Athletics

A's lineup: Davis leading off, Healy hitting third in 2017 opener

A's lineup: Davis leading off, Healy hitting third in 2017 opener

Programming note: Angels-A’s coverage starts tonight at 5:30 p.m. with A’s Pregame Live on NBC Sports California and streaming on the NBC Sports App (Channel locations)

As the A's open the 2017 season, Rajai Davis is at the top of the lineup in his return to the green and gold, while Ryon Healy will hit third after a breakout 2016 campaign.

With Sonny Gray out due to injury, Kendall Graveman will make his first career Opening Night start.

Los Angeles Angels:
1. Yunel Escobar (R) 3B
2. Kole Calhoun (L) RF
3. Mike Trout (R) CF
4. Albert Pujols (R) DH
5. C.J. Cron (R) 1B
6. Cameron Maybin (R) LF
7. Andrelton Simmons (R) SS
8. Danny Espinosa (S) 2B
9. Martin Maldonado (R) C
RHP -- Ricky Nolasco

Oakland A's:
1. Rajai Davis (R) CF
2. Matt Joyce (L) RF
3. Ryon Healy (R) DH
4. Khris Davis (R) LF
5. Stephen Vogt (L) C
6. Jed Lowrie (S) 2B
7. Trevor Plouffe (R) 3B
8. Yonder Alonso (L) 1B
9. Marcus Semien (R) SS
RHP -- Kendall Graveman

 

A's free agent signing anniversary: Starting pitcher Rich Hill

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AP

A's free agent signing anniversary: Starting pitcher Rich Hill

Three years ago today, the A's signed free agent left-hander Rich Hill to a one-year, $6 million deal.

Hill was 35 at the time and hadn't pitched more than 100 innings since 2007, due in large part to injuries. But the veteran pitched brilliantly for the A's in 2016, going 9-3 with a 2.25 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 14 starts.

The A's fell out of contention that year and traded Hill to the Dodgers, along with outfielder Josh Reddick, in exchange for Jharel Cotton, Frankie Montas, and Grant Holmes. Hill finished the 2016 season with a 12-5 record and 2.12 ERA.

Not even Billy Beane could have expected the Hill signing to work out as well as it did. The veteran southpaw found a fountain of youth, finally managing to stay healthy for an entire season. Hill has continued his success in Los Angeles the last two seasons, and even now at the age of 38 is a valuable starter in the Dodgers' rotation.

[RELATED: Rich Hill feel-good story]

Even if the Hill signing hadn't worked out for the A's, it was a low-risk, high-reward move. For just one year and $6 million, it was worth taking a chance, knowing they could always move him at the trade deadline, which they ended up doing anyway.

The A's will again look to add starting pitching this offseason and hope to find another under-the-radar starter like Hill. A one-year contract will be preferred, but even a two-year deal could make sense if the price is right.

Another takeaway from the Hill signing is that sometimes age is just a number. Look at the success Edwin Jackson had in Oakland as a 35-year-old. Since the A's already have a surplus of young pitching talent nearing the Major League level, they really just need a couple of veterans to bring stability to the rotation for the next season or two.

We'll see if Beane and David Forst can work their magic again.

MLB Hot Stove: James Paxton acquired by Yankees for three prospects

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AP

MLB Hot Stove: James Paxton acquired by Yankees for three prospects

The Hot Stove is lighting up.

The Yankees have acquired starting pitcher James Paxton from the Mariners for three prospects: Yankees No. 1 pitching prospect Justus Sheffield, outfielder Don-Thompson Williams and right-handed pitcher and Erik Swanson.

He will join a rotation that includes Luis Severino, CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka. Not bad.

And what does that mean for Bay Area teams? Well -- the A's get a slight confidence boost knowing Seattle has one less threat in the American League West. Which is good considering the lefty was throwing his career-best 11.68 K/9 rating in 2018 . His ERA spiked slightly, but he had an insane amount of power he was throwing to last season. But that didn't stop him from tossing a no-hitter on May 8, becoming the first Canadian pitcher to do so.

Oh, and an eagle landed on him, too:

Pretty sure no other pitcher can say that.