Athletics

Fully healthy, Lowrie ready to man second base for A's

Fully healthy, Lowrie ready to man second base for A's

MESA, Ariz. — Doctors have done lots of repair work on Jed Lowrie since you last saw him in the A’s lineup, and he hopes that translates to a better season than what he endured a year ago.

Lowrie reported to camp on a rain-soaked Saturday in the desert, saying he enjoyed a productive winter coming off surgery to repair ligament damage and remove a bunion and cyst in his left foot. The switch-hitting second baseman was running by mid-November and says he essentially did the same offseason training he would normally do if not coming back from an injury.

“I haven’t talked to them about what they plan for me this spring, but I’ve done everything I can this offseason — running in spikes on the field, hitting on the field,” Lowrie said. “I just need to be in a team setting now, and I feel great.”

Just as beneficial might be another procedure he had in September to correct a deviated nasal septum, which affected his breathing while he slept and thus his quality of rest.

“If you look at it, how constricted my airway was, I’ve probably been sleep-deprived for nine years,” Lowrie said. “That’s not something that changes overnight, but that certainly made a big difference in my training and everything this offseason. I would sleep nine to 10 hours at night before and wake up still feeling tired. I was trying to figure out what was going on.”

Lowrie and wife Milessa recently welcomed their second child, Miles, and Lowrie joked that he’s gotten better sleep while caring for a four-month-old son than he did before his nasal surgery.

The 32-year-old was limited to 87 games last season, hitting .263 with two homers and just 27 RBI. After his season ended in early August, the A’s eventually promoted Joey Wendle from Triple-A Nashville, and he showed some nice flashes as the regular second baseman. Another rookie, Chad Pinder, also got some innings there. But manager Bob Melvin made it clear that Lowrie remains his starting second baseman if fully healthy.

With that in mind, Melvin said Lowrie will have a light playing schedule early in the Cactus League season, which begins next Saturday for Oakland.

“Veterans like him, I probably don’t bring along as quickly, especially with the amount of games (the A’s have), but as far as actually being out there physically, he’s ready to go.”

Melvin likes to say he can bat Lowrie anywhere in the order and the switch hitter adapts well. Should Lowrie bat second, where he spent most of last season when healthy, he’ll have a new leadoff man in front of him with Rajai Davis.

“He’s a great leadoff guy, a great speed player,” Lowrie said. “He’s been around this league a long time and knows how to do it.”

Lowrie, who will earn $6.5 million in the final season of a three-year contract he signed with Houston, got plenty of work in the batting cage over the winter. He also got through agility drills with no problem, and that could help him defensively.

“I look back at last year, how compromised I was and all the adjustments you make to try to play when you’re hurt,” he said. “I’ve gotten into a good routine to try to correct some of those bad habits that were created last year.”

MLB rumors: Matt Harvey agrees with Angels after drawing A's interest

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USATSI

MLB rumors: Matt Harvey agrees with Angels after drawing A's interest

Former New York Mets and Cincinnati Reds pitcher Matt Harvey has agreed to a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels, as reported by MLB.com's executive reporter Mark Feinsand:

Jon Heyman of Fancred reported the deal is worth $11 million, with $3 million incentives:

The 2013 All-Star pitcher was at one point getting interest from the A's during the offseason, who are still looking to fill our their starting rotation.

It would have made sense for the A's to take a shot at the right-hander, who would have stuck with the Oakland theme of "low risk, high reward" signings we have seen in the past. Now, the A's will see him plenty, but as a member of a rival AL West team.

Harvey finished his 2018 campaign with the Reds, boasting a 4.50 ERA with 111 strikeouts in 128 innings. He started to show signs of a past Harvey that Mets fans grew to love as innings went by with Cincinnati. 

How he will handle an American League schedule will remain to be seen. And how he handles pitching at Angel Stadium will be even more of a sight -- he has yet to pitch there in a game. 

A's expect recent trade acquisition Tanner Anderson to help rotation

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Athletics PR/Twitter

A's expect recent trade acquisition Tanner Anderson to help rotation

As the A's continue their search for starting pitching, they believe they might have found an under-the-radar option in a recent trade.

Oakland acquired 25-year-old right-hander Tanner Anderson from the Pittsburgh Pirates last month in exchange for 18-year-old righty Wilkin Ramos.

Anderson spent most of last season in Triple-A, where he went 3-2 with a 2.64 ERA and six saves in 39 relief appearances. In six major league games, he was 1-0 with a 6.35 ERA.

Until last year, however, Anderson was a starting pitcher. In 2017, he made 19 starts in Double-A, going 10-8 with a 3.38 ERA. The A's would like him to be a starter again.

"I told him to get ready as a starter," A’s general manager David Forst said. "I'd like to think he could do that. If not, he's a guy who can go two, three, four innings at a time. He said he sees himself as a guy who can turn the lineup over more than once, so that could prove to be valuable."

[RELATED: A's, Edwin Jackson not close on negotiations]

If nothing else, we know Anderson is smart. He graduated from Harvard in 2015, and was selected by Pittsburgh in the 20th round of the MLB draft.

Anderson is not a strikeout pitcher, but he does induce a high percentage of ground balls, with almost three times as many grounders as fly balls throughout his career. He features a low-to-mid-90s sinker as well as a mid-80s slider and does a great job limiting walks.

Even if Anderson doesn't earn a spot in Oakland's starting rotation, he could be a perfect candidate to pitch multiple innings in "opener" games. The A's love his versatility and, at the very least, he could provide a backup plan for the rotation in the case of injuries.