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A’s Kendall Graveman gets Opening Day nod

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 02:08:50 UT

MESA, Ariz. — The least surprising news of the A’s spring camp arrived Tuesday morning: Kendall Graveman is Oakland’s Opening Day starter. Graveman, 27, also got the honor last season because of Sonny Gray’s lat strain, but this year, Graveman receives the nod because he’s the team’s longest-tenured starter and has the most experience among the group that opened camp with the club. “I’m not going to lie: It was unfortunate last year with Sonny getting hurt like he did,” Graveman said. “It kind of bumped me up to that role. This year, I feel better prepared to go into it. ... I don’t take it for granted, it’s a humbling experience. It’s something in this game you strive to do.

A’s Paul Blackburn gives up seven runs, ‘everything was just bad’

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 23:24:45 UT

MESA, Ariz. - Paul Blackburn made such a strong impression during his brief time in Oakland’s rotation last summer, his bad outing Tuesday probably won’t sink his chances of winning a starter job. However, his rough day in the A’s 8-2 loss to the Dodgers might put more emphasis on his next start, which is scheduled for Sunday at the Coliseum in the first of the three Bay Bridge Series games against the Giants. Blackburn, a 24-year-old from Brentwood, allowed seven hits, three walks and seven runs against Los Angeles, and he said he was just completely out of whack. “It just wasn’t good,” Blackburn said. “I didn’t keep my defense in the game at all. I didn’t even give them a chance.

A’s, Brett Anderson agree to minor-league contract

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 20:11:20 UT

Just like his onetime teammate Trevor Cahill, former A’s starter Brett Anderson is rejoining the A’s.  Anderson has agreed to a minor-league deal with the team, a source told The Chronicle.  Anderson, a 30-year-old left-hander, made 13 starts with the Cubs and Blue Jays last season and had an ERA of 6.34.  On Monday, the A’s officially signed Cahill, Anderson’s teammate for three seasons in Oakland. Oakland’s rotation, already lacking in depth, took a hit last week when Jharel Cotton was diagnosed with a torn UCL. Cotton is having Tommy John surgery Wednesday.  Susan Slusser is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: sslusser@sfchronicle.

Trevor Cahill, back with his old team, hopes to crack A’s rotation

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 05:53:22 UT

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Trevor Cahill first became a member of the A’s at the age of 18, in 2006. Now, at 30, Cahill is back, and if he winds up in the rotation, as he hopes, Cahill will be the team’s oldest starter. And he’s glad to be back with his original club and his former manager, Bob Melvin. “I thought I was going to be here a lot longer when the trade happened,” said Cahill, who went to Arizona along with Craig Breslow in 2011 in exchange for Jarrod Parker, Ryan Cook and Collin Cowgill. “I loved playing for Bob, I loved my whole experience in Oakland. Definitely it’s good to be back.

Teen shortstop Nick Allen makes an impression with A’s; Graveman looks good

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 05:19:54 UT

GLENDALE, Ariz. - The vast number of promising young players in A’s camp and borrowed from the minor-league facility is quite the trend this spring. On Monday night, Oakland took things to an extreme, and 19-year-old Nick Allen, who was in high school in San Diego this time last year, started at shortstop against the Dodgers. “That was a lot of fun,” manager Bob Melvin said, adding jokingly, “You know, for a 15-year-old kid, he’s directing traffic out there. He’s a traffic cop and a pretty spectacular glove.” Kendall Graveman, who started Oakland’s 3-1 loss at Camelback Ranch, said he’d spent the past two days quizzing Allen about the coaching staff, making sure he knew all their names.

A’s pitcher James Kaprielian nears return from elbow surgery

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 03:37:05 UT

MESA, Ariz. — Two blocks from Hohokam Stadium, a potentially major piece of the A’s future is making the slow, painstaking return from Tommy John surgery. James Kaprielian, 24, is about two months away from pitching in games. If all goes well, by the end of the year the former Yankees first-round pick could be in Oakland’s rotation. “That’s something the front office and the trainers and coaches will have to decide,” Kaprielian said at Fitch Park, the A’s minor-league facility. “I don’t know if they’ll give me the answer I want, but I feel confident in my ability to compete at that level.

A’s top prospect A.J. Puk sent to minor-league camp

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 03:10:01 UT

MESA, Ariz. — After only one rough inning in four Cactus League appearances, left-hander A.J. Puk was trimmed from the A’s big-league camp. Puk, 22, didn’t allow an earned run in his first 10 innings of work this spring, but was tagged for four runs in Wednesday night’s game against the Mariners, two of which scored when reliever Eric Jokisch gave up a grand slam. At one point, Puk appeared to be a candidate for the Opening Day roster, considering that many other rotation hopefuls had struggled and that Jharel Cotton tore his UCL last Monday, but vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane suggested that would be unlikely in comments Saturday.

