Paul DePodesta played a major role in assembling the two teams that met in Oakland over the weekend, but he was more likely to be bathing his two kids or pounding nails for Habitat for Humanity than watching a ballgame.
DePodesta has slipped into a comfortable role as family man since being dismissed as the general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers over the winter, a position he held for two stormy seasons after eight years as Oakland GM Billy Beane’s right-hand man.
“I will always be a fan of the A’s and all the people there,’’ DePodesta told the Oakland Tribune. “I was part of some very special years. I’ll always have a fondness for a lot of people with the A’s, both on and off the field. I’ll never stop rooting for the A’s.’’
It is hard to know how De-Podesta feels about the Dodgers. Under terms of his settlement agreement following his dismissal, he cannot discuss any aspect of his time in Los Angeles.
DePodesta still keeps his home in Los Angeles, and when he is not shepherding his 2-year-old son and 5-month-old daughter, he finds time for volunteer work for Habitat for Humanity, mostly construction.
Incognito, he pours concrete, puts up drywall, tends a hammer, or does “whatever else they tell me to do.
“I’m just like anybody else, just another guy wearing a baseball hat and safety goggle,’’ DePodesta said.
New Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes contacted DePodesta last winter about joining his front office as a consultant, but DePodesta opted to take the time off.
PLAYING WITH FIRE
Florida top bat Miguel Cabrera has been intentionally walked 10 times this season, but it has not stalled the offense.
The Marlins are 5-for-8 with two walks in the next atbat, with two home runs, a double and 12 RBIs.
“Everybody knows what a great hitter he is. We’ve just got to follow it up and do something about it,’’ said Cody Ross, who homered against Cincinnati last Sunday after Cabrera was walked.
Randy Johnson drew nods of approval from his Yankees teammates when he threw high-and-tight on Cleveland’s Eduardo Perez on Wednesday, even though Johnson was ejected because both sides had been warned when Jorge Posada was hit by a Jason Johnson pitch earlier.
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen stormed through the dugout when he did not see the same approach from rookie Sean Tracey after Texas pitcher Vicente Padilla twice hit A.J. Pierzynski with a pitch.
Tracey entered the game in the seventh with specific instructions and threw one inside pitch to Hank Blalock before pitching him normally and getting him out. Guillen immediately came to the mound and removed Tracey, who was sent to Triple-A Charlotte the next day.
“Ozzie went nuts,’’ one source told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Johnson faces a five-game suspension. Russ Springer was suspended for four games when he hit Barry Bonds after a warning earlier this season.
DRAWING A CROWD
While Tampa Bay executive vice president Andrew Friedman considers “ridiculous’’ rumors that the Devil Rays will trade Carl Crawford, that has not stopped teams from inquiring.
The Angels have identified Crawford as a candidate to juice up their offense. To get Crawford, they likely would have to trade top young pitcher Ervin Santana plus another front-of-the-rotation pitching prospect.
Colorado has a need for a top-of-the-order hitter but does not appear to want to part with arms such as Ubaldo Jimenez or Franklin Morales.
The Devil Rays appear eager to move Aubrey Huff, who is making $6.75 million this year and will become a free agent this winter.
Closer in waiting
Three months after suffering a strained shoulder in spring training, Kansas City closer Mike MacDougal is nearing a return to a bullpen that desperately needs him. Using Ambiorix Burgos as the prime closer, the Royals have converted only 10 of 23 save chances. MacDougal, of Mesa, was to begin a rehab assignment late last week after hitting 92 mph in a simulated game.
AL All-Star starter
Jose Contreras won his 15th straight decision Monday while striking out a career-high 11 in Texas, and White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen appears determined to let Contreras start the All-Star game, even though he is tentatively scheduled to make a start the Sunday before the break.
“I don’t care,’’ said Guillen, who as the defending AL winner makes the call. “He has the best numbers and plays for the manager.’’
“It’s more the way we’ve played. We haven’t played real smart. We’ve made some stupid mistakes. We haven’t played a lot of really good, clean games. Our starting pitching has been inconsistent. That really, I think, kind of sets the tone.”
— Phillies general manager Pat Gillick after his team was swept by the Mets while the pitching staff’s ERA rose to the highest in the NL
After a 41-pitch first inning in his final tuneup for Triple-A Round Rock, Roger Clemens will make his 2006 debut Thursday against Minnesota.