Athletics

Beane: A's won't add pitching to cover for Gray's injury

Beane: A's won't add pitching to cover for Gray's injury

MESA, Ariz. — As tough as it was for the A’s to lose Sonny Gray for the start of the season, the team has no plans right now to seek rotation help from outside the organization.

Billy Beane made that clear Friday afternoon, as Oakland’s top baseball official said he was confident in the internal depth to cover for Gray, who’s expected to miss the first month of the season with a strained lat muscle.

“We’re not currently looking that way,” Beane said during an informal media lunch. “I don’t think it’s necessarily a fertile market to be diving into right now anyway this time of year. I think we prefer to stay in-house and give maybe somebody an opportunity.

“Hopefully it’s temporary and short term.”

Kendall Graveman, Sean Manaea and Jharel Cotton will be the front three starters in Gray’s absence, with Jesse Hahn, Andrew Triggs and Raul Alcantara the top candidates for the last two spots, and young pitchers such as Daniel Gossett and Paul Blackburn providing insurance. Daniel Mengden, another young starter, broke his foot shortly before camp and is still in a walking boot.

Among other topics Beane touched on:

—He’s been as impressed as anyone with his top prospect, middle infielder Franklin Barreto, who’s having a terrific camp. But Beane reiterated that the A’s want Barreto to get a bit more minor league seasoning.

“He’s had a great camp, and you can see he’s a pretty talented guy,” Beane said. “But he only played a month at Triple-A last year. He probably needs some more drills at second base. he seems to be pretty comfortable over there right now. With Marcus at short, it’s probably his quickest path to the big leagues. … Once we get into the season, assuming he continues to improve and play the way he does, he’ll be putting pressure on us.”

Beane also noted that coaches rave about Barreto’s work ethic.

—Beane says he envisions Ryon Healy being a regular in the daily lineup, regardless of whether it’s at first base, DH or third base, referencing the “energy” that Healy brings to the club.

—The fact that Alcantara is out of minor league options will definitely be a consideration in choosing the final pitchers for the 25-man roster, but that factor won’t outweigh performance if someone is clearly pitching better, Beane said.

Alcantara took the ball for Friday’s start against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

A's vs. Orioles lineups: Brett Anderson tries to clinch series win

andersonap.jpg
AP

A's vs. Orioles lineups: Brett Anderson tries to clinch series win

The A's will look to do something they haven't been able to all month when they host the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night. 

Oakland has had three opportunities to move two games above .500 in June, but has lost each time. Brett Anderson has a chance to help the A's turn things around, and is coming off one of his best starts of the season. The 31-year-old threw 6 1/3 innings and struck out four in Oakland's 6-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays his last time out, picking up a no decision. 

Gabriel Ynoa starts for the Orioles. He's still looking for his first win of the season, and will make just the 12th start of his MLB career. Ynoa has never pitched against the A's, but has limited opponents to a .258 batting average away from Camden Yards this season.

Here are the full lineups for the A's-Orioles game, which will be broadcast on NBC Sports California and the MyTeams app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. PT, with first pitch at 7:07.

Oakland A's (37-36)
Marcus Semien, SS
Matt Chapman, 3B
Matt Olson, 1B
Khris Davis, DH
Ramón Laureano, CF
Robbie Grossman, LF
Stephen Piscotty, RF
Jurickson Profar, 2B
Beau Taylor, C

Brett Anderson, LHP (6-4, 3.89 ERA)

[RELATED: How Semien is thriving in leadoff spot for A's]

Baltimore Orioles (21-51)
Hanser Alberto, DH
Trey Mancini, RF
Pedro Severino, C
Renato Nunez, 1B
Anthony Santander, LF
Jonathan Villar, 2B
Keon Broxton, CF
Rio Ruiz, 3B
Richie Martin, SS

Gabriel Ynoa, RHP (0-3, 5.02 ERA)

How Marcus Semien has thrived as A's everyday leadoff hitter this year

How Marcus Semien has thrived as A's everyday leadoff hitter this year

OAKLAND -- A's manager Bob Melvin could probably talk about Marcus Semien forever and still not run out of superlatives.

Oakland's shortstop is one of the hardest workers in all of baseball, as evidenced by his massive improvement defensively over the past few years. This season, Semien has taken his offensive production to another level as well.

The 28-year-old is slashing .280/.365/.443 with 10 home runs, 36 RBI, and 48 runs scored. He's on pace to set career-highs in nearly every major offensive category, including hits, walks, runs, and RBI.

"He's just become a complete player," Melvin praised. "Offensively, defensively, he's got leadership qualities, he's out there every day. There are a lot of things to like about Marcus Semien. He continues to get better and I don't see that slowing down either. He's very aware of what he needs to work on and what it takes to get better.

"Nobody works harder."

It probably seems crazy now, but Oakland actually entered the season without a set leadoff hitter. That changed in a hurry, as Semien grabbed the role and didn't let go.

"I just want to get on base," he said. "That's what I've been trying to do more of this year and just stay in the strike zone. ... I've been walking more too. I'm just trying to get on base for the middle of the order."

Semien has certainly done that. He is currently riding a career-high 14-game hitting streak, batting .390 with three home runs, four doubles, and 11 RBI during that stretch.

"Better direction, better timing with the fastball and then being able to take the pitches out of the zone, those offspeed pitches," Semien explained. "You get in better counts, and when you're catching up to the fastball and hitting in good counts, good things will happen."

Semien's .365 on-base percentage ranks fifth among major league shortstops. Prior to this season, he had never posted an on-base percentage higher than .325.

"I used to lead him off against lefties and not righties," Melvin said. "Now we're comfortable leading him off (against either). ... He sets the table for a lot of guys. You see the RBI through the lineup. A lot of it has to do with him being on base quite a bit."

[RELATED: First-round pick Davidson reminds A's of Dodgers' star]

Semien has also reduced his strikeout rate from a year ago, punching out just 47 times in 296 at-bats (15.9 percent). Last season, he struck out 131 times in 632 at-bats (20.7 percent).

"I can't say enough about what he means to this team," Melvin said. "He hits the ball the other way. If you shift on him, he'll shoot the ball in the hole. He's just very aware of what's going on out there and he shows up on both ends."