Athletics

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Graveman's rough return in A's loss

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Graveman's rough return in A's loss

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SAN FRANCISCO — It wasn’t exactly the return Kendall Graveman had in mind.

The right-hander’s first major league start since mid-May lasted just two innings Thursday, the Giants knocking him around for seven runs in an 11-2 rout that earned San Francisco a split of the four-game Bay Bridge Series.

Perhaps the shores of McCovey Cove just don’t agree with Graveman. Thursday’s outing marked the second-shortest start of his career. The only shorter one? That also came at AT&T Park, where he lasted just 1 1/3 innings in a July 2015 start.

After missing 2 1/2 months with a strained throwing shoulder, Graveman’s fastball clocked as high as 96 miles per hour on the stadium radar gun. But the Giants were squaring up everything. Four consecutive hits in the first keyed a four-run rally, then they added three more in the second wit help from Brandon Belt’s two-run homer.

Graveman (2-3) gave up seven runs on eight hits total, and his pitch count was already at 40 when manager Bob Melvin lifted him for a pinch hitter in the third inning.

Before you attempt to wipe this one from your memory, here’s five takeaways from Thursday:

THE VETERAN STARTERS STRUGGLED THIS SERIES: It was rookies Paul Blackburn and Daniel Gossett who earned Oakland’s two victories on the mound. Meanwhile, Graveman and Sean Manaea — the rotation’s most experienced starters after the Sonny Gray trade — combined for just five innings and gave up 13 runs (9 earned) in their two starts total.

SMITH’S RETURN TO THE BULLPEN: For the second time in three nights, the A’s needed a reliever to soak up a big workload. On this night it was Chris Smith, whose previous four outings came in a starting role. Smith gave up four runs over four innings, and in the context of this game, he served an important role in keeping Melvin from having to burn through any more relievers. But he did allow a three-run homer to Giants pitcher Ty Blach, one batter after intentionally walking Joe Panik to get to the pitcher’s spot.

It was that kind of night for the A’s.

RAJAI’S BIG MOMENT: One-time Giant Rajai Davis, batting leadoff for the second night in a row as the Giants started another lefty, homered to left in the eighth inning to provide A’s fans their biggest moment to cheer.

KD RETURNED TO THE LINEUP: After sitting Wednesday with a sore hamstring, Khris Davis returned to left field and batted cleanup. The trio of Ryon Healy, Chad Pinder and Matt Chapman, which enjoyed a big game Wednesday, all moved down a notch to hit 5-6-7 and went just 3-for-12 with an RBI.

GOSSETT GOES DOWN: Despite a strong seven-inning effort Wednesday, rookie Daniel Gossett was the choice to be sent down to clear the needed 25-man roster spot for Graveman. Melvin said it was tough news to break. But with the A’s finally getting a day off Monday, they don’t need a fifth starter for a while, and Melvin said the A’s wanted to keep their other four starters on turn and didn’t want Gossett to miss a turn or pitch out of the bullpen. Expect him to be up again fairly soon.

Maxwell speaks about anthem protest, but stays mum on legal issues

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Maxwell speaks about anthem protest, but stays mum on legal issues

When A's catcher Bruce Maxwell knelt during the anthem last season, he was the first MLB player to do so. He knelt before each of each of Oakland's final nine games, in order to protest racial inequality and in response to President Trump's incendiary comments about NFL players kneeling, but ended the season as the only MLB player to kneel during the anthem. 

This season, he won't kneel at all, he told reporters in a statement on the first day of spring training. 

“Obviously, I didn’t take that lightly,” Maxwell told the San Francisco Chronicle prior to the release of his statement.  “That was to bring awareness to a problem and the face we do see it, we do experience and we have empathy for what’s going on. This year I don’t plan on kneeling. … And we’ll move on forward.”

While Maxwell did address his protest during the anthem, he largely did not address his offseason legal issues.

“It’s ongoing, I can’t really discuss details,” he said. “It’s something me and my lawyers are handling.”

On Oct. 28, Maxwell was arrested in Scottsdale after allegedly pointing a gun at a food-delivery person. He pleaded not guilty to felony charges of aggravated assault and disorderly conduct in November, and is set for a settlement conference on April 13 after failing to reach a plea agreement on Monday, according to the Chronicle. 

If an agreement cannot be reached, Maxwell's trial is set to begin on Aug. 9. 

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson traded to... the Yankees

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Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson traded to... the Yankees

The New York Yankees Wednesday announced that they have acquired infielder Russell Wilson from the Texas Rangers in exchange for future considerations.

Wilson, 29, led the Seattle Seahawks to the 2014 Super Bowl championship, defeating the Denver Broncos, 43-8. At age 25, Wilson became the third-youngest quarterback to lead a team to a Super Bowl victory.

He has played the past six seasons (2012-17) with Seattle. A four-time Pro-Bowler, Wilson has completed 1,815-of-2,834 pass attempts (64.0 percent) for 22,176 yards and 161 touchdowns. He has compiled a career starting record of 65-30-1. In 2017, Wilson led the NFL with 34 touchdown passes.

"We've admired Russell's career from afar for quite some time," Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said. "This is a unique opportunity for us to learn from an extraordinary athlete who has reached the pinnacle of his profession. 

"After talking to a number of our players, there is a genuine excitement in having Russell join us for a short time in camp. We are all looking forward to gaining insight into how he leads teammates toward a common goal, prepares on a daily basis for the rigors of his sport, and navigates the successes and failures of a season."

The Richmond, Va., native was originally selected by the Colorado Rockies in the fourth round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, and was acquired by Texas in the minor league phase of the 2013 Rule 5 Draft. In 2014 and '15, Wilson participated in team workouts at Rangers spring training camp.

In 93 career minor league games between Rookie-level Tri-City (2010) and Single-A Asheville (2011) in Colorado's system, Wilson hit .229/.354/.356 (72-for-315) with 58R, 9 doubles, 8 triples, 5HR, 26RBI and 19SB. In his last 15 games with Asheville in 2011, Wilson hit .302 (16-for-53) with 13R, 5 extra-base hits, 9RBI and 5SB.

A two-sport athlete in college, Wilson graduated from North Carolina State University in 2010. Using his last year of amateur eligibility, Wilson enrolled at the University of Wisconsin and quarterbacked the Badgers to a co-Big Ten Championship and a Rose Bowl appearance following the 2011 season. 

Wilson is expected to be in Major League camp in March. While he is in Tampa, Wilson will participate in pregame workouts with the club and watch games from the Yankees' dugout.

He will be assigned to the Double-A Trenton roster.

Yankees media services