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A’s hit 3 homers to salvage final game of series in N.Y.

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 02:18:29 UT

A’s hit 3 homers to salvage final game of series in N.Y. Homers made up for it, though, in Oakland’s 3-2 win over the Mets, and Matt Chapman was on both sides of the equation. The rookie was picked off third in the fifth inning, and in his next at-bat, he drilled a home run to left to give the A’s the lead for good as they salvaged the final game of the three-game series. Chapman, who came up in June, has homered in back-to-back games, doubling his major-league total through his first 20 games. Oakland’s other two homers Sunday were also solo shots. Chapman led off the fifth with a double and a wild pitch sent him to third — where he was picked off by catcher Rene Rivera, who made a terrific throw behind him after Jaycob Brugman’s check swing. The ball fell in, giving Semien a gift single, but he tried to advance to second on the play and was thrown out with ease. With two outs in the fifth, Mets starter Rafael Montero singled, his first big-league hit, then Michael Conforto reached on a strikeout-wild pitch. Rookie Daniel Gossett turned in a solid start, giving up his usual home run but just a solo shot, by Conforto in the third. The Mets’ other run off him came in the sixth, when Jay Bruce led off with a single, T.J. Rivera doubled with one out, advancing Bruce to third, and Jose Reyes provided an RBI groundout. Gossett worked six innings to earn his second big-league win and said he’d made some adjustments to his delivery with pitching coach Scott Emerson last week.



A’s Matt Joyce playing with heavy heart

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 23:17:41 UT

NEW YORK — When Matt Joyce hit the second pitch of Saturday’s game out of the park, it was a special moment for many who know him and for a family in south Florida dealing with a tragedy. Joyce’s closest friend, Geoff Strickland, lost his young son, Lane, to brain cancer Saturday. The 4-year-old had been on life support after seizures caused by the cancer. Before the series in New York, Joyce had asked about the possibility of leaving the A’s to be with the Strickland family for a few days, but personal leaves are allowed only if a family member is involved. Joyce’s thoughts, naturally, were on Lane Strickland when he stepped to the plate to lead off against Zack Wheeler. “When I checked my phone, I had four or five messages saying, ‘That one was for Lane,’” Joyce said Sunday. [...] I took a screenshot of my phone and sent it to Geoff and said, ‘Hey, man, I love you.’ Called up as a spot starter right before the All-Star break, Chris Smith might be slowly working his way into Oakland’s rotation. “He deserves another start or two, whatever it turns out to be, based on performance,” manager Bob Melvin said. Jharel Cotton is returning to Triple-A Nashville to build up his pitch count after missing much of July with a blister. “I want to go back to making it my pitch,” Cotton said. Susan Slusser is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Oakland’s relief corps, down two regulars after Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson were traded, could welcome back Ryan Dull Thursday. Dull has missed most of 2017 with a knee injury.



A’s Chris Smith edging his way into rotation

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 19:21:02 UT

NEW YORK - Chris Smith, called up as a spot starter right before the All-Star break, might be slowly working his way into Oakland’s rotation. Smith, who put up a 2.77 ERA in his first two starts, will go again for Oakland at Toronto on Monday, with Jharel Cotton heading back to Triple-A Nashville to continue his rehab assignment while returning from blister issues. [...] Smith - at 36, the oldest player in Athletics history to make his first big-league start - is thrilled every time he gets another one. Smith, who has made 63 big-league relief appearances, enjoys the greater room to play the cat-and-mouse game with hitters that a starter is enabled - facing batters more than once means more strategy can be employed with pitch selection and within counts. “Maybe in the third inning, I can think, ‘Hey, I threw this guy fastballs in the first inning, maybe I can go to my changeup here,’ ” Smith said. Coming out of the bullpen, I might have to go to my changeup right away, so I get that little luxury as a starter. Manager Bob Melvin said that because Cotton threw 65 pitches in his last rehab start, the team would like him to continue to build his pitch count up. Cotton has been erratic, with a 5.17 ERA, and another rookie starter, Daniel Gossett, also has had trouble with his consistency, with a 5.79 ERA going into Sunday’s outing at New York.



A’s, Mets delayed by rain

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 17:49:57 UT

The tarps went on, then came off, then went right back on again 15 minutes before the first pitch was scheduled, at 1:10 p.m. Eastern, with no announcements from the Mets about the delay or its potential length. The A’s and Mets are wrapping up a three-game series, with rookie Daniel Gossett facing Mets right-hander Rafael Montero. The teams face each other just once this season, because it’s an interleague series, so a potential makeup date might be tricky in the event of a rainout.




