Athletics

A's lineup: Crisp returns

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A's lineup: Crisp returns

Programming note: Toronto-A's coverage begins tonight at 6:30 p.m. with A's Pregame Live, and baseball follows from Oakland on Comcast SportsNet California!

OAKLAND -- The A's may not have made a deadline deal but they are still shaking up their roster. Multiple sources say that Dan Straily is joining the A's and starting on Friday in place of Travis Blackley. The A's likely won't announce the move until Friday prior to his start but Blackley is already listed among relievers on the lineup card.The A's also recalled infielder Adam Rosales and optioned shortstop Brandon Hicks to Triple-A. This will be Rosales' third time with A's this season. He is batting .167 in 13 games in Oakland with a .394 on-base percentage. He was hitting .280 in Sacramento with eight homers, 47 RBIs and 26 walks.Brandon Hicks hit a game-tying homer that helped the A's win a 15-inning contest against the Rays on Monday, but badly misplayed a ball that lead to a run in Tuesday's 8-0 loss to Tampa Bay. He hit .183 in Oakland with his first three career homers in 20 games.In other noteworthy news, Coco Crisp who has missed the last four games with a hamstring injury is back in the starting lineup.Oakland Athletics (56-48) lineupCoco Crisp, CF
Seth Smith, DH
Josh Reddick, RF
Yoenis Cespedes, LF
Brandon Moss, 1B
Brandon Inge, 3B
George Kottaras, C
Adam Rosales, SS
Eric Sogard, 2B
Instant AnalysisCoco Crisp's return to the lineup should provide a spark for an A's team that scored just six runs total over the four games he missed. The fact he is starting in center field is a very good sign that he has recovered from the hamstring issue that held him out.Eric Sogard is starting at second base for Jemile Weeks who has been struggling a little offensively and defensively. The A's likely chose to keep Sogard instead of Hicks because he is more versatile in the field. Rosales' addition might be a temporary one because Cliff Pennington is taking batting practice on the field and then likely starting a rehab assignment on Friday. In case you are wondering that is just one reason why Grant Green wasn't called up.Top of the OrderThe A's were 16-2 in July with Crisp atop the lineup. The veteran center fielder caught fire last month hitting .342 with three homers, two doubles, two triples, 11 runs scored.Heart of the OrderJosh Reddick is struggling lately offensively. He is stuck in an 0 for 21 slump since crashing into the wall in Baltimore. The A's say there is no reason for concern regarding Reddick's issues at the plate.Brandon Inge has an A's season-high 11-game hitting streak. He has been a steady source of RBIs since the A's acquired him. In his 54 hits with the A's Inge has 47 RBIs.Bottom of the OrderGeorge Kottaras is back in the lineup. The left-handed catcher will be used primarily in a platoon role with Kurt Suzuki. Expect to see Kottaras starting most times there is a right-handed pitcher on the mound. He went 1 for 3 in his A's debut. Catching Bartolo Colon should be a simple task. All the throws are fastballs. Starting PitchersColon (7-8, 3.78 ERA) will begin the four-game home series with the Jays. He will be making his 21st start of the season. Colon's 2.65 ERA in July was the 10th lowest in the American League that month.The Blue Jays will be sending Henderson Alvarez (7-7, 4.43) to the mound. Alvarez is 0-1 in his career against the A's with a 3.09 ERA in 11.2 innings.

Ryan Christenson named bench coach as A's solidify 2018 staff

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Ryan Christenson named bench coach as A's solidify 2018 staff

Ryan Christenson has worked his way up the coaching ladder in the A’s farm system, and on Thursday he was named the team’s new major league bench coach.

The announcement makes Christenson, 43, the right-hand man for manager Bob Melvin and essentially the No. 2 man in the dugout. It also settles a position that was in flux over the course of the 2017 season. Mark Kotsay began this past season as bench coach but stepped away from the team in June to be with his family after his daughter, Sienna, suffered a serious eye injury.

Kotsay is expected to remain with the big league club in some form of non-everyday role. Chip Hale finished the season as bench coach but will now switch back to third base coach, a position he originally was hired for leading into the 2017 season. Hale also coaches Oakland’s infielders.

“At some point in time we knew Ryan was going to be here,” Melvin said. “He went through all the classifications (managing in the minors). He did well with a young group. It’s a good fit bringing him in, and he’s ready for the bench coach role. He’s done a lot of managing.”

Though the bench coach works in closest tandem with a manager throughout the game, Melvin also noted the importance of having a third-base coach that thinks right along with him and is on the same page. From that standpoint, he said having Hale in that role is important.

“Chip’s so good at third, that even though I’m used to having him on the bench, it’s tough not to use him (at third),” Melvin said. “Certainly this isn’t a demotion for Chip.”

It’s the first appointment on a major league staff for Christenson, who has spent the past five seasons managing in Oakland’s farm system, starting with low Single-A and working his way up to Triple-A Nashville this season. He led Double-A Midland to back-to-back Texas League titles in 2015-16, and his teams went 391-307 (.561) over those five seasons.

The rest of Melvin’s coaching staff will return intact in 2018. That includes pitching coach Scott Emerson, who took over that role midseason after the firing of Curt Young, and hitting coach Darren Bush. Like Christenson, Emerson and Bush both were promoted from within the farm system to their eventual spots on the big league staff.

All three men have extensive history coaching the large group of young players that are establishing themselves as the A’s core, and that’s a factor worth keeping in mind when evaluating the makeup of this staff.

Emerson, who assumed Young’s duties in June, will return as pitching coach despite the A’s staff posting a 4.67 ERA, highest by an Oakland staff since 1999. A’s pitchers also surrendered an Oakland-record 210 home runs.

“Similar to Ryan, he knows everybody, what we have here and in the minor leagues,” Melvin said of Emerson. “He’s been a good fit here and continues to be a good fit.”

Bush oversaw a group of hitters that showed improvement as the season wore on, scoring the fifth-most runs in the American League after the All-Star break. The A’s set a franchise record for strikeouts – in line with the rise in whiffs throughout the majors -- but also hit the fourth-most homers in franchise history.

Melvin’s staff is rounded out by first base coach Mike Aldrete, bullpen coach Garvin Alston and assistant hitting coach/catching coach Marcus Jensen. Steve Scarsone, who filled in as interim third base coach from June through the rest of the season, will resume his duties as a traveling instructor throughout the farm system.

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.