Athletics

A's hang on, beat Angels 9-8

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A's hang on, beat Angels 9-8

OAKLAND -- The A's outlasted the Angels in a Wednesday slugfest at the Coliseum. With a 9-8 win, Oakland takes the series against their division rivals two games to three, and finishes their homestand 5-5. At the PlateThe Angels made a big move at the trade deadline to acquire Cy Young-award winner Zack Greinke from the Brewers. In a much smaller move the A's picked up catcher George Kottaras from the Brewers. On Wednesday, the A's acquisition hit a two-run blast to dead center field off the Angels acquisition. Kottaras and Greinke were teammates in Milwaukee and the A's new catcher probably shared some very in-depth knowledge with his new teammates. The A's batted around in four-run second inning drawing five walks. Brandon Moss and Josh Reddick each hit RBI-singles. Greinke left the game with five innings pitched and four earned runs. He allowed five walks and gave up six hits. The Angels haven't won either game started by Greinke since they acquired him.With Greinke out of the game, the A's put five runs on the scoreboard in the sixth inning. Cliff Pennington drew a walk and then advanced to second on a Jemile Weeks bunt. Coco Crisp drove him in with a single to right field. Two batters later Josh Reddick drew a walk before the A's executed a double steal. Yoenis Cespedes stepped to the plate with two outs and hit a two-run opposite field single. The next batter Chris Carter crushed a two-run homer to left field, his 10th of the season. The A's now have seven players with double-digit home runs. Reddick (25), Cespedes (14), Gomes (12), Smith (11), Moss (11), Inge (11), Carter (10).Starting Pitching ReportWhile pitching in a collegiate summer league in Berkeley, Dan Straily and some friends took BART to the Oakland Coliseum to watch the A's take on the Angels on a 2 Wednesday. It is a testament to how far Straily has come that he is now on the mound -- pitching -- on a BART 2 Wednesday -- against the Angels. Straily announced his presence with authority in the first inning. He struck out Mike Trout, Torii Hunter, and Albert Pujols swinging to start the game. Professional baseball's strikeout leader ended up with five strikeouts. Straily allowed his first Major League homer in the second inning, a solo shot off the bat of Kendrys Morales. The Angels would end up tagging Straily for four home runs. Morales hit two of them, and his second homer -- a two-run shot -- knocked Straily out of the game.During the game Angels right fielder Torii Hunter sent fried chicken to the right field bleacher crew. He later sent a home run to left field. The fan in left field who caught Hunter's home run ball threw it back, the right field crew chose to keep the chicken. Straily's threw 103 pitches over four and two-thirds innings. He allowed five runs on eight hits and walked one batter. Bullpen ReportJordan Norberto entered the game in relief of Straily in the fifth. He walked Alberto Callaspo before striking out Howie Kendrick swinging to the the inning. He remained in the game for the sixth inning and there was a brief injury scare when an A's trainer and manager Bob Melvin visited with him on the mound. He stayed in the game and struck out Chris Iannetta. He was lifted after walking Trout. Pat Neshek finished the sixth inning by striking out Hunter. Neshek, a righty with a deceptive delivery, has appeared in four games since being acquired last Friday from the Orioles. He has has six strikeouts and hasn't allowed a hit. Grant Balfour pitched the seventh inning. He allowed a solo homer to Mark Trumbo snapping a streak of 13 games without allowing a run. Sean Doolittle allowed back-to-back single to start the eighth inning. He them struck out the side to end the frame. Doolittle got Iannetta looking, Trout looking, and Hunter swinging. A's closer Ryan Cook pitched the ninth. He had blown his last two saves. Cook is usually a different pitcher when well rested and he hadn't pitched since Thursday. Entering Wednesday, Cook had allowed one run in his last 38 innings when pitching on a day or more of rest. He allowed two runs but escaped with his 12th save. In the FieldWith one of the game's fastest runners on third base and one out, Mark Trumbo hit a fly ball to left field that Cespedes made a charging catch on. Cespedes fired a perfect strike to home plate and Trout stayed on third. Many marvel at Reddick's arm in right field, but Cespedes might have an even better arm. AttendanceThe A's announced an attendance of 21,150. Dot RaceIt was a live Dot Race on Wednesday. Red got a huge lead but was knocked out by Blue. That was all the momentum Blue needed, and easily won the race.Up NextThe A's get a much needed day off on Thursday. They will begin a series in Chicago with the White Sox on Friday. Brandon McCarthy (6-3, 2.54 ERA) will be activated from the disabled list prior to the game and he'll be the A's starting pitcher. McCarthy has been on the DL twice this year with right shoulder issues. He is 6-0 in his last seven starts with Oakland.The White Sox will be sending Gavin Floyd (8-9, 4.43 ERA) to the mound. Floyd is 3-2 with a 2.17 ERA in his career against the A's.

