Cowgill Has A Believer In A's Melvin

OAKLAND—It may have taken awhile, but Collin Cowgill has figured out just where he fits on the baseball field.

"Early in my career, in the minor leagues, it was always my job to be the power guy, to drive in runs," Cowgill said.

That changed last year in the Diamondbacks system, when his manager was former big league leadoff hitter Brett Butler.

"He explained to me that my job was getting on base and to steal second and let those guys behind me drive me in," Cowgill said. "I think it freed my game up a little bit. I changed a little bit more as to take your single rather than to hit the ball out of the park."

With Butler's help, Cowgill reinvented himself as the player he was meant to be, hit .354/.430/.554 en route to a late-season promotion before being included in the offseason trade to Oakland for Trevor Cahill.

Athletics manager Bob Melvin had known Cowgill from his time with the Diamondbacks and provided praise from the outset. Cowgill made the Opening Day roster and performed effectively, only to go down with a sprained ankle on June 22. When he recovered, his job had pretty much been lost to the influx of talent that helped the A's claim the American League West title.

Cowgill refused to mope. When he returned to the majors in September, he became a big-time cheerleader and bit player to help the A's any way he could.

"I don't feel like there's anything gained if I sit around and whine about not being in there every day," he said. "That doesn't help me; that doesn't help this ballclub. I'm going to show up every day with a positive attitude and do whatever I can to help."

This is the type of team-first attitude that so excites Melvin. Cowgill, a fifth-round pick in 2008 out of Kentucky, said that he understands not being a top pick because he only stands 5-foot-9 and hits right while throwing left—not a favorite combination for scouts. But he has done what it takes to become a favorite for Melvin, and that should make him part of the A's plan for the future.

A's Acorns

• The A's hired Jemel Spearman as an area scout in the Southeast. Spearman attended Georgia Southern before becoming the Cubs' 16th-round pick in 2002. The infielder then played in the minors until '09.

• Spearman will replace Matt Ranson in the Georgia/Tennessee area. Ranson, who signed 2011 first-round righthander Sonny Gray and 2012 supplemental-round first baseman Matt Olson, left to take a position with the Yankees as an area scout.