A's Mailbag: Where's Green? What's up with the SPs?


A's Mailbag: Where's Green? What's up with the SPs?

OAKLAND -- Time to open up the A's Digital Mailbag again. This time all the questions are from Twitter. Remember you can also email me at CPratt@ComcastSportsNet.comTwitter:@caseyprattcsn when will the As call up grant Green? Samwise Gamgee (@TommyTSlice) August 17, 2012CP: My answer: Septmber 1, when rosters expand. I've been wrong about these things before though. I think Grant Green could be ready with the bat. Here's his 2012 Triple-A slash line: .291.335.454. Defense is the main concern. Where are you going to put him? Before irrationally answering shortstop, remember that every scout I have talked to says he can't stick there. If he was considered MLB-ready at shortstop he'd probably have been here by now -- and not playing all over the field in the Minor Leagues. Here's his breakdown of positions played this year by game: OF-75; 2B-12; 3B-9; SS-17. Green tells me he is more comfortable at shortstop. He played there almost his entire life. If not at shortstop, he says he is more comfortable in left field because the ball comes off the bat from a similar angle there. Green is close. He isn't quite ready yet. The A's plan is to make him as versatile as possible so that he can come up sooner rather than later. @caseyprattcsn Do you think the A's will set a innings limit on their young pitchers like the Nationals did with Stephen Strasburg? WorldofBayAreaSports (@basportsupdates) August 17, 2012CP: I do not. They haven't said they would at least. Believe me, us media members have asked the question many times as well. The guy they want to be most careful with is Jarrod Parker because he had Tommy John surgery at the end of the 2009 season. They feel Tommy Milone will be fine. Milone and Dan Straily don't have histories of arm issues. The A's plan isn't to shut any of them down like the Nationals are doing with Stephen Strasburg. Instead they have been careful with pitch counts all season. Remember when Parker almost threw a no-hitter and A's manager Bob Melvin said he was glad he didn't because he wouldn't have let him finish the game? @caseyprattcsn any correlation between that A's current pitching problems and the departure of Suzuki? Alex Yarbrough (@AlexWFS) August 16, 2012CP: This is a popular question. I really don't think there is. The A's starting rotation has over achieved in many ways this year. It was bound to level out. Especially when considering they have been as good as they are with three to four rookies in the rotation at all times. Simply put, many of these guys are reaching inning counts they have never surpassed before. They could be getting worn down. There is no question that Kurt Suzuki has been fantastic with the A's young pitchers his entire career, but keep in mind Curt Young also had his hand in it. He is still here. The guys that I have talked to say they like throwing to Derek Norris. I don't get the vibe they are just saying that. The A's will have to hope that the return of Brandon McCarthy, the steady performance of Bartolo Colon, and a return of Brett Anderson will help prevent the starting staff from faltering down the stretch. @caseyprattcsnassuming parker and milone continue to struggle, who would they remove if anderson comes back or both if griffin is back ? Shashank Kothpalli (@desifo0l) August 17, 2012CP: I don't think there is a rock-solid plan in place here. The A's insist these are good problems to have, and that they tend to work themselves out. I tend to agree. Look how A.J. Griffin got hurt right when Brandon McCarthy was nearing return. Depth is never a bad thing. I think it might be a mistake to force Brett Anderson back into the rotation before he is completely ready. Anderson is rebounding well from Tommy John surgery, but he hasn't thrown more than 100 pitchers or over six innings yet in Triple-A. I think he could use one or two more starts at least. Even if his arm feels good -- and he says it does -- he needs to fine tune all of his pitches before facing Major League competition. That being said, I get the feeling he will be back very soon. I don't know who will lose their spot as a result though. A.J. Griffin could also make things interesting. His MRI came back clean but the team is taking a careful approach with him.A six-man rotation might make sense. It could limit the innings of the rookies and help get McCarthy extra rest. It would likely wreak havoc on the bullpen though. @caseyprattcsn What are your thoughts on Braden being with the Athletics next year? Michael Wright (@michaeljamaar) August 17, 2012CP: Dallas Braden isn't a free agent until 2014. There is no reason why the A's wouldn't keep him around next year. The second surgery he will be undergoing is exploratory. Often after a major procedure like he had they will need to go back in and clean a few things up. He could still possibly be ready to pitch next season. If not, expect the A's to keep him around as he works toward a return. They could sign him to another one-year deal in 2014 too because he will come at a bargain.