Big days for A’s prospects Jesus Luzardo, Norge Ruiz, Sheldon Neuse

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 00:16:15 UT

MESA, Ariz. - Jesus Luzardo, just two years removed from high school, traveled over from minor-league camp Sunday to get the start in Oakland’s game against the White Sox. Throwing mostly fastballs and sliders, the 20-year-old lefty went 2 1/3 innings and allowed two hits and struck out two. “It was good,” said Luzardo, who was acquired in the Sean Doolittle-Ryan Madson deal with the Nationals last summer. “Great opportunity and I’m thankful to the staff and all that. Just out there playing baseball, you know?” Luzardo said his outing in the ninth was more nerve-wracking; getting a start, with a more normal routine, was more familiar.

Trevor Cahill is in Oakland’s camp; will another former A’s pitcher be next?

Sun, 18 Mar 2018 22:29:31 UT

MESA, Ariz. - Trevor Cahill’s one-year deal with the A’s isn’t official - he took his physical Sunday - but he was in the A’s clubhouse and getting his locker set up. He might not be the only former A’s pitcher to return to the fold: The Chronicle has learned the team also has had discussions about lefty Brett Anderson. Cahill, who first came up as a 21-year-old with Oakland in 2009, last pitched for the team in 2011, and he was on the mound for Bob Melvin’s first game as the A’s manager that summer. Cahill, the A’s second-round pick in the 2006 draft, put up a 4.

A’s Chris Bassitt frustrated by unexpected role out of bullpen

Sun, 18 Mar 2018 21:16:02 UT

MESA, Ariz. - Chris Bassitt never found his footing this spring, and the A’s right-hander believes the lack of a defined role didn’t help him. “I was told coming into camp I was going to compete for a starting spot and never got a single chance,” said Bassitt, who is nearly two years removed from Tommy John surgery. “That part alone is frustrating. It’s hard to prepare when you don’t know what you’re preparing for. Anyone just wants to know what they’re expecting out of you and so far no one can really answer that yet.” Bassitt, 29, had an ERA of 7.11 in six appearances, covering 6 1/3 innings. Batters hit .308 against him and he walked six and allowed two homers while striking out five.

A’s Josh Phegley sidelined by broken fingers

Sun, 18 Mar 2018 19:24:26 UT

MESA, Ariz. - Last week, Josh Phegley probably lost his shot at a roster spot when the A’s signed veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy. Saturday, he broke two fingers on his right hand and he’ll be out of action for several weeks, at least. Manager Bob Melvin said Phegley broke the ring and pinkie fingers when he was hit with by a pitch while behind the plate in the ninth inning. Melvin said Phegley will be held out of baseball activity for at least two weeks. Phegley, 30, has spent much of the past three seasons as the right-handed hitting half of the A’s catching tandem, but Lucroy, a two-time All-Star, came in on a one-year deal largely in order to work with the team’s young pitching staff.

A’s starter Jharel Cotton to have Tommy John surgery

Sun, 18 Mar 2018 05:43:58 UT

MESA, Ariz. — Jharel Cotton, who showed enormous promise at times in his short time with the A’s, will have season-ending Tommy John surgery in the next week or two. “It’s tough,” he said. “I’m missing the 2018 season with my boys, so it’s kind of hard to take it. I’m trying to take it as best I can and get ready for the long process, the long road ahead, and come back strong next season.” Cotton, 26, had been expected to land a spot in Oakland’s rotation, especially after making two strong starts before tearing his right ulnar collateral ligament.

Billy Beane, Dave Kaval discuss A’s top questions: pitching needs, stadium

Sun, 18 Mar 2018 05:34:41 UT

MESA, Ariz. — The A’s top baseball executive and the team’s top business executive met with reporters from several media outlets Saturday and provided answers to some of the most pressing issues facing the club. •What’s happening with the A’s stadium hunt? Team President Dave Kaval spoke in more positive terms about the Coliseum on Saturday than he has previously, and he said Howard Terminal is still getting a strong look. The team hasn’t totally given up on the Peralta/Laney College site, but with the talks over that location called off in December, the other two possibilities are clearly at the forefront. “We have the three sites in Oakland we deem as viable,” Kaval said.

Jonathan Lucroy does nice work behind plate in A’s debut

Sat, 17 Mar 2018 23:41:00 UT

MESA, Ariz. - Even on day one playing in an A’s uniform, Jonathan Lucroy demonstrated how he might best help his new team. Oakland starter Sean Manaea struggled with his offspeed stuff - but Lucroy coaxed him through 4 2/3 innings in which Manaea allowed only one run in the A’s 4-1 loss to the Mariners on Saturday. “I don’t think he had the best stuff today, obviously, but I thought we kept them off the boards as much as we could,” Lucroy said. “Mot every guy is going to have the best stuff every day and he did well considering he didn’t have his best stuff.

A’s home run king Khris Davis wants to add power to his throwing arm, too

Sat, 17 Mar 2018 02:03:19 UT

MESA, Ariz. — In a recent A’s defensive drill at Hohokam Stadium, an outfielder getting reps caught manager Bob Melvin’s eye. “We did cutoffs and relays the other day, and it’s the best I’ve seen him throw,” Melvin said. The outfielder was Khris Davis, who is known for his quick hands. His core strength. His durability. His consistency — his first two A’s seasons were nearly identical. His power, including to the opposite field. Even his quirky personality. But not his arm. At least not in a positive way. Davis is trying to change that.