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Streaks by Triggs, A’s end in lopsided loss

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 03:37:47 UT

Sunday’s 11-1 pounding by the Seattle Mariners, which halted the A’s win streak at five and wiped out Andrew Triggs’ ERA of 0.00, didn’t ruin the sense of accomplishment to date and the positive outlook going forward. The A’s finished a 5-4 homestand that began with three losses, featured a five-game win streak and ended with a stinker. Next they hit the road against the Angels, Astros and Twins, starting Tuesday in Anaheim. Making matters promising, the pitchers projected to be 1 and 2 in the rotation are close to returning from the disabled list, Kendall Graveman during the Angels series and Sonny Gray during the Twins series. For a team that finished in the cellar the past two seasons, perhaps any winning homestand could be classified as such. Taylor Motter hit a grand slam off Triggs in the third inning, and Nelson Cruz hit a three-run homer off Raul Alcantara in the seventh. Triggs entered 3-0 without yielding an earned run in 172/3 innings, the longest such run by an Oakland starter to open a season. The streak ended in the first inning when Robinson Cano hit a grounder through a drawn-in infield to score Jarrod Dyson. Two innings later Triggs gave up two hits and issued consecutive walks to force home a run, and Motter followed with his grand slam. The A’s played without cleanup hitter Khris Davis, who got his first rest of the season, and leadoff hitter Rajai Davis, who missed his third straight game with a hamstring issue.



Sonny Gray 1 rehab start away from rejoining A’s?

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 20:06:29 UT

Sonny Gray was in good spirits Sunday, knowing his latest rehab assignment went well and he seems close to returning to the A’s rotation. “I was excited to go out without limitations other than the pitch count,” said Gray, who’s overcoming a strained lat. Saturday night, Gray threw 47 pitches in five scoreless innings for Class A Stockton (one hit, no walks) and another 18 in the bullpen. Gray hung around with the A’s prospects including 6-foot-7 lefty A.J. Puk, the team’s top pick in last year’s draft whose locker was adjacent to Gray’s. “You throw in extended spring training and in some simulated games,” Gray said, but when you get a rehab assignment on a team that’s been playing together and competing every day, it’s nice to go and have a small part of that and be around some of those guys and hopefully show them a routine.



A’s Rajai Davis could be ready to play Sunday

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 04:23:00 UT

Rajai Davis was on the field before Saturday’s game at the Coliseum, testing his tight left hamstring, doing some running and some hitting. “I’m going to do it all,” the A’s outfielder said after missing Friday’s game with the issue. Melvin said that even with the shorter DL stay on the disabled list — it’s a 10-day minimum now — putting Davis on the DL was not considered an option, so the problem is fairly minor. Davis felt the hamstring grab while pulling into third base Thursday night and remained in the game for another at-bat, but things didn’t improve. Sonny Gray (lat strain) worked five scoreless innings against the San Jose Giants in a rehab start with Class A Stockton. Gray, who is likely to return to Oakland’s rotation on May 2, allowed one hit and struck out six. Reliever John Axford said he’s probably just days away from resuming throwing as he recovers from a right shoulder strain. Axford said he had some issues Wednesday with sock throws — throwing a baseball down the length of a long sock to mimic a normal delivery — but he believes that was because he found the sock toss “really awkward.” Next time I throw, it will just be regular throwing on the field, coming up soon. Axford tried to warm up April 4 but felt some shoulder discomfort and the next day was placed on the DL retroactive to April 2, so the setup man has not pitched this season. [...] base prospect Matt Chapman was activated off Triple-A Nashville’s disabled list after missing two weeks with a left wrist injury. Susan Slusser is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Matt Olson, recalled Friday, is sporting a mustache for the first time, and it doesn’t suit the usually clean-cut first baseman at all. [...] the team at Triple-A Nashville started hitting when he grew it and the A’s won Friday and Saturday, so it stays.



