Athletics

Beane: A's won't add pitching to cover for Gray's injury

Beane: A's won't add pitching to cover for Gray's injury

MESA, Ariz. — As tough as it was for the A’s to lose Sonny Gray for the start of the season, the team has no plans right now to seek rotation help from outside the organization.

Billy Beane made that clear Friday afternoon, as Oakland’s top baseball official said he was confident in the internal depth to cover for Gray, who’s expected to miss the first month of the season with a strained lat muscle.

“We’re not currently looking that way,” Beane said during an informal media lunch. “I don’t think it’s necessarily a fertile market to be diving into right now anyway this time of year. I think we prefer to stay in-house and give maybe somebody an opportunity.

“Hopefully it’s temporary and short term.”

Kendall Graveman, Sean Manaea and Jharel Cotton will be the front three starters in Gray’s absence, with Jesse Hahn, Andrew Triggs and Raul Alcantara the top candidates for the last two spots, and young pitchers such as Daniel Gossett and Paul Blackburn providing insurance. Daniel Mengden, another young starter, broke his foot shortly before camp and is still in a walking boot.

Among other topics Beane touched on:

—He’s been as impressed as anyone with his top prospect, middle infielder Franklin Barreto, who’s having a terrific camp. But Beane reiterated that the A’s want Barreto to get a bit more minor league seasoning.

“He’s had a great camp, and you can see he’s a pretty talented guy,” Beane said. “But he only played a month at Triple-A last year. He probably needs some more drills at second base. he seems to be pretty comfortable over there right now. With Marcus at short, it’s probably his quickest path to the big leagues. … Once we get into the season, assuming he continues to improve and play the way he does, he’ll be putting pressure on us.”

Beane also noted that coaches rave about Barreto’s work ethic.

—Beane says he envisions Ryon Healy being a regular in the daily lineup, regardless of whether it’s at first base, DH or third base, referencing the “energy” that Healy brings to the club.

—The fact that Alcantara is out of minor league options will definitely be a consideration in choosing the final pitchers for the 25-man roster, but that factor won’t outweigh performance if someone is clearly pitching better, Beane said.

Alcantara took the ball for Friday’s start against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Young A’s fan writes letter to team after fires take home, beloved memorabilia

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Twitter @KatieUtehs

Young A’s fan writes letter to team after fires take home, beloved memorabilia

Young Athletics fan Loren Jade Smith is among the thousands of people affected by the Northern California wildfires. Along with his family's home, the fire storm took his most valued possession -- his A's memorabilia collection. 

In his disappointment, Smith wrote a letter to the A's that has since gone viral. 

After the letter was shared throughout the Twitterverse, A's President Dave Kaval said the team would reach out to Jade and his family to replace his memorabilia. 

And since Kaval's announcement, the A's community of fans has responded with offers to send the young fan some memorabilia. The A's have even set up an address where fans can send Smith their gifts. 

Who can we blame for epidemic of teams losing three straight elimination games?

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AP

Who can we blame for epidemic of teams losing three straight elimination games?

Fox’ Matt Vasgersian, who does his job well,  declared the New York Yankees’ American League Division Series win over Cleveland to be amazing.

It is not. Not any more.

In fact, the Yankees winning three elimination games in succession is a feat that has happened seven times in the past three years. And we can only conclude from that that they’re not making teams that can avoid the bad beat the way they used to.

The 2017 Indians joined the 2016 Indians, Warriors and Thunder, the 2015 Clippers, Capitals and Texas Rangers, the 2014 Penguins and Sharks, the 2013 Red Wings, the 2012 Reds and Cardinals, the 2011 Penguins, the 2010 Bruins and Capitals as proud laryngectomy victims – teams that needed to win only one of three (or in the Sharks’ case, four) games to advance in the playoffs (or in the Warriors’ case, win).

That’s 15 times this “amazing” thing has happened, which means that by any estimate, teams that needed to win three consecutive games to escape the icy hand of Uncle Death are now pretty much the norm in this decade.

And why, you ask? I blame Twitter. I blame global warming. I blame video games. I blame smartphones. I blame phones. I blame the new president. I blame the old president. I blame Satan. I blame participation trophies and orange slices and juice boxes. I blame the players and I blame the owners and I blame the fans and definitely those smarmy bastards in the media. They’re the worst.

I blame you. Hell, I think I blame Matt Vasgersian.

But whomever is at fault, we have here an epidemic of feet strangling their owners when everything seems their cheeriest. And unless we live in such misery-enriched times that good times are only precursors to far worse ones, there is no sensible explanation. Players’ windpipes are no smaller than they were a decade ago. The Internet is older than seven years. Close-out games are not materially more difficult than they were before 2010.

And yet winning that one extra game is suddenly like finding out your SAT test has been written totally in anagrams. In other words, when things look brightest, that’s when you know you’re totally screwed.

And if you don’t believe me, ask Terry Francona. In a few weeks maybe. Not right away. Not unless you’re keen to see how it feels to have your neck used as a bathmat.