A's notes: Bring on the Giants, etc.


A's notes: Bring on the Giants, etc.


OAKLAND -- Jarrod Parker's first start against the San Francisco Giants did not go as planned. He lasted just two innings after six earned runs. So is he looking for revenge?

"Not revenge," Parker said. "But I'd like to rebound from that tough outing."

It was one of only two of Parker's 10 starts with the A's in which he allowed more than two runs. But A's manager Bob Melvin had a litany of excuses for his young right hander.

"That was a tough outing for him," Melvin said. "He was sick, he had thrown a bunch of pitches the time before, he had a little knot in the back of his shoulder where the ball wasn't coming out of his hand as well, so there were a lot of things playing against him in that game. Whereas he will be plenty rested for this one."

The Giants did the damage back on May 18 without Pablo Sandoval or Buster Posey in the lineup. Things will be different this time as the Giants are coming off a day of rest and are finding some roster consistency. They've trotted out the same lineup one-through-seven the past three games.

Whoever the Giants play, Parker isn't concerned.

"Nothing changes," he said. "We're going to stick with our gameplan and pitch to my strengths."

Matchups between the A's and Giants are major events in the Bay Area, often times more so for the fans. But Melvin admitted Wednesday he's into it.

"I really enjoyed last year," Melvin said. "The back and forth between the fans I thought was pretty cool. I almost got too caught up in watching that. My guess is it will be well attended again and a lot of A's and Giants fans here going at it, and I think that's good for baseball in the area.

"Certainly for me, I'm excited about it."

The Giants claimed the series in San Francisco two games to one. Bay Area baseball bragging rights will be once again on the line this weekend in Oakland.

Walk-off wonder:

Brandon Inge hit a walk-off grand slam for the A's on May 9. A day later he was impressed with the celebration.

"These guys can really beat you up," Inge said of his new teammates.

So when Yoenis Cespedes, who is still nursing a strained left hamstring, ended the A's three-game series against the Dodgers with a three-run blast to left field, Inge was sure to get his revenge.

Do you go easy on a guy who's injured?

"Injuries are out the window at that point," Inge said with a smile. "Be ready."

Cespedes was, sort of. He acknowledged Kendrys Morales' home plate celebration, and the broken leg that ended his 2010 season and forced him to miss all of 2011. But was he going to take it easy?

"No chance," Cespedes said in English.

When his walk-off home run trot approached home plate -- where a bevy of teammates waited to maul him -- manager Bob Melvin admitted he was nervous.

But Cespedes looked healthy in the clubhouse, and instead of complaining about being hammered at the plate, he credited his teammates for believing in him and encouraging him as he battles back from injury.

"They told me I've hit big home runs, driven in big runs, now I needed to get that walk-off," he said through a translator. "I was thinking about it."

Give me a year:

Andrew Carignan was in the A's clubhouse with a cast that went up past his right elbow after Thursday's win. He had "Tommy John" surgery to replace the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow on Tuesday.

In good spirits? "As good as the situation will allow," Carignan said.

He won't pitch again this season after landing on the 60-day DL.

"This is the most intrusive thing I've had done," Carignan said of the reconstructive surgery. "Had a scope a while back, but that just set me back a few weeks. I hope to be throwing in games this time next year."

More on McCarthy Friday:

The team is actively monitoring Brandon McCarthy's troubled shoulder after a highly efficient outing in a 3-0 win over the Dodgers Tuesday.

"Nothing to this point would suggest that he'll miss his start," Melvin said.

Pitchers typically throw a bullpen two days prior to their upcoming start. With McCarthy slated to pitch the finale of the Bay Bridge Series Sunday against Matt Cain, he'll test his shoulder in a bullpen Friday.

Back in the saddle:

Josh Reddick has played in 67 of the A's 70 games this year. He got a day off Thursday after failing to record a hit in his last 19 at-bats.

He is expected to be back in the lineup against the Giants.

Batting first, and playing center field...:

This season, Coco Crisp was displaced in center field by Yoenis Cespedes and dropped to two in the lineup so Jemile Weeks could lead off.

The 11-year veteran authored another productive day atop the lineup playing center field Thursday.

Crisp finished the game 1-for-3, but his most important plate appearance came led off the bottom of the ninth when he drew a walk from Dodgers reliever Josh Lindblom.

"You get a guy like Coco on," Melvin said. "A lot of the focus is on him."