Homer-happy A’s hold off Seattle for 5th win in row

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 02:50:05 UT

With the A’s down a run in the first, Rosales stepped in against Ariel Miranda and launched a 1-1 pitch over the wall in center, and two batters later, Ryon Healy added a two-run shot. Add a decent outing from rookie Jharel Cotton and nice work from the bullpen, especially Ryan Madson, and Oakland had its fifth consecutive win, beating Seattle 4-3. Manager Bob Melvin said the leadoff homer reminded him of one Rosales hit on May 3, 2013, off CC Sabathia in an A’s win at New York, and Rosales said, “It was awesome to answer back, get us on the board.” The A’s have won five in a row for the first time since June, and at 10-8, Oakland is two games over .500 for the first time since last April 23, 2016. Since Rosales began filling in at shortstop April 15, the team is 5-2. The A’s added another run in the third when Jed Lowrie singled and Healy sent him to third with a double down the left-field line. Khris Davis then provided an RBI groundout. The A’s have hit 24 homers, putting them among the league leaders, and their 59 extra-base hits top the league. Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano stepped up with two outs in the first and blasted a homer to dead center, his second homer in four at-bats against Cotton. Things got a little iffy the following inning when Cano singled off lefty Daniel Coulombe — opposing first hitters are 4 for 7 against him — and Liam Hendriks came in and walked Cruz before getting Taylor Motter to hit into a double play. Kyle Seager pinch-hit and walloped a triple off the wall in right-center that Jaff Decker reached for, but it ticked off his glove as Cano scored.



A’s John Axford expects to be throwing again soon

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 20:26:43 UT

Reliever John Axford said Saturday that he’s probably just days away from resuming throwing as he recovers from a right shoulder strain. Axford said he had some issues Wednesday with sock throws - throwing a baseball down the length of a long sock to mimic a normal delivery - but he believes that was because he found the sock toss “really awkward.” Axford tried to warm up April 4 but felt some shoulder discomfort and the next day was placed on the DL retroactive to April 2, so the set-up man has not pitched this season.



A’s Rajai Davis expected to miss 1-2 days with tight hamstring

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 03:55:23 UT

A’s Rajai Davis expected to miss 1-2 days with tight hamstring Center fielder Rajai Davis was out of the A’s lineup Friday, a day after experiencing left hamstring tightness while running the bases. There was no plan to put Davis on the disabled list — the A’s are hoping he’ll miss only a day or two — but Matt Olson was recalled from Triple-A Nashville for bench depth. Considered an above average defensive first baseman, Olson also will be available to play right field, where last year he had 80 starts with Nashville and four with Oakland. Olson gives the A’s four bench players. “We won’t really know until he gets out on the field,” manager Bob Melvin said of Davis, but he’s going to be a little bit sore. Just that last at-bat it kind of grabbed on him a little bit. Olson was hitting .216 with two homers in 14 games for Nashville. Graveman to face Angels: Kendall Graveman is on target to come off the 10-day disabled list and start in Anaheim during the three-game series that opens Tuesday, the day he can be activated. Graveman threw a bullpen session Friday. Graveman would miss just one start, which Valdez took, his first big-league appearance since 2010. The A’s fired Jim Leahey, who was in his 11th season as vice president of sales and marketing. Chris Bassitt (Tommy John surgery) will throw 45 pitches in a simulated game in Arizona on Monday. … John Axford (shoulder) isn’t throwing yet and isn’t close to returning to the bullpen. John Shea is The Chronicle’s national baseball writer. Mariners Mariners When Seattle’s Danny Valencia doubled to open the ninth inning Thursday, it was the first hit allowed by Santiago Casilla this season. In his first six appearances, batters were 0-for-17 with three walks. Mariners Mariners When Seattle’s Danny Valencia doubled to open the ninth inning Thursday, it was the first hit allowed by Santiago Casilla this season. In his first six appearances, batters were 0-for-17 with three walks.




Resilient A’s stop Seattle, pick up 3rd win in a row

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 06:25:01 UT

Before Thursday’s game, A’s manager Bob Melvin used the word “moxie” in reference to starter Cesar Valdez, making his first big-league appearance in nearly seven years. Oakland bounced back from an early deficit to take the lead and end James Paxton’s scoreless start to the season, withstood a game-tying rally by the Mariners, and won 9-6 at the Coliseum. “It looks like guys are running to the plate to hit,” leadoff man Rajai Davis said. Valdez, making a spot start while Kendall Graveman is on the disabled list, hadn’t worked in the big leagues since May, 2010. “The last seven years, I didn’t really think I’d get a chance to come back to pitch in the major leagues, so it was exciting for me to come out and pitch,” Valdez said, with Juan Dorado interpreting. Rosales knocked an opposite-field single to right, sending in Decker, and when Mitch Haniger’s throw banged off the second-base bag, Davis scored, too. Paxton struck out the next two batters before Ryon Healy ripped a double down the third-base line to tie the game. Jed Lowrie — who turned in two nice defensive plays in the second inning — doubled with one out, Khris Davis walked and Healy banged a base hit to left to send in Lowrie and put Oakland up 5-3. Trevor Plouffe, who struck out in his first three at-bats, hammered a three-run homer to left off Dan Altavilla in the seventh.



