Athletics

Alonso's All-Star Game goal: Avoid trade chatter, gain knowledge from Votto

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Alonso's All-Star Game goal: Avoid trade chatter, gain knowledge from Votto

SEATTLE — Yonder Alonso plans to take full advantage of his All-Star Game experience, regardless of whether his name even appears in the box score.

It’s a homecoming for the Miami resident, who estimates he’ll have about 50 tickets lined up for every day of festivities at Marlins Park, beginning with Monday’s Home Run Derby.

There’s also another payoff for the A’s first baseman — the opportunity to soak up knowledge from the best baseball players on the planet during the one time of the year they all gather in the same place.

“My brain’s gonna be turned on completely,” Alonso said.

The eight-year veteran is an All-Star for the first time, and his storybook season continued Saturday night when he connected for his 20th homer in the A’s 4-3 win over the Mariners. He has more than doubled his previous career high of nine coming into this season.

On Sunday night, Alonso and his family will share a chartered plane with Mariners outfielder (and fellow All-Star) Nelson Cruz for the long flight from Seattle to Miami. Once there, Alonso has a list of players he wants to chat with.

One is Reds first baseman Joey Votto, who was busy putting together an N.L. MVP season in 2010 when Alonso made his major league debut that year with Cincinnati. The Reds would trade Alonso to the Padres before the 2012 season.

“I just understood the work ethic that he brought every single day, the focus he brought every day,” Alonso said of Votto. “I just wanna talk to him and see how he’s handling different things.”

Specifically, Alonso wants to compare notes with left-handed hitters like himself. He plans to link up with Toronto’s Justin Smoak and the Mariners’ Robinson Cano, a division opponent that Alonso doesn’t get to fraternize with much during the regular season.

“He’s one of my favorite hitters of all time,” Alonso said of Cano. “He has a knowledge for hitting, for approaches, and he’s a really smart player. he knows how to make adjustments.”

But the week will be about more than baseball for Alonso, whose compelling family story is well-documented. When he was a young boy, his family defected from Cuba and settled in the Miami area. His parents, Luis and Damarys, held down multiple jobs to support Yonder and his younger sister, and Alonso himself would work alongside his father even after he began playing baseball collegiately for the University of Miami.

Now Alonso looks forward to reuniting with family and friends, and relishes the chance to share the All-Star experience with his father.

One thing Alonso won’t spend the All-Star break pondering are the trade rumors that surround him. Considering his big numbers this year and the fact he’s due to become a free agent after this season, Alonso is a logical trade candidate as the last-place A’s will be sellers at the July 31 trade deadline. The Yankees are one team that’s been linked to Alonso.

“I really don’t even process it to be honest with you,” he said. “I’ve seen guys stress about it for two or three weeks, then nothing happens. And I’ve seen guys not really care about it and go about their business and play the game. That’s the approach that I wanna take. Obviously I’m aware of what’s happening. But I understand I have a job to do, and that’s play baseball every single day an the rest is out of my control.”

Former A's outfielder Josh Reddick clarifies 'meaningful' comments

Former A's outfielder Josh Reddick clarifies 'meaningful' comments

Former A's outfielder Josh Reddick hasn't exactly warmed himself to his old fans this weekend.

On Friday, the Houston Astros outfielder tweeted his displeasure with the umpires overturning a close play at the plate, allowing the A's to tie (and eventually) win the game to move one game back in the AL West. What he said Friday, however, raised even more eyebrows.

Reddick was asked by a reporter afterwards what it was like being part of such an intense, back-and-forth game, and gave a response that Oakland fans were none too pleased with.

"It was fun," Reddick said Friday. "Playing some meaningful baseball in this ballpark doesn't come around a whole lot. As a guy who's been in it before in the past, it's a lot of fun when the fans do come out here. They really make a lot of noise and make it loud here, so it's a lot of fun to be a part of."

He clarified Saturday that his Astros had not played many meaningful baseball games at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser, but the damage was done. The replies to the above tweet were a preview of what was to come, and Reddick drew boos from the crowd.

Reddick once again took to Twitter Saturday evening, hours after the A's moved into a tie for first place with the Astros in the AL West, and said his comments Friday were "taken out of context." 

"I never meant that 'meaningful' games were never played at Rickey Henderson Field," Reddick wrote. "I played for [five] years in a great organization where I played in a lot of memorable baseball games. [Three] of those years were playoff teams and VERY meaningful games ... I would NEVER bash Oakland or the fan base regardless of who I play for. That being said, I'm happy for all those guys in that clubhouse. It's good to see them winning and playing so well."

Reddick played 596 games in parts of five seasons in Oakland, by far his longest tenure with any big-league team. Since leaving Oakland in a 2016 trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Reddick is batting .326 with five doubles, two homers, and 14 RBI in 114 plate appearances against his old club. He won his first World Series last season with Houston. 

A's notes: Josh Phegley shines in rare start

A's notes: Josh Phegley shines in rare start

OAKLAND — Josh Phegley made just his 17th start of the season Saturday. Maybe he should play a little more. The A's improved to 15-2 in Phegley's starts this year.

The 30-year-old went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and a team-high three RBI. He also caught Trevor Cahill's seven-inning, one-hit gem. Jonathan Lucroy will obviously still be the A's everyday catcher, as he should be, but it's good to know that he can get a day off every once in awhile, and Phegley won't miss a beat.

--- Phegley, Khris Davis, Matt Olson, and Stephen Piscotty all recorded two doubles. The A's eight doubles tied the Oakland single-game record, last accomplished in 2013.

--- Matt Chapman was the only A's starter who failed to reach base. That snapped his career-high 30-game on base streak, as well as his career-high 14-game hitting streak. Chapman is still slashing .276/.362/.500 for the season.

--- Oakland improved to 40-13 in its last 53 games, the best record in MLB during that stretch. The A's also clinched another series victory, improving to 15-1-2 in their last 18 series.

--- The A's 74-49 record in their best after 123 games since 1992. It is tied for the fourth best record through 123 games in Oakland history.

--- Oakland remains the only team in MLB that is undefeated when leading after seven innings, improving to 51-0. The A's are 60-0 when leading after eight.

--- The A's have won 19 of their last 23 games at home and are 37-24 at the Coliseum for the season.

--- During the game, the A's announced that they sent 23-year-old RHP Nolan Blackwood to the Tigers as one of the two prospects in the Mike Fiers trade. Blackwood was 6-3 with a 4.08 ERA and nine saves at Double-A Midland this season. He was ranked as the A's 30th best prospect by MLB.com.