ARLINGTON, Texas » The 2011 season has already been huge for Kurt Suzuki.
In late April, the Wailuku native and wife, Renee, celebrated the birth of their first child, daughter Malia, a big moment for the 27-year-old Oakland catcher.
"My daughter’s such a beautiful child. I feel so blessed," Suzuki said. "I’ve got the best wife in the world. She deserves all the credit."
After missing several games on MLB’s paternity list, he returned to the A’s on April 30 and as their DH, delivered an RBI single in a 3-1 win over Texas at Overstock.com Coliseum. Getting a hit in his first game back was definitely a nod to his pride and joy.
"Yeah, it’s great. A lot of things that you do now are going to revolve around your daughter. This is my job and something that I love doing," Suzuki said. "Having a daughter, someone that you need to take care of, definitely gives you a little bit of extra oomph."
Not only is he an incredibly proud father, but he also takes great pride in his roots as one of a handful of current big leaguers from Hawaii.
"I’m definitely a proud guy coming from Hawaii," Suzuki said. "People constantly tell my parents that I’m doing a good job. I’m so thankful to have such great support from the state."
So far in 36 games, he is hitting .252 with four home runs and 13 runs scored, including the game-winner last night against the Angels in the bottom of the 10th. He has started behind the plate in all but three games.
No matter whether it’s Suzuki or backup Landon Powell behind the plate, A’s skipper Bob Geren couldn’t be more pleased.
"I’m happy with both of my catchers. They both do a really great job," Geren said. "Our pitching coach has done a heck of a job preparing them and they do a fine job of studying themselves. It’s nice to not concern yourself with that."
Suzuki feels a certain kinship with Geren and bench coach Joel Skinner. "It’s nice to have former catchers on the staff just because you can talk about things like blocking, pitching and calling games," he said. "I think that’s definitely been a big help."
Suzuki’s current offensive numbers might not be that impressive, but the tale of the tape might be on how well he handles the talented young A’s staff. Just ask members of the pitching corps.
"One of the best assets he has is how calm he can stay," Oakland reliever Brad Ziegler said. "When things start unraveling around you, you can always look back to him and he never changes his facial expression."
A’s starter Brett Anderson agrees that Suzuki’s poise is a huge asset for the club.
"He had to become a veteran at an early age because the pitching staff coming up was younger than he was. So he had to grandfather us into the big leagues per se," Anderson said. "He’s just done a tremendous job at that."
And with Twins catcher Joe Mauer, a perennial AL All-Star, still out with a leg injury, might this be the year that Suzuki earns his first trip to the All-Star Game?
"I think that’s a very good honor, but you don’t want to think that far ahead," he said. "You’ve just got to take it day-by-day, and if it happens, it happens. The No. 1 thing is to help your team win."
» Height: 6-0
» Weight: 197
» Born: Oct. 4, 1983, Wailuku, Maui
» College: Cal State Fullerton
» Drafted: 2004, Oakland (2nd round)
» Bats/Throws: R/R