A's Fuentes seeks better communication

A's Fuentes seeks better communication

A's Fuentes seeks better communication
ANAHEIM -- A's lefty Brian Fuentes criticized Bob Geren's "unorthodox managing" after the club's 4-1 loss to the Angels on Monday and noted the skipper has "zero" communication with him, making for a "pretty drastic difference" when comparing past managers.

The 35-year-old veteran reliever, owner of 196 career saves on five Major League teams, suffered his fourth loss in as many appearances on Monday and his career-high seventh of the season when he was brought into a 1-1 game and watched his baserunner score the Angels' go-ahead run on Torii Hunter's double off righty Michael Wuertz.

It marked the fourth straight tied-game situation for Fuentes and the third consecutive on the road, the first two coming in San Francisco. He hasn't had a save opportunity since May 8.

"There's just no communication," he said. "Two games on the road, bring the closer in a tied game, with no previous discussions of doing so. And then, tonight, in the seventh inning, I get up. I haven't stretched, I haven't prepared myself. If there was some communication beforehand I would be ready to come into the game -- which I was, when I came into the game, I was ready. Just lack of communication. I don't think anybody really knows which direction he's headed."

Normally reserved for the most part, Fuentes said his unsettled feelings about Geren's managerial style surfaced just recently, as influenced by the happenings in San Francisco.

"I think the games in San Francisco were some unorthodox managing," he said. "I thought it was maybe the National League thing, that maybe that had something to do with it, but tonight was pretty unbelievable."

Fuentes has acted the part of closer in Andrew Bailey's absence this season, but before Monday's game, Geren was questioned about that role.

"I can use anybody late in the game," Geren said. "It's been that way. Everybody knows that."

Fuentes, though, has clearly been the go-to guy in save situations, having racked up nine saves -- good for fifth in the American League -- in 11 opportunities. And he directly made it known on Monday night that Geren told him at the beginning of the season that he is, in fact, the club's closer.

"Yes, from get-go, I've been closing," he said.

Thus, when asked what went through his mind when the phone rang in the seventh inning in Anaheim, Fuentes admitted thinking bullpen coach Rick Rodriguez "misspoke."

"I thought it was some sort of miscommunication, but he said, 'No, you're up,' so I got up and cranked it up," he said. "You can't try to guess along with them. Very unpredictable."

The lack of communication should change, Fuentes admitted, before adding, "It's not my decision."

"I can't predict the future," he said. "If he decides to take that step, then there will be communication. If not, I'll make sure I'm ready from the first."

Does the air need to be cleared with Geren?

"Some people might think so," Fuentes said. "At this point, I have nothing to say."

The southpaw's comments come in the midst of an already frustrating time for the A's, who have lost six straight games. Geren, who was addressed before Fuentes' briefing with reporters but not after, said he used the lefty in the eighth because the upcoming at-bats for Angels hitters Erick Aybar and Bobby Abreu were "perfect for a left-hander."

"You figure you go with him for a couple guys," Geren said. "If he gets them both out, maybe let him try to finish the inning. If not, you have your right-hander for Hunter."