A’s waste 5-0 lead, lose 6-5 to Mets on Wilmer Flores’ homer

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 04:04:48 UT

NEW YORK — All was going according to plan for the A’s on Saturday evening in New York after they jumped to a big early lead with Sean Manaea on the mound. Manaea made it through the first five innings with little trouble, scattering three hits and an intentional walk. [...] in the sixth, the Mets stormed back to cut Oakland’s edge to one run — leaving it to the A’s reformulated bullpen to try to nail down a victory. “I think when you lose guys like that, it’s always an adjustment,” said left-hander Daniel Coulombe, who gave up Lucas Duda’s game-tying, pinch-hit single in the eighth. After Joyce’s homer, Marcus Semien walked and stole second, and with one out, Khris Davis sent in Semien with a base hit to center. Jed Lowrie walked, setting up Bruce Maxwell’s RBI double, and Matt Chapman hit a sacrifice fly. Michael Conforto, in his fourth at-bat of the night against Manaea, drove a double into the corner in left, scoring Granderson and the throw home from Chapman clipped Granderson and bounced past the plate. Blake Treinen did nice work in following Manaea, retiring all four men he faced in the spot Madson usually would have filled before being dealt to Washington with Doolittle for Treinen and two minor-leaguers. Coulombe faced Duda, who bounced an RBI single up the middle before Coulombe struck out Conforto to end the inning.



A’s Ryon Healy ready to play after taking bad hop off face

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 03:47:34 UT

A’s Ryon Healy ready to play after taking bad hop off face NEW YORK — Ryon Healy hit in the batting cage Saturday, then took full batting practice with the team a day after getting clocked in the side of the face by a bad-hop bouncer. Healy wasn’t in the A’s lineup — with no designated hitter at a National League park, All-Star Yonder Alonso started at first base against right-hander Zack Wheeler — but he was available off the bench. Healy doesn’t have even any bruising after taking the grounder off Lucas Duda’s bat off the left side of his face, near his eye, in the sixth inning Friday. Just two seam marks are visible. “It doesn’t even look that bad,” a reporter said. “Uh ... thanks?” Healy responded. The Chronicle reported Friday that the A’s had talks with Marcus Semien about a long-term contract last offseason, and Saturday, manager Bob Melvin, asked how important Semien is to the team, responded, He is, and obviously there was some talk about extending him, too. When he’s playing well and healthy, he’s a two-way player. ... Melvin said Chris Smith, who has pitched well while subbing for Jharel Cotton, will make his third big-league start Monday at Toronto. Cotton, who has been out with a blister, will resume his rehab assignment with Triple-A Nashville on Tuesday. Melvin said infielder Chad Pinder (hamstring) could rejoin the A’s on the next homestand. ... Relievers Ryan Dull (knee), Bobby Wahl (shoulder) and Chris Bassitt (Tommy John surgery) also are likely to come off the DL in the next week or two. Susan Slusser is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.



A’s fall to Mets; Healy leaves after being hit by grounder

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 06:31:59 UT

Paul Blackburn incurred his first big-league loss in four outings Friday and first baseman Ryon Healy left in the sixth after being struck in the head by a bad-bounce grounder. A throwing error by rookie third baseman Matt Chapman also factored in the A’s 7-5 loss to the Mets, but the most pressing issue was Michael Conforto’s bat. The New York center fielder banged two-run homers off both Blackburn and reliever Frankie Montas. Blackburn left with two on and one out in the sixth, his shortest outing to date, after working at least six innings in his first three starts. With Duda at first after the infield single, Blake Treinen supplanted Coulombe and gave up a two-run single to T.J. Rivera, but Duda was thrown out trying to advance to third on the play. The A’s chipped back a bit in the eighth after a base hit by Matt Joyce, a double from Josh Phegley, a pinch-hit RBI single by Jed Lowrie and an RBI single by Semien. Former A’s reliever Jerry Blevins then took over from Addison Reed with the bases loaded, got All-Star Yonder Alonso to foul out, and then struck out A’s home-run leader Khris Davis.



