Bob Melvin expects Kyler Murray to report to A's spring training


Bob Melvin expects Kyler Murray to report to A's spring training

Kyler Murray declared for the 2019 NFL Draft, but the A's still expect him to be at spring training next month.

"As we're sitting here right now, we expect him to be in spring training," A's manager Bob Melvin told The Associated Press on Friday. "At this point in time, we haven't heard anything different, and I'm expecting him to be in spring training. If something changes in the meantime, then we deal with it."

Murray is one of 18 non-roster invitees to A's spring training, and position players are scheduled to report to Arizona on Feb. 15. However, the NFL Scouting Combine begins Feb. 26 in Indianapolis, creating a potential conflict for the two-sport star.

"We're hoping he's (at spring training)," A's general manager David Forst Told the AP. "He's an incredible young man and would be a great asset for the A's. We made it clear to Kyler how much we'd like to have him here and how great a baseball player we think he could be."

The A's selected Murray with the ninth overall pick of the 2018 MLB Draft and subsequently signed him to a $4.66 million signing bonus. The deal allowed him to play one more season of college football at Oklahoma, but no one expected the level of success he achieved there.

The dual-threat quarterback led the Sooners to the College Football Playoff and won the Heisman Trophy. Not surprisingly, his NFL draft stock since has exploded.

[RELATED: Kiper Jr. has Murray as No. 13 overall pick in mock draft]

Murray officially declared for the NFL draft on Jan. 14, but he still has the option to play baseball. If he instead elects to play professional football, he would have to repay all of his signing bonus to the A's. However, Oakland wouldn't get a compensation pick, though it still would retain Murray's baseball rights.

Murray is projected to be a first-round pick by almost every NFL mock draft, and he could go in the top 15. If that were the case, he would receive significantly more guaranteed money from an NFL team than the A's could offer.

For now, all A's fans can do is wait and see.

Khris Davis is feeling like himself again as he and A's pick up steam

Khris Davis is feeling like himself again as he and A's pick up steam

OAKLAND -- Khris Davis is finally starting to look like Khris Davis again.

The A's slugger struggled a bit in the immediate aftermath of his IL stint for a left hip/oblique contusion, batting just .182 (6-for-33) with no home runs and two RBI in his first eight games back. In the 10 games since, he's hit .268 (11-for-41) with four homers and 10 RBI.

"I feel like I've got a little bit of rhythm going," Davis told NBC Sports California. "There's always room for improvement, so I'm just going to keep working and hopefully it shows up."

Davis suffered the injury back on May 5 when he collided with the side wall in left field while making a catch in Pittsburgh. He tried to avoid going on the injured list, playing through the pain for a couple of weeks, but his swing clearly wasn't the same.

Now that the pain is gone, the swing is back.

"I feel normal," he said. "I feel like I can swing hard without any pain. That was a big part. I could swing before, but it was kind of painful. Now it's kind of just gone."

Perhaps most encouraging is the direction of Davis' hits the last few games. In true KD fashion, he blasted opposite-field home runs on Sunday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, he ripped an RBI single to right-center, another great sign that he's feeling like himself.

[RELATED: A's focused on sustaining momentum after sweeping Orioles]

Despite hitting just two home runs between April 13 and June 8, Davis is tied for the team-lead with 16 on the season. That puts him on pace for 35, meaning a fourth consecutive 40-homer season is not out of the question.

A's need to maintain momentum following three-game sweep of Orioles

A's need to maintain momentum following three-game sweep of Orioles

OAKLAND -- After losing two of three to the last-place Mariners, the A's desperately needed to get back on track. Lucky for them, the Baltimore Orioles were coming to town.

Oakland finished off a three-game sweep of the league-worst Orioles with an 8-3 win Wednesday afternoon. For the series, the A's outscored the O's 27-7.

The question now is whether Oakland can build off this momentum and go on an extended run.

"We'd like to be able to sustain it," said manager Bob Melvin. "We had the one 10-game winning streak where everything was hitting on all cylinders and we were playing really well, and then we couldn't follow it up. We lost five in a row after that. So we have to sustain it."

To this point, it has been a roller coaster of a season for the Green and Gold. Every time the A's seem poised to push well past the .500 mark, they have stumbled.

"We're a team of runs so far this year, which is kind of weird," said Wednesday's starting pitcher Chris Bassitt. "I feel like we lose a couple and then win a whole bunch. We've just got to maintain this and maintain consistent work every single day -- don't really go to the extremes of pressing. We're a great team."

The A's have failed to climb more than four games over .500 all season, achieving that mark on May 27 with a record of 29-25. Now at 39-36, they'll have a chance to push past that hurdle with the Tampa Bay Rays visiting the Coliseum for a four-game weekend series.

"Just keep playing our game," said catcher Josh Phegley. "I think we put pressure on ourselves to do well sometimes and I felt like we just were comfortable this series and kind of trusted that our offense was going to be there. Our pitchers kept us in the game. They gave us some good starts. I feel like that's just kind of a confidence-builder."

Designated hitter Khris Davis agreed with Phegley's assessment.

"Absolutely. It gives us momentum and we want to hold onto that."

[RELATED: Chapman remains open to talk about long-term A's deal]

Of course, last season the A's went on a remarkable run right around this time, finishing the season 63-29 after starting 34-36. While that type of stretch will be difficult to repeat, the team knows it has that capability.

"We've been on some runs before with this group of guys, so I know they're looking forward to getting as many games over .500 as we can," Melvin said. "We have a really tough team coming in, and we've got them for four, so we're going to have to play well."