Lindblom's wild pitch and defensive lapse led to Yoenis Cespedes' walk-off home run, and Crisp scored the winning run.

Crisp is 11-for-26 (.423) with five stolen bases over the last eight games, of which the A's have won seven.

A's hire Matt Williams as third base coach


A's hire Matt Williams as third base coach

OAKLANDThe Oakland A’s named Matt Williams as third base coach on Bob Melvin’s coaching staff for the 2018 season, the club announced today.

Williams spent five seasons on the Arizona Diamondbacks coaching staff as first base coach (2010) and third base coach (2011-13, 16) and also managed the Washington Nationals for two seasons.  He was named National League Manager of the Year by the BBWAA in his first season as manager in 2014, guiding the Nationals to a 96-66 record and an NL East title.  He went 83-79 in 2015 for a 179-145 (.552) record in two seasons as manager.

Williams played 17 seasons in the majors with San Francisco (1987-96), Cleveland (1997) and Arizona (1998-2003).  He was a .268 career hitter with 378 home runs and 1218 RBI in 1866 games.  Williams was a five-time All-Star and won four Gold Gloves as a third baseman.

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Ryon Healy trade has domino effect


Ryon Healy trade has domino effect

The A’s wasted no time making their first major move of the offseason, and it has a domino effect on how their 2018 lineup will take shape.

The trade of young slugger Ryon Healy to the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday paves the way for left fielder Khris Davis to start getting heavy at-bats as the designated hitter, the spot left vacant by Healy.

It also points to another move the A’s want to pull off — acquiring a right-handed hitting corner outfielder who presumably can eat up those defensive innings that Davis spends as the DH.

It’s a series of moves that isn’t all that surprising given the A’s roster makeup right now. Healy, who hit .282 with 38 homers in 221 games over his first two big league seasons, is capable of playing either first or third base. But Matt Olson and Matt Chapman secured those spots, respectively, with their solid showings as rookies last season.

“We’ve obviously talked a lot since the end of the season about adding to the bullpen,” A’s general manager David Forst said on a conference call Wednesday night. “At the same time, with the emergence of Matt and Matt, on the corners, maybe Ryon needed to be somebody we might have to move ...”

It makes sense for Oakland to find a way to shift Davis from being the everyday left fielder while still keeping his 40-homer bat in the lineup. Opponents have routinely taken extra bases the past two seasons on Davis’ throwing arm, and whether they add a newcomer to play left or shift Joyce or someone else there, chances are they can benefit from better defense in left.

The A’s also feel they got an important chip back from Seattle to help bolster a bullpen that ranked 13th in the American League last season with a 4.57 ERA. They received right-hander Emilio Pagan (along with minor league shortstop Alexander Campos), and figure that the 26-year-old Pagan is someone the A’s have pegged to be an immediate contributor in their ‘pen.

A 10th round draft pick in 2013, Pagan made his big league debut in 2017 and posted a 3.22 ERA over 34 games spread over four stints with Seattle. He endured a rocky first couple of outings but, after being called up for good in the second half, eventually worked his way into a late-inning setup role. Pagan struck out 56 and walked just eight in 50 1/3 innings, numbers that surely popped out to Oakland’s front office.

He’ll likely be called upon in middle relief to help set the table for Chris Hatcher and closer Blake Treinen, as the bullpen currently looks.

Campos, just 17, spent this past season in the Dominican Summer League, and Forst said the A’s were eyeing Campos last summer when they eventually traded Yonder Alonso to the Mariners. Oakland wound up getting center fielder Boog Powell back in that deal.

Did the A’s rake in enough for Healy? As with all trades, it will take time to judge. But it’s fair to say that Healy’s departure will be felt in a clubhouse that is characterized by the emergence of many young position players, and he was a part of that group. In fact, when Healy was called up in July 2016 — knocking Danny Valencia out as the regular third baseman — he became the first of several promising position-player prospects to establish himself in Oakland’s lineup.

He rented a house in the East Bay and eventually took in Chapman, Olson and Chad Pinder as roommates. There’s a fiery side to Healy’s on-field personality that was a positive for the A’s, and watching him play Oakland as a member of an AL West rival will make for entertaining theatre.

Another storyline is how Davis takes to being a regular DH. Forst praised Davis’ approach to his game and doesn’t anticipate any problems, adding that the A’s still want to get Davis some time in the outfield.