Yoenis Cespedes wants to finish career in Oakland

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 04:24:21 UT

Yoenis Cespedes wants to finish career in Oakland NEW YORK — Here’s something for A’s fans to look forward to a few years down the road, potentially: former Oakland star Yoenis Céspedes wants to finish his career with the A’s. In a rare interview conducted entirely in English, Céspedes told The Chronicle on Friday before the Mets’ 7-5 win over Oakland that he’d love to wrap things up where he started. “I wish that happens,” Céspedes said, adding I told (former A’s and current Mets teammate Jerry) Blevins, ‘I don’t know how many years I’m going to play, but I’m going to play the last year of my career with Oakland.’ A series against the A’s means more to the outfielder than most because of his fond feeling for the team and for the fans, he said. Céspedes also had a terrific relationship with manager Bob Melvin, another reason he’d like to return one day. Céspedes’ comments to The Chronicle created a stir in the New York media and among Mets fans, although he was clear that he meant one year in Oakland at the very end of his career. Some broadcasters interpreted his praise for Melvin as a dig at Mets manager Terry Collins, though Céspedes always has been upfront about his deep love and respect for Melvin, his first big-league manager. Céspedes told New York reporters after the game that he loves New York and is committed to the Mets, saying, This is my home. “With respect to the comments I made about their manager, that does not take away from my relationship with Terry,” Céspedes said. First baseman-outfielder Matt Olson rejoined the team Friday along with right-hander Frankie Montas. Montas, 25, gave up two runs in an inning Friday; in six weeks at Triple-A Nashville, he was 0-1 with a 4.22 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 211/3 inning and held opponents to a .213 average. ... Susan Slusser is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer at Blue Jays The A’s announced they have signed former Oakland first baseman Chris Carter to a minor-league deal. Carter, released by the Yankees this month, will provide depth at Triple-A Nashville.



A’s Ryon Healy leaves after being struck in temple by bouncer

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 02:17:07 UT

A’s Ryon Healy leaves after being struck in temple by bouncer NEW YORK - A’s first baseman-DH Ryon Healy left Friday night’s game at Citi Field in the sixth inning after being hit in the head by a bad-hop grounder. The bouncer off the bat of Lucas Duda bounded up over Healy’s glove and struck Healy in the left temple.



Matt Olson, Frankie Montas rejoin A’s; Chris Carter signs minor-league deal

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 22:55:25 UT

NEW YORK - First baseman-outfielder Matt Olson, who is becoming the A’s most-traveled player this season, rejoined the team Friday along with right-hander Frankie Montas. Montas, 25, had a 6.91 ERA in 21 outings with Oakland to start the season; in six weeks at Nashville, he was 0-1 with a 4.22 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 21 1/3 inning and he held opponents to a .213 average. Manager Bob Melvin said that one of the differences for Montas might be that the Nashville coaching staff made him throw all his pitches while there, he wasn’t relying just on his fastball and slider as he had with the A’s. The A’s did not need to make any corresponding roster moves because relievers Michael Brady and Zach Neal were sent to Nashville on Wednesday. Oakland officially announced that onetime A’s first baseman Chris Carter has signed a minor-league deal, as was reported earlier in the week. Carter, released by the Yankees earlier this month after batting .201 with eight home runs and 26 RBIs in 62 games, was assigned to Nashville.



A’s have talked to Marcus Semien about multiyear deal

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 02:46:21 UT

The team has inked many of its key contributors to multiyear deals during the Billy Beane era, some just through their arbitration years, a few longer. [...] the A’s still engage their players in discussions about multiyear deals: If the A’s signed Semien — who’s from El Cerrito and Cal — to something akin to what the White Sox did with shortstop Tim Anderson, who got a six-year, $25 million deal last offseason, it would take him past arbitration; Semien is due to be a free agent after the 2020 season. Vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane said Sunday that the A’s goal is to commit to a full rebuilding and, aided by a new stadium, eventually to be able to sign the team’s top players long-term — beyond arbitration — which is something Oakland has almost never done except in the cases of Eric Chavez and Mark Ellis. The frustration is that after success we haven’t kept them, and it’s just a fact, and we need to change that narrative by virtue of creating a good team and then ultimately committed to keeping them around, so people, when they buy a ticket, know that the team’s going to be there for a few years. The club hasn’t had a ton of luck, though, when signing its players to multiyear deals — in a majority of instances, injuries almost immediately happened. Chavez, Ellis, Bobby Crosby, Brett Anderson and Sean Doolittle are among those who spent time on the disabled list after signing multiyear deals, and Coco Crisp spent extensive time out of action after receiving a multiyear extension. In 2007, Nick Swisher signed a five-year deal, Ellis signed a three-year deal in 2006, and Dan Haren a four-year contract in 2005.




