fairly quickly when we make a deal. But based on the fact he hadn't played in a while, we wanted to get him comfortable and give him some good work on the field for a couple of days."
• Rehabbing outfielder Cespedes went 2-for-3 with a three-run homer and a walk while playing left field in his second game with Triple-A Sacramento on Friday. He'll serve as the River Cats' designated hitter on Saturday, and barring any setbacks with his injured left hand, will be activated from the disabled list on Sunday.
• Outfielder Josh Reddick's improved plate approach warranted a move back to the No. 3 hole, where he mostly hit last year, for Friday's contest. He has six hits in his last 16 at-bats, after starting the year just 5-for-48.
"This is a spot he's comfortable hitting in," Melvin said. "Based on the fact he's swinging well again, it's the right day to put him back in there. We'll see where it goes from here."
• Nakajima, stationed in Arizona for extended spring training as he continues to rehab a strained left hamstring, took four at-bats on Thursday and was scheduled to do the same Friday. Melvin said the shortstop will "do a few more days of this" before moving on to a Minor League stint.