Bowen's start will end with celebration

Bowen hosting A's in Atlanta

CLEVELAND -- A's manager Bob Geren didn't like what he saw from struggling catcher Kurt Suzuki at the plate Wednesday, so he changed his mind overnight and decided to start backup Rob Bowen in Thursday's series finale against the Indians.

That decision made what was already sure to be a happy day for Bowen a potentially special day. Whether he was going to be behind the plate or not, Bowen was planning to make sure the plates of his teammates were full Thursday night.

Bowen has long been putting together a team cookout at his 14-acre ranch in McDonough, Ga., about 20 minutes outside of Atlanta, where the A's open a three-game Interleague Series on Friday.

"The whole team's coming over," Bowen said proudly Thursday morning. "I'm staying out there while we're in Atlanta, so the guys will just drop their bags at the hotel and head over when we land tonight.

"It's not going to be as crazy fancy as Mike Piazza's little team party in New York last season, though. That's New York. This is God's country."

Bowen, who got his fifth start of the season over Suzuki, who's in a 0-for-23 funk, said he's hired two chefs and a wine expert for the evening.

"Lots of food, nice little wine-testing session," he explained. "It's gonna be a good time."

A three-acre pond is nearby, and there's plenty of wildlife on the property, but Bowen said he doesn't hunt much on his own land.

"Ryan Klesko has a place in the area," Bowen said, referring to the former Braves star. "So if we want to bust out the rifles, we'll have to head over there.

"Probably not the best idea after a little wine, though. We'll just chill out and enjoy the outdoors."

Mychael Urban is a national writer for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.