A’s-Mets, pitching probables, Friday-Sunday

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 01:33:30 UT

Chronicle staff On deck Friday at Mets 4:10 p.m. NBCSCA Blackburn (1-0) vs. Matz (2-3) Saturday at Mets 4:10 p.m. NBCSCA Manaea (8-5) vs. Wheeler (3-7) Sunday at Mets 10:10 a.m. NBCSCA Gossett (1-5) vs. Montero (1-6) Leading off Beastly NL East: The Mets will be the fourth NL East team the A’s have played this season. They went a combined 2-8 against the Nationals (1-2), Marlins (1-3) and Braves (0-3) and were outscored 70-50. Chronicle Staff



Report: A’s, Chris Carter agree to minor-league deal

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 22:49:57 UT

Carter, who spent parts of three seasons (2010-12) with Oakland, was released by the Yankees this month. For Milwaukee last season, the right-handed hitter led the National League in homers (41) and strikeouts (206). There will be corresponding moves before the A’s open a three-game series against the Mets in New York on Friday. Possible additions include two right-handers on the disabled list: In Nashville’s 11-8, 11-inning win at Iowa on Wednesday, Bassitt threw 12/3 shutout innings. Cotton gave up four runs on four hits in 31/3 innings, but he did strike out six. Tampa Bay rookie Jake Faria came into Wednesday’s game with a 4-0 record and had put together quality starts in each of his seven career outings. The A’s ended that streak and gave Faria his first loss with a four-run fifth inning that turned a 2-0 Oakland deficit into a 4-2 lead. … Shortstop Marcus Semien made errors in the sixth inning (fielding) and seventh (throwing), but neither error led to a run. … The Rays’ Steven Souza Jr. left the game in the first inning because of a strained left hip. Souza’s replacement, Shane Peterson, struck out in all four of his at-bats. Steve Kroner is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. The A’s open a three-game series against the Mets at Citi Field on Friday. Led by Series MVP Reggie Jackson, Oakland beat the Mets in the 1973 World Series in seven games.




Amid trade rumors, Sonny Gray leads A’s over Rays

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 17:04:04 UT

Amid trade rumors, Sonny Gray leads A’s over Rays After manager Bob Melvin came to the mound with one out in the seventh inning to pull Sonny Gray on Wednesday afternoon, most of the 17,019 fans at the Coliseum gave the A’s right-hander a standing ovation as he headed to the dugout. A lot of the fans must have realized that Wednesday’s outing might have been the last time they’d see Gray in an A’s uniform at the Coliseum. With the trade deadline July 31, who knows whether Gray still will be with the A’s for their next homestand? In those five starts, he’s 4-1 with a 1.62 ERA (six earned runs in 331/3 innings). On Wednesday, he limited the Rays to two runs on seven hits in 61/3 innings. “I feel like I’m throwing the ball well right now,” said Gray, the A’s 2011 first-round pick from Vanderbilt. Said Melvin of Gray: “When he’s at his best, he’s got a really good feel for what’s working on a particular day — whether it’s his slider, whether it’s his heater, whether it’s his changeup, whether it’s his curveball — and he’s got that feel back again.” “It took me a couple of starts to feel comfortable back out there on the mound,” Gray said, but I really have started to feel good out there again.



A’s Sonny Gray, subject of trade rumors, face Rays on Wednesday

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 19:12:17 UT

A’s Sonny Gray, subject of trade rumors, face Rays on Wednesday Considering all the trade rumors about Sonny Gray, his start Wednesday against Tampa Bay could be his last in an A’s uniform at the Coliseum. [...] before his outing Friday night against Cleveland, there had been a report that Oakland had dealt Gray. “He was traded before the game, if I’m not mistaken,” A’s manager Bob Melvin cracked in his pregame news conference Wednesday. Maybe we’ll have to make an announcement before the game again today, right before game time, that he is actually going to pitch. The right-hander is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA (four earned runs in 27 innings) over his past four starts. [...] it’s just getting into a routine and getting on a roll and getting some of the past struggles from last year out of the back of your mind and just going out there and pitch because the stuff that he has would suggest he’s going to pitch like he is right now.