A’s Marcus Semien upbeat after wrist surgery

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 04:14:33 UT

A’s Marcus Semien upbeat after wrist surgery Marcus Semien has to dress and eat one-handed, and he can’t hold his baby son, Isaiah, but the A’s shortstop said his right wrist surgery went so well Tuesday that he might get checked again earlier than expected. “Hopefully, we can do another CT scan sooner than six weeks because it looked so good,” Semien said Thursday. Dr. Steve Shin of the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic in Los Angeles performed the 50-minute procedure, cleaning up some additional inflammation along with inserting a screw into the hairline fracture of the scaphoid bone to help it heal faster. Semien had the option to just have the wrist placed in a cast, but, he said, If nothing happens in six weeks, you’re probably going to have to get the surgery. ... Semien believes the injury was the result of swinging during spring training, possibly at an inside pitch or checking his swing, but he doesn’t recall any particular incident. “This is pretty much the worst thing that’s happened in my career, injury-wise,” Semien said. The doctor was very confident that I could get back and have a good rest of the season. Outfielder Jake Smolinski, who also is on the 60-day DL after right shoulder surgery, is out of the sling he wore for four weeks and doing some light weightlifting and range-of-motion work. Members of the A’s front office will be on hand Friday when Cuban outfielder Luis Robert, 19, works out at the club’s academy in the Dominican Republic. Robert was granted free agency Thursday and is eligible to sign May 20 — luckily for Oakland, before the international-signing restrictions take effect on the A’s for spending over their bonus pool last year. Susan Slusser is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Former Cal starter Daulton Jefferies, the A’s second pick in June’s draft, needs Tommy John surgery and will miss the rest of the season at Class A Stockton, general manager David Forst confirmed.



A’s score early, play error-free, top Texas 9-1

Thu, 20 Apr 2017 02:39:54 UT

Two areas of emphasis for Oakland entering the season were an improved defense and early scoring. Everyone in the starting lineup recorded at least one hit and Khris Davis moved into a tie for the major-league lead in homers as the A’s put up their highest run total of the season. The A’s got some highlight plays from fill-in shortstop Adam Rosales, a nice development for a club that looks as if it might be without Marcus Semien for at least two months. Rosales, the offensive star in a win over the Rangers the night before, made a terrific spinning play up the middle for a bouncer by Mike Napoli in the second inning, and he made a sprinting catch in foul ground the following inning on a pop-up by Jurickson Profar. On Wednesday, against left-hander Martin Perez — who held the A’s scoreless over 51/3 innings at Texas 10 days earlier — Oakland got a leadoff double from Rajai Davis. With two outs, after an intentional walk to Khris Davis, the A’s got an RBI single from Ryon Healy, a double by Josh Phegley that sent in two runs and an RBI double by Yonder Alonso on a full count. Khris Davis belted a two-run shot to right-center in the fifth, his seventh of the season, and Chad Pinder hit his first homer, a solo shot, in the sixth. Trevor Plouffe added an RBI single that inning, and Alonso lined a solo homer to right in the seventh. Oakland entered the day with a major-league-high 17 errors, and infield coach Chip Hale said the team will hold a defensive review Friday.



Jesse Hahn turns in another nice start for A’s

Thu, 20 Apr 2017 02:16:09 UT

Jesse Hahn, left out of the rotation the first week of the season, is doing some heavy lifting now that he’s back on Oakland’s roster. In his third appearance and second start since being recalled April 5, Hahn (1-1) worked six innings for the A’s and allowed only one run, a homer by Joey Gallo leading off the fifth. Hahn gave up two hits, walked four, struck out four and lowered his ERA to 3.00. The changeup has been a big pitch for him — it keeps everyone off his premium pitch, which is his sinker. … At times when he doesn’t have his best fastball location-wise, his other pitches make his fastball that much better. The only time Texas had a man in scoring position against him, with one out and men at first and second in the fourth, Hahn struck out Rougned Odor and Elvis Andrus. “That was big,” Hahn said of the Odor at-bat. Catcher Bruce Maxwell, recalled Monday when Kendall Graveman went on the disabled list, said he was being sent back to Triple-A Nashville after Wednesday’s game. The A’s need to make a move to get Thursday’s starter, Cesar Valdez, onto the roster. Starting pitcher Daniel Mengden, who had foot surgery before spring training, began throwing bullpen sessions Monday and said he will throw another Friday. Mengden, 24, is likely to open the season at Triple-A Nashville when he comes off the DL. Susan Slusser is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Seattle, the next opponent, is the team that has given Oakland the most fits the past several seasons. The A’s have a winning record against the Mariners only once in the past eight years and went 7-12 against them last season.



