Ross deals; A's and Dodgers play to 3-3 tie


Ross deals; A's and Dodgers play to 3-3 tie

PHOENIX -- Even in the spring, Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Aaron Harang appreciates a quick out."I'd like to thank that guy for swinging at the first pitch," said Harang, who allowed two runs in the Dodgers' 3-3, nine-inning tie against the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday. "One pitch, fly ball to left, always makes things a lot easier."After getting two outs, Harang gave up a two-run double to Josh Reddick that scored Kurt Suzuki and Chris Carter. He then retired the final four batters he faced.

"If you look at my track record it's pretty much the same thing," said Harang, who signed a two-year, 12 million contract with Los Angeles after going 14-7 and posting a career-low 3.64 ERA last year for San Diego. "I'm not concerned about it."Harang has been limited slightly this spring, at least in non-pitching activities, with soreness in his right foot unrelated to the injury he had in the same foot a year ago."Physically I felt fine," Harang said. "Sometimes you get those days where you feel really sharp in the pen and then you get out there and everything's staying over the middle of the plate. But everything felt nice and easy."Right-hander Tyson Ross, yet another of Oakland's young, largely unproven arms, had few such issues during his three-inning stint.Ross, who was 3-3 with a 2.75 ERA in nine games and six starts for the A's last season, allowed just one hit and walked one while striking out two in his second start of the spring."It was good to see him respond, give us three innings and do some good things," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "His velocity looked to be better."
NEWS: Manny scratched from spring game with stiff back
NOTES: Oakland OF Yoenis Cespedes went 4 for 5 with a home run in a simulated game earlier Wednesday. Melvin said Cespedes could be in the A's lineup as early as this weekend. ... A's 1B Brandon Allen, who entered the game leading the majors with eight RBIs, went 0 for 3 with a strikeout. ... Dodgers non-roster OF Cory Sullivan had three of Los Angeles' four hits. ... Los Angeles scored two runs without a hit in the fourth on four walks and two RBI groundouts. ... The Dodgers were playing their first game away from their Camelback Ranch home. ... Oakland DH Manny Ramirez was scratched 20 minutes before the first pitch with stiffness in his back experienced while getting some extra at-bats in a simulated game. Ramirez, who is hitless in his first five at-bats and has hit only one ball out of the infield, also will take Thursday off before returning to the lineup on Friday. ... Carter took Ramirez's place and went 1 for 4. ... Dodgers 2B Dee Gordon was given the day off after starting the past two days.

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.