Athletics

A's notes: Opportunity knocks for Weeks

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A's notes: Opportunity knocks for Weeks

ANAHEIM -- Jemile Weeks is back in the lineup for the first time since being sent down to Triple-A on August 21. Don't read too much into it at this time. A's manager Bob Melvin stressed that getting Weeks a start was more a product of needed to get shortstop Stephen Drew a day to rest. Cliff Pennington slides back over to shortstop in Drew's place and Weeks is starting at second base."We like what we are seeing out of Pennington and Drew. Those are our starters at this point," Melvin said. "We aren't afraid to play some hot hands too and Weeks has been a big part of this team, I actually feel good I can get him a start." Weeks knows he has to stay humble and make the most of his limited opportunities at this point. He was the starting second baseman in 111 of the A's first 121 games this season. Since returning to the club on Monday he has been patiently waiting to get a shot. "It's great," Weeks said. "Just show I have confidence go out there and play the game I've been playing." Melvin likes to play the hot hand. Weeks will have to prove he can be that guy if he wants to get more playing time. He draws the tough task of having to prove it against Jered Weaver, the leader of the Angels' staff. "I wouldn't say it's tough I think the position I'm in you just have to go out there and whoever I am facing you have to face to the best of your ability," Weeks said. "Obviously he is a good pitcher, he's their ace. You have to go out and battle with him."Weeks is 4 for 17 with a home run and two walks in his career against Weaver. Maybe it's a good time to make an impression. Weaver is 16-4 with a 2.86 ERA but had his last start skipped because of shoulder tendinitis. Weeks hasn't started for the A's since August 20, but made an adjustment at the plate while in Triple-A. "Just like any other start it's a little different having a break but that's the role you are given, that's the role you play," Weeks said. Notes:-- Drew has started 20 of 21 games at shortstop since joining the A's. He is 4 for 27 over his last eight games so a day off might benefit him."He's been pretty durable since he's been with us and that was a pretty bad injury he had," Melvin said. "This is only the second day off I've given him since being here, so therefor he is off." -- Brandon Moss has been getting the bulk of playing time lately at first base. He has run with the opportunity. Moss has six homers in his last 13 games and has hit safely in his last six. Melvin noted that two lefties (Joe Saunders and Zach Britton) are coming up in the two days and that Chris Carter would be starting against them.

A's hire Matt Williams as third base coach

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AP

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

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AP

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.