A's give Anderson the ball to face Twins


A's give Anderson the ball to face Twins

April 8, 2011

A's (2-4) vs.

Coverage begins at 1 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The biggest offseason addition for the Minnesota Twins was second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Unfortunately, the Japanese import won't be available in their first game at Target Field.

The injured Nishioka will miss the home opener Friday when the Twins and Oakland Athletics start a three-game series.

Nishioka broke his left fibula when Nick Swisher slid into him while breaking up a double play in a 4-3 loss to the Yankees on Thursday.

NEWS: MLB headlines

The Twins (2-4) said they believed the play was clean, and Swisher sought out Nishioka in the X-ray room after the game to apologize. Nishioka was placed on the 15-day disabled list, and he will be examined Friday.

"It was a good play, breaking up the double play," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Not even an issue."

Matt Tolbert replaced Nishioka, who had five hits in 24 at-bats during the six-game, season-opening trip.

The Twins saw their home run production drop by 30 in 2010 after the opening of Target Field. They might be able to go deep more often now that 14 black spruce trees have been removed from the batter's eye area.

NEWS: Spotlight on the Minnesota Twins

Last season, players complained the trees affected sight lines as they swayed in the wind and interfered with the batter's ability to lock in on pitches. Still, Minnesota went an AL-best 53-28 at home.

"I honestly hope it plays about the same because we won games, and I kind of like winning games at home," Gardenhire told the Twins' official website.

The fans almost surely will give Justin Morneau a huge welcome in his first home game since July 4. Morneau hit four of his 18 homers last year at Target Field before suffering a concussion July 7 at Toronto that sidelined him for the rest of the season.

Power was also a concern for Oakland (2-4) after managing 109 homers for the second-worst total in the AL in 2010. The Twins and A's are among a group of teams tied for the lowest mark this season with two.

Joe Mauer will be behind the plate Friday for Minnesota, although Gardenhire usually prefers that backup Drew Butera catch Carl Pavano (0-1, 15.75 ERA). The Twins' opening day starter was scheduled to start Thursday in New York, but was pushed back after a rainout Wednesday.

"Last year, it so happened I had great success with Drew," Pavano said. "I've also had a lot of success with Joe, so we'll see where it falls this year."

Pavano took advantage of Target Field to go 6-1 with a 3.34 ERA in his last nine home starts in 2010. He is trying to recover after giving up eight runs over four-plus innings in last Friday's 13-3 loss at Toronto.

The right-hander is 2-0 with a 3.15 ERA in three career starts against the Athletics. Oakland newcomer David DeJesus is 11 for 26 against him.

It's unclear if second baseman Mark Ellis will be in the lineup after he didn't start Thursday's 2-1 win at Toronto because of an inner-ear problem and dizziness. Ellis entered the game in the eighth inning and singled in the ninth, but the A's are not sure if he will be on the team flight to Minnesota.

REWIND: A's salvage a game in Toronto, 2-1

The A's went 2-4 at Target Field last season.

Brett Anderson (0-0, 1.50) had one of the victories, and is 2-1 with a 3.72 ERA in three starts against the Twins. The left-hander gave up one run over six innings Saturday in a 5-2 home loss to Seattle.

Cowboys expose 49ers' biggest weakness in bashing: Talent


Cowboys expose 49ers' biggest weakness in bashing: Talent

If there is such a thing as being “due” in sports (and there actually isn’t, so you can probably stop reading now), the San Francisco 49ers had Sunday coming to them.
After all, the anomaly of being the “best winless team in football” based on margin of defeat lasts only so long until the “winless” part trumps the “best” part, because even the Los Angeles Chargers – the previous “best bad team in football” – aren’t the Chargers all the time.
So it was that the Dallas Cowboys exposed every weakness the 49ers have with the simplest thing there is.
The Cowboys did everything they wanted, but only whenever they wanted it, in a 40-10 dope-slapping that could actually have been worse than it was. The 49er offense was properly stymied (again), gaining only 290 yards (4.5 yards per play) and the defense was thoroughly Elliotted (as in Ezekiel-ed, who averaged 8.1 yards in his 27 touches). San Francisco’s warts were rubbed until they glowed, and if not for the fact that head coach Kyle Shanahan already knew where they were, he’d have been shocked to see how visible they were.
And therein lies the takeaway from another day at Not-So-Great-America. It turns out that the 49ers weren’t very good at much of anything before Sunday except just how far away they are from what Shanahan and general manager John Lynch believe is their destiny. C.J.  Beathard remained the rookie quarterback he is, and Carlos Hyde's hard-won 68 rushing yards led to no scores. Indeed, San Francisco's only touchdown came on a four-yard improv sprint from Beathard, who is by no means a running quarterback except in abject flight.