Vallejo-native, free agent-to-be Sabathia after Yankees loss: 'This is my home'


Vallejo-native, free agent-to-be Sabathia after Yankees loss: 'This is my home'

C.C. Sabathia couldn't save the Yankees' 2017 season. And now he has a decision to make.

After nine seasons in New York, the 37-year-old hits the free agent market this winter.

With career earnings nearing $250 million and a 2009 World Series ring already on his resume, would the Vallejo-native consider coming home to play for the A's? That's a question that was posed to Insider Joe Stiglich last week.

While it's a possibility, based on comments after Saturday's ALCS Game 7 loss to the Astros, it sounds like Sabathia doesn't want to leave The Bronx.

“I feel like this is a young team, and we will turn this into something great. This is my home, and I want to see this thing through," Sabathia told reporters, according to The Associated Press.

Astros win two straight vs Yankees, advance to take on Dodgers in World Series


Astros win two straight vs Yankees, advance to take on Dodgers in World Series


HOUSTON -- Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers combined on a three-hitter, Jose Altuve and Evan Gattis homered and the Houston Astros reached the World Series, blanking the New York Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

Just four years removed from their third straight 100-loss season in 2013, the Astros shut down the Yankees for two straight games after dropping three in a row in the Bronx.

Next up for the Astros: Game 1 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Los Angeles opened as a narrow favorite, but Houston aces Dallas Keuchel and ALCS MVP Justin Verlander will have plenty of rest before the matchup begins at Dodger Stadium.

Houston has never won even a single World Series game. The only previous time the Astros made it this far, they were a National League team when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005.

Now, manager A.J. Hinch's club has a chance to win that elusive first title, while trying to boost a region still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

Houston improved to 6-0 at Minute Maid Park in these playoffs and became the fifth team in major league history to win a seven-game postseason series by winning all four of its home games.

Morton bounced back from a loss in Game 3 to allow two hits over five scoreless innings. Starter-turned-postseason reliever McCullers limited the Yankees to just one hit while fanning six over the next four.

Combined, they throttled the wild-card Yankees one last time in Houston. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and their New York teammates totaled just three runs in the four road games.

CC Sabathia entered the game 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 13 starts this season after a Yankees loss. But he struggled with command and was gone with one out in the fourth inning.

Houston was up 2-0 in fifth when former Yankees star Brian McCann came through for the second straight game by hitting a two-run double after snapping an 0-for-20 skid with an ground-rule RBI double to give Houston its first run on Friday night.

The Yankees, trying to reach the World Series for the first time since 2009, lost an elimination game for the first time this season after winning their first four in these playoffs. New York struggled on the road this postseason, with this loss dropping the team to 1-6.

After going 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position through the first three innings, the Astros got on the board with no outs in the fourth with the 405-foot shot by Gattis off Sabathia which made it 1-0.

Altuve launched a ball off Tommy Kahnle into the seats in right field with one out in the fifth for his fifth homer this postseason. It took a while for him to see that it was going to get out, and held onto his bat until he was halfway to first base before flipping it and trotting around the bases as chants of "MVP" rained down on him.

Altuve finished 8 for 25 with two homers and four RBIs in the ALCS after hitting .533 with three homers and four RBIs in the ALDS against Boston.

Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel hit consecutive singles after that before Kahnle struck out Gattis. McCann's two-strike double, which rolled into the corner of right field, cleared the bases to push the lead to 4-0. Gurriel slid to avoid the tag and remained on his belly in a swimming pose at the plate for a few seconds after he was called safe.

It was just the second Game 7 in franchise history for the Astros, who dropped Game 7 to the Cardinals in the 2004 NLCS 13 years ago today.

Sabathia allowed five hits and one run while walking three in 3 1/3 innings. He wasn't nearly as sharp as he was in a Game 3 win and just 36 of the 65 pitches he threw were strikes.

Morton got into trouble in the fifth, and the Yankees had runners at the corners with one out. Bregman fielded a grounder hit by Todd Frazier and made a perfect throw home to allow McCann to tag Greg Bird and preserve Houston's lead. McCann held onto the ball despite Bird's cleat banging into his forearm. Chase Headley grounded out after that to end the inning.

A night after Springer kept Frazier from extra-bases with a leaping catch, Judge returned the favor on a ball hit by Yuli Gurriel. Judge sprinted, jumped and reached into the stands to grab his long fly ball before crashing into the wall and falling to the ground for the first out of the second inning.

Springer had another nifty catch in this one, jumping in front of Marwin Gonzalez at the wall in left-center to grab a ball hit by Bird for the first out of the seventh inning.