A’s Daniel Mengden makes good progress after foot surgery

Wed, 19 Apr 2017 19:18:58 UT

At some point, manager Bob Melvin figures, the A’s have to start getting more players off the DL than going onto it, and there are several pitchers whose returns are on the horizon. Kendall Graveman is expected to be back next week at Anaheim after missing just one start following trouble getting lose on a cold night Friday at the Coliseum. [...] there is Daniel Mengden, something of a forgotten figure since fracturing a bone in his right foot right before spring training. Mengden, 24, might have a tough job cracking the rotation unless there is an injury; he’s more likely to open the season at Triple-A Nashville. Jake Smolinski (shoulder) is on the 60-day DL and shortstop Marcus Semien (wrist surgery) could be a 60-day DL candidate when the A’s put Valdez on the 40-man roster before his start Thursday.




Andrew Triggs, Adam Rosales lead A’s past Rangers

Wed, 19 Apr 2017 06:05:42 UT

The A’s had fun again Tuesday night, which can happen when a four-game losing streak is busted. Andrew Triggs enjoyed another solid start to maintain his 0.00 ERA, Adam Rosales hit a two-run homer and nearly ran over teammate Trevor Plouffe, and the A’s scored their first runs since Saturday. The final was 4-2, A’s over Rangers, and the Coliseum showed some life and enthusiasm from a modest-sized crowd in the wake of a gloomy stretch of wet weather and poor play. The about-face started with Triggs, who set an Oakland record for most innings by a starter without surrendering an earned run to start a season: 172/3. Triggs, who has won his first three starts — accounting for half of Oakland’s wins — lasted six innings and threw just 76 pitches, 51 strikes. The biggest hit was provided by Rosales, whose two-run homer in the sixth tied the game. The runs Triggs allowed were unearned because of a rare error by first baseman Yonder Alonso, who dropped a backhanded attempt of Jurickson Profar’s grounder in the sixth. Plouffe walked and, two batters later, Rosales — replacing shortstop Marcus Semien, who underwent wrist surgery Tuesday and will miss much of the season — hit a game-tying homer onto the steps in left field. Darvish walked Alonso and got pulled, and Khris Davis hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to deep center to break the tie. Pinch-hitter Ryon Healy, out of the lineup a second straight game as he tries to regain his batting stroke, punched a bloop single to drive in the final run.



Sonny Gray’s next assignment at Class A Stockton

Wed, 19 Apr 2017 05:16:47 UT

Sonny Gray’s next assignment at Class A Stockton Sonny Gray will begin a minor-league rehab assignment at Class A Stockton on Saturday and throw roughly 65 pitches in four or five innings. From there, Gray, who’s recovering from a lat strain, might need just one more rehab game (increasing his workload to 75 to 80 pitches) before joining the A’s rotation. “That’s what we’re shooting for,” manager Bob Melvin said. Melvin called Saturday’s start “a big outing.” Gray threw 47 pitches Monday in extended spring training and said, I was throwing all my pitches for strikes. The A’s will call up pitcher Cesar Valdez to start Thursday’s series opener against the Mariners. Valdez, 32, is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA at Triple-A Nashville. The right-hander has a deceptive delivery that can leave hitters off balance. Graveman is on the disabled list and expected to miss one start. “Every time you have an injury or something like this, there’s an opportunity for somebody else,” Melvin said. Injury updates: [...] baseman Joey Wendle (shoulder strain) will fly to Nashville on Wednesday and will serve as a designated hitter. Chris Bassitt (Tommy John surgery) will throw two 15-pitch simulated innings in extended spring training Wednesday. John Shea is The San Francisco Chronicle’s national baseball writer. Rangers Top prospect Franklin Barreto will continue to play both short and second at Triple-A Nashville.



Sonny Gray might be 2 rehab starts from rejoining A’s

Wed, 19 Apr 2017 01:38:13 UT

Sonny Gray might be 2 rehab starts from rejoining A’s Recovering from a lat strain, Gray will start for Class A Stockton on Saturday and throw roughly 65 pitches and go four or five innings. If Gray is good to go, he’d follow up with a final rehab game and throw 75 to 80 pitches. Gray was in the Coliseum clubhouse before Tuesday night’s game, saying he felt good after Monday’s 47-pitch outing in extended spring training. “I was throwing all my pitches for strikes,” Gray said. Counting yesterday, I’ve thrown probably seven or eight innings in the last seven or eight months, so it’s not like you can just jump in and be ready.



Cesar Valdez likely starter for A’s this week

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 16:40:19 UT

The A’s spot starter this week is likely to be Triple-A Nashville right-hander Cesar Valdez. With Kendall Graveman on the 10-day DL and missing one start, the A’s need one more starter this week. Susan Slusser is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.