Next week in Philadelphia figures to be no less grisly, if you’re waiting for that magic moment when “0” becomes “1.” That is, of course, unless Washington exposes the Eagles as less than what they seem, which is very often the case in the new parity-gripped NFL.

But there are subsequent get-well games at home against Arizona and then at New York against the Giants the week after, so whatever dreams you might have about them running the table backwards and getting the first overall pick in the draft are still light years from realization.
This is, however, another healthy reminder that the job to be done is at least two more years in the undoing before the doing can actually begin. Not that the players or coaches needed another lesson, mind you – they know.
But maybe you needed it, just to keep your delusions in check. Maybe the people who were “due” were all of you.
But that’s unfair, too. You didn’t undo this franchise. All you did was believe, and there’s nothing wrong with that – as long you know there will be more days like this before your team starts handing out the 40-10’s.
In the meantime, there is beer.

Three things you need to know from 49ers' 40-10 loss vs Cowboys


Three things you need to know from 49ers' 40-10 loss vs Cowboys

SANTA CLARA -- Three things you need to know about the 49ers’ 40-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 7 on Sunday:

1. A major step backward
So much for the 49ers’ somewhat-impressive streak of close losses.

There was nothing encouraging about what transpired in the 49ers' worst loss at Levi’s Stadium. It was also the franchise's worst home loss since Mike Singletary's team absorbed a 45-10 thumping against the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 11, 2009.

Was there anything positive to take from this game?

“No, not right now,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “It was disappointing. I think all three phases, players and coaches, we’ve got to play better than that, a lot better to give ourselves a chance to win.”

The competitive nature of the 49ers’ past five games was one thing. But with a big home loss on such an emotional day, it is fair to say that the honeymoon is over for Shanahan and general manager John Lynch. The 49ers looked like a team devoid of any leadership, and brings more scrutiny onto the organization’s decision last week to release linebacker NaVorro Bowman.

Now, the 49ers face a crossroads. With another cross-country trip ahead, the 49ers have to regroup in a hurry in order to avoid another embarrassing blowout against the Philadelphia Eagles.

2. Beathard’s first start
Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard certainly was not the reason the 49ers got blown out. In his first NFL start, he showed a lot of toughness, which was to be expected. He was sacked five times. But most of those sacks could have been avoided. He has to get rid of the ball quicker, especially on three-step drops.

Beathard also showed some promise, too. He let the ball fly deep for Marquise Goodwin, who caught four passes for 80 yards. Beathard completed 22 of 38 passes for 235 yards.

Beathard accounted for the 49ers’ only touchdown with a 4-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. There seems to be little doubt it was in the best interest of the organization to begin evaluating what it has for the future with the permanent switch from Brian Hoyer to Beathard.

3. Dwight Clark’s Day
The 49ers, of course, did nothing to evoke any memories of the great teams on which Dwight Clark played. Well, they did look a lot like Clark’s first team with the 49ers.

The 49ers of 1979 lost their first seven games of the season. This year’s team matched that start for the worst beginning to a season in franchise history.

More than 35 of Clark’s teammates off the 1981 Super Bowl team were in attendance to honor a pay tribute to Clark, who is battling ALS. Now in a wheelchair and considerably lighter, Clark delivered some poignant remarks at halftime.

Clark, 60, told his old teammate, Keena Turner, who works as vice president of football affairs, that all he wanted was to see some of his old teammates.

“And the 49ers heard that and flew all these players in, so I could see them one more time,” Clark said.