Athletics

Pratt's Instant Replay: Athletics 4, Twins 1

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Pratt's Instant Replay: Athletics 4, Twins 1

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- Brett Anderson hadn't stepped on a big league mound since June 5, 2011. He certainly didn't appear to be rusty. Anderson, 24, dominated the Minnesota Twins with seven innings of one-run ball and the A's won 4-1.On a day in which the team introduced Stephen Drew and demoted the previously-deemed "untouchable" Jemile Weeks, Anderson reminded everyone that his return to the mound was the real story with a spectacular performance on the mound.Starting Pitching ReportIt turns out the A's are pretty good at evaluating pitching. They were dead-on when assessing that Anderson was ready for his return. Anderson faced one over the minimum for seven innings. He allowed just four hits, didn't walk a batter, and struck out six.Anderson retired nine batters in a row at once point and induced 13 groundouts and no flyouts. This wasn't just Anderson's first start in 14 months, this was one of the best pitching performances of his career.The only run that he allowed scored when Norris couldn't handle one of Anderson's sliders. It was ruled a wild pitch.Anderson's fastball topped out at 93 mph, and he effectively worked in his slider and curveball. Two of the hits he allowed came against his change-up, the other two were against his slider.Bullpen ReportSean Doolittle pitched a perfect eighth inning. He struck out two batters.Grant Balfour entered in the ninth inning with a 4-1 lead. He notched his 12 save of the season and hasn't allowed a run in 18 of his last 19 outings. Balfour has converted all five of his save opportunities since taking over the team's closer role.In the FieldYou never know what you are going to see at the ballpark on any given day. As they say around these parts, it's hard not to be romantic about baseball. The 13,116 fans in attendance on Tuesday witnessed something special when the A's turned a triple play in the fifth inning.RELATED: A's turn 5-4-3 triple play
Anderson had retired nine batters in a row when he gave up back-to-back singles to start the fifth. With Trevor Plouffe batting, Anderson threw a 77-mph, first-pitch curveball that was hit on the ground to Josh Donaldson, who started the 5-4-3 triple play.
It was the 21st triple play in A's franchise history, the eighth in Oakland history. The A's last triple play was an unassisted triple play handled by Randy Velarde on May 29, 2000 at New York.According to our CSN A's statistician David Feldman, the last time the A's turned a triple play at the Coliseum: July 18, 1983 vs Tigers (Peters to Phillips to Almon to Gross)At the PlateSeth Smith returned from the disabled list after missing 16 games with a strained left hamstring. He drew a walk in his first plate appearance and immediately put his hammy to the test. Josh Donaldson cracked a double to the wall in left field forcing Smith to score all the way from first. Donaldson's double tied the game at one.Smith would later add two singles. He finished the night 2-for-2 with two walks -- one intentional -- and two runs scored.Norris drove Smith home for the go-ahead RBI single in the sixth inning. The A's added two more runs in the seventh inning when Crisp led off with a double down the right field line, and Josh Reddick hit a bloop single to left that barely stayed fair. Chris Carter then drove home Reddick with a double.AttendanceThe A's announced an attendance of 13,116.Dot RaceFor the first time ever the A's Dot Race featured dots that are green, white, and gold. A long-standing A's tradition at the Oakland Coliseum, the dots used to be red, white, or blue. In this brave new era of Dot Racing, gold won.Up NextThe A's will send Tommy Milone (9-9, 4.03 ERA) to the mound. It will be Milone's 24th start of the season. The rookie lefty is 0-3 with a 7.50 ERA in his last four starts. Milone pitched on extra rest in his last outing and looked much better. He made one mistake in his previous start, allowing a grand slam to Shelley Duncan. Strangely, the A's are 2-0 in games that Milone allows a grand slam. He's walked one batter or fewer in each of his last 10 starts.The Twins will counter with Liam Hendriks (0-5, 7.04 ERA). As of Monday, this spot in Minnesota's rotation was listed as "TBD." He has never won a game in the major leagues.

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

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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

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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.