Manny homers, A's beat Milwaukee 8-6


Manny homers, A's beat Milwaukee 8-6

PHOENIX -- Manny Ramirez showed he has plenty of pop left in his bat, hitting his first home run in an Oakland Athletics uniform Tuesday.While that may have been a significant milestone to some, it wasn't to Ramirez."I know what I can do," the embattled slugger said after helping the A's to an 8-6 victory over a Milwaukee Brewers split squad.Ramirez was hitless in the first eight at-bats of his comeback this spring. He snapped out of that funk with a homer to left-center against right-hander Mike Fiers in the second inning.Ramirez, who has not played in the majors since last April, drew a walk his next time up and then flied out. He had spent the past couple of days in minor league camp getting extra at-bats."Everyone is playing year-round and I'm trying to catch up," Ramirez said. "Every time I go (to minor league camp), I love it. If you like to play, you enjoy it - because once you don't have it, you don't have it."Ramirez, who turns 40 in May, must serve a 50-game suspension to start the season for a second violation of baseball's drug policy.His new teammate, Yoenis Cespedes, went hitless for the second consecutive game.Cespedes, the Cuban outfielder the A's signed to a four-year, 36 million deal, struck out twice and grounded out. Since he homered and had two hits in his Cactus League debut, Cespedes has gone 0 for 6 with three strikeouts. He has seen more breaking balls over the past two games."I feel good," Cespedes said through a translator. "The last six at-bats were against different pitchers. I like that. I want to see different pitchers with different mechanics."Jarrod Parker, the centerpiece of the package the A's received from Arizona in the Trevor Cahill trade, pitched 3 1-3 scoreless innings. Parker has allowed two runs in 7 1-3 innings this spring."I sometimes battle in the spring with the delivery," said Parker, who missed 2010 while recovering from Tommy John surgery. "It's great to be healthy this year and working to get better and stronger. I'm trying to be as efficient as possible. I want to work on what I'm doing here and get ready for the season."The Brewers took a 4-2 lead on a three-run homer by catcher Martin Maldonado in the sixth. The A's came back and took the lead with a five-run seventh.Oakland scored the go-ahead run when Eric Sogard was awarded home plate on interference. Maldonado didn't have the ball when Sogard ran into him in a rundown between third and home.Milwaukee outfielder Logan Schaefer continued his torrid spring with three more hits. He is batting .588.Schaefer also cut down a runner at the plate on a perfect throw from left.Brewers outfielder Nyjer Morgan had two hits, including a double. He also stole two bases.NOTES: The A's claimed infielder Brandon Hicks on waivers from the Atlanta Braves. The 26-year-old Hicks batted .048 (1 for 21) during three stints in the majors last year. He is 1 for 26 in parts of the last two seasons. Hicks hit .252 with 18 homers at Triple-A. The A's placed pitcher Brett Anderson on the 60-day disabled list to make room on the 40-man roster for Hicks. ... Oakland manager Bob Melvin said any of the five pitchers in the running for the final three rotation spots - Graham Godfrey, Tommy Milone, Brad Peacock, Tyson Ross and Parker - could make the team as a long reliever. ... Hall of Fame OF Rickey Henderson arrived at A's camp. He will begin working with players in big league camp and minor league camp this week.

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


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

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.