Mixed results for A's prospects in Fall Stars Game

Mixed results for A's prospects in Fall Stars Game


Franklin Barreto stepped into the batter's box Saturday night to start off the 11th annual Fall Stars Game against Rays prospect Brent Honeywell. Three pitches later, Barreto walked back to the dugout. 

Honeywell spotted two perfect fastballs -- one on the inside corner and the next on the outside -- before snapping off a big 12-6 curveball, forcing Barreto to chase a ball in the dirt and whiff to start the game. Barreto's day didn't get much better in his East squad's 12-3 loss to the West. 

In his second and last at-bat of the day, Barreto grounded out to third base, finishing hitless in the game. At shortstop Barreto looked smooth with a quick throwing release, but his attempt of a highlight play wound up as an error and the West's fifth run of the game. 

Looking to spin and hurl a perfect throw across his body on a ball up the middle, Barreto's toss to first base was low and out of reach as it took a bounce into the stands, handing the West a 5-0 lead in the third inning. 

[RELATED: Arizona Fall League roundup: A's arms dominating their competition]

Reliever Sam Bragg entered in the bottom of the fifth for the East and the A's pitching prospect earned all three of his outs in his one inning pitched by virtue of strikeouts. But, that doesn't paint the whole picture for Bragg. 

Bragg also allowed two earned runs off two hits, including a home run off the bat of Willie Calhoun, who went on to win MVP of the game.

For comparison's sake, Bragg has only allowed one earned run in six appearances for the Mesa Solar Sox before Saturday's Fall Stars Game.

Now officially in the fold, Lucroy ready to work with young A's pitchers


Now officially in the fold, Lucroy ready to work with young A's pitchers

The Oakland A's made it official: They finally got their man behind the plate. 

Oakland officially announced the signing of veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy on Monday. Lucroy's deal is reportedly worth $6.5 million, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser.

Lucroy joined his new teammates for the first time in Arizona on Monday, and told reporters that he is especially excited to work with the club's young, promising pitching staff. The three returning leaders in innings pitched (Kendall Graveman, Sean Manaea, Jharel Cotton) are all 27-years-old or younger, and 22-year-old top prospect A.J. Puk is pushing for a rotation spot after allowing just one run in three appearances this spring. 

"I'm looking forward to working with these guys and trying to help them get better and get better myself along the way," Lucroy told reporters. "I think that's what it's all about; taking what they do best and try to simplify their approach ... Really, just doing anything I can with them to get hitters out."

Manager Bob Melvin told reporters that he thinks Lucroy's experience will prove beneficial to his young staff.

"If we can't go out and get ourselves a [starting pitcher], that's the next best thing," Melvin told reporters on Monday. "So, he's got a lot of experience, and a great reputation for being a teriffic leader behind the plate."

Lucroy, 31, slashed .265/.345/.371 in 481 plate appearances with the Texas Rangers and Colorado Rockies last season, hitting six home runs with 40 RBI, his lowest marks in those categories since his rookie season in 2010.

In order to accomodate Lucroy's signing the, the A's designated left-handed pitcher Jairo Labourt for assignment. Labourt was acquired off of waivers on Mar. 4, and Labourt's arrival prompted the eventual release of Brandon Moss one month into his Oakland reunion.

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


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.