A's hire Matt Williams as third base coach

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AP

A's hire Matt Williams as third base coach

OAKLANDThe Oakland A’s named Matt Williams as third base coach on Bob Melvin’s coaching staff for the 2018 season, the club announced today.

Williams spent five seasons on the Arizona Diamondbacks coaching staff as first base coach (2010) and third base coach (2011-13, 16) and also managed the Washington Nationals for two seasons.  He was named National League Manager of the Year by the BBWAA in his first season as manager in 2014, guiding the Nationals to a 96-66 record and an NL East title.  He went 83-79 in 2015 for a 179-145 (.552) record in two seasons as manager.

Williams played 17 seasons in the majors with San Francisco (1987-96), Cleveland (1997) and Arizona (1998-2003).  He was a .268 career hitter with 378 home runs and 1218 RBI in 1866 games.  Williams was a five-time All-Star and won four Gold Gloves as a third baseman.

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Ryon Healy trade has domino effect

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AP

Ryon Healy trade has domino effect

The A’s wasted no time making their first major move of the offseason, and it has a domino effect on how their 2018 lineup will take shape.

The trade of young slugger Ryon Healy to the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday paves the way for left fielder Khris Davis to start getting heavy at-bats as the designated hitter, the spot left vacant by Healy.

It also points to another move the A’s want to pull off — acquiring a right-handed hitting corner outfielder who presumably can eat up those defensive innings that Davis spends as the DH.

It’s a series of moves that isn’t all that surprising given the A’s roster makeup right now. Healy, who hit .282 with 38 homers in 221 games over his first two big league seasons, is capable of playing either first or third base. But Matt Olson and Matt Chapman secured those spots, respectively, with their solid showings as rookies last season.

“We’ve obviously talked a lot since the end of the season about adding to the bullpen,” A’s general manager David Forst said on a conference call Wednesday night. “At the same time, with the emergence of Matt and Matt, on the corners, maybe Ryon needed to be somebody we might have to move ...”

It makes sense for Oakland to find a way to shift Davis from being the everyday left fielder while still keeping his 40-homer bat in the lineup. Opponents have routinely taken extra bases the past two seasons on Davis’ throwing arm, and whether they add a newcomer to play left or shift Joyce or someone else there, chances are they can benefit from better defense in left.

The A’s also feel they got an important chip back from Seattle to help bolster a bullpen that ranked 13th in the American League last season with a 4.57 ERA. They received right-hander Emilio Pagan (along with minor league shortstop Alexander Campos), and figure that the 26-year-old Pagan is someone the A’s have pegged to be an immediate contributor in their ‘pen.

A 10th round draft pick in 2013, Pagan made his big league debut in 2017 and posted a 3.22 ERA over 34 games spread over four stints with Seattle. He endured a rocky first couple of outings but, after being called up for good in the second half, eventually worked his way into a late-inning setup role. Pagan struck out 56 and walked just eight in 50 1/3 innings, numbers that surely popped out to Oakland’s front office.

He’ll likely be called upon in middle relief to help set the table for Chris Hatcher and closer Blake Treinen, as the bullpen currently looks.

Campos, just 17, spent this past season in the Dominican Summer League, and Forst said the A’s were eyeing Campos last summer when they eventually traded Yonder Alonso to the Mariners. Oakland wound up getting center fielder Boog Powell back in that deal.

Did the A’s rake in enough for Healy? As with all trades, it will take time to judge. But it’s fair to say that Healy’s departure will be felt in a clubhouse that is characterized by the emergence of many young position players, and he was a part of that group. In fact, when Healy was called up in July 2016 — knocking Danny Valencia out as the regular third baseman — he became the first of several promising position-player prospects to establish himself in Oakland’s lineup.

He rented a house in the East Bay and eventually took in Chapman, Olson and Chad Pinder as roommates. There’s a fiery side to Healy’s on-field personality that was a positive for the A’s, and watching him play Oakland as a member of an AL West rival will make for entertaining theatre.

Another storyline is how Davis takes to being a regular DH. Forst praised Davis’ approach to his game and doesn’t anticipate any problems, adding that the A’s still want to get Davis some time in the outfield.