MILWAUKEE -- Nate Freiman wasn't about to be fooled by just another rookie prank.
Oakland's first baseman is smarter than that, so when teammate Josh Reddick passed by his locker at Miller Park on Monday afternoon and dropped a "Congratulations," Freiman didn't think much of it.
"I had no idea what he was talking about," said Freiman, who didn't play in Monday's 10-2 win over Milwaukee. "You never know, with rookies around here, there's all kinds of pranks going around."
Turns out this was no joke. A sincere Reddick was referring to Monday's news of Freiman taking home American League Rookie of the Month honors.
Plucked by the A's off waivers during Spring Training from the Astros, who had selected him in the Rule 5 Draft, Freiman compiled 13 hits in 37 at-bats in May for a .351 average. Three of them were doubles, and he also hit a home run and collected nine RBIs in a span of 14 contests, tallying four multi-hit games as a role player making the occasional start against lefties.
"It's a big deal," said manager Bob Melvin. "For a guy that's never even played at Triple-A, to be able to come to the big leagues and not only produce when his number's called, but produce in a non-everyday fashion, it's impressive.
"Here's a guy that has to work really hard when he's not playing to be prepared when his number is called, because it's more of an acquired taste for a younger player, to play a game, not play a game, sit for four or five days to stay ready. It's a testament to how hard he works, and how hard he prepares."
"It's been a lot of fun," Freiman said, "especially because we happen to be in the midst of a really fun time as a team. The way we're playing, this is what baseball is about -- winning games and celebrating and enjoying that with your teammates. Because of that, the last three weeks have been a really fun time here."
Former Brewers coach Melvin returns to Milwaukee
MILWAUKEE -- Before Monday, Milwaukee was the lone National League city where the A's had never played.
Manager Bob Melvin is no stranger to the place, though, having begun his post-playing career in Milwaukee under the watch of Sal Bando and Phil Garner.
Garner, managing the Brewers at the time, convinced Melvin to write Milwaukee general manager Bando, who hired him as a scout. Bando promoted Melvin to roving instructor, then special assistant and, finally, bench coach to Garner in 1999.
"Sal Bando took good care of me," said Melvin, who wears Bando's No. 6. "It was my first organization after playing and I was given a number of different roles, from scouting to special assistant to roving instructor. I coached a little third base in Triple-A, and then was Garner's bench coach.
"They ran me through the gamut here, and I'm very appreciative of the opportunity I got here in the organization."
The last time the A's played the Brewers was in June 2002, when they swept Milwaukee in a three-game set. They took the first game of this three-game set, 10-2, on Monday.
• A's pitchers entered Monday night's game hitless in five at-bats this year and are 1-for-43 over the last three years. The .082 average they've compiled since Interleague Play began in 1997 is the lowest by an AL team over that span.
But on Monday, starter Tommy Milone went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs. He is the first A's pitcher to pick up two hits in a game since Edgar Gonzalez had two in San Diego on June 19, 2009.