Athletics

New Cardinals OF Marcell Ozuna takes jab at A's during media event

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AP

New Cardinals OF Marcell Ozuna takes jab at A's during media event

While expressing his happiness to be with his new team, Cardinals outfielder Marcell Ozuna took a swipe at the A’s during a media function in St. Louis on Sunday.

Ozuna’s name, you’ll remember, swirled in trade rumors earlier this offseason that he might be dealt from the Miami Marlins to Oakland. Instead, the two-time All-Star was traded to St. Louis, making him one of several big-name players Miami has shipped off as it looks to slash payroll.

While attending the Cardinals’ Winter Warm-Up event to preview this season, Ozuna was asked what it was like being dealt to a team that’s more focused on winning right away as opposed to the rebuilding Marlins.

“I feel happy about that,” Ozuna responded. “First thing when I heard they were trying to trade me to the Oakland A’s, I say … (long pause) Well, I say ‘God, please leave me over here.’ Then I heard they trade me to the Cardinals, I say ‘OK, thanks.’”

Ouch.

Well, it’s not the first time such an insult has been hurled the A’s way, whether directly or indirectly. Last winter, it came out that Matt Holliday — who spent part of 2009 with Oakland — had a no-trade clause included in his contract with the Yankees that prohibited him from being traded only to the A’s.

Is it surprising to hear Ozuna volunteer his thoughts about the A’s in a public forum? Perhaps.

Is it a shock that he’d feel that way in the first place? Definitely not.

It’s no secret the A’s reputation is one of a team that’s always looking to trade its best veteran players rather than spend the money to sign them long term. It’s also common knowledge that they play in an outdated ballpark that’s considered the worst in the majors.

No question, those are the dominant thoughts of players on the other 29 teams when they think of the A’s. And there’s no quick fix to that. National perception is tough to alter.

“Why doesn’t ownership just start spending more money on payroll?” you might ask. “That’s the best way to change perception.”

No arguments there, but we know from the past that isn’t going to happen. Clearly, majority owner John Fisher isn’t going to spend more freely on payroll — especially with the A’s being cut off from MLB’s revenue sharing system — unless he sees the potential for other forms of revenue to stream in.

It all points back to the critical need for the A’s to identify a ballpark site and begin construction on a new home. That will send a message around the majors that a plan is in motion, that better days are ahead.

Until then, the A’s can expect to absorb the occasional jab like that delivered by Ozuna. On the bright side for Oakland fans, they might have just identified Public Enemy No. 2, a player who can slot in right behind Holliday as their favorite opponent to vilify.

A's outfielder Mark Canha: 'I'm not really sorry' about bat flip in Bay Bridge Series

A's outfielder Mark Canha: 'I'm not really sorry' about bat flip in Bay Bridge Series

Mark Canha is Bay Area born and bred. The San Jose native played college baseball at the University of California, Berkeley and has many fond memories going to games at AT&T Park. 

No memory is greater for Canha than what he did to the Giants on Saturday night. 

With the A's down 3-2 to the Giants in the top of the seventh inning in Game 2 of the Bay Bridge Series, Canha came off the bench and unloaded on a 93 mph fastball from Tony Watson to hit a two-run shot halfway up the left-field bleachers. The blast gave the A's a 4-3 lead and eventual win. 

What really grabbed headlines though was Canha's celebration. In more of a bat toss than flip, Canha flipped the script on the Giants and showed exactly how much this Bay Bridge Series means to him. 

And he has a message for those who think he somehow disrespected a game by having fun. 

"People getting offended by bat flips is so silly. I'm not sorry. I'm not really sorry. It's part of our game. Everybody does it," Canha said after the A's win. 

Will the Giants look for retribution and throw at Canha when he steps to the plate on Sunday? Canha couldn't care less. 

"If somebody's gonna throw at me -- I've been thrown at in the past, this season. I clearly didn't learn my lesson. So if you're offended by that, I don't care," Canha. 

The versatile outfielder is now batting .259 with 12 home runs and a .797 OPS this season. 

A's tie up Bay Bridge Series with win at AT&T Park

A's tie up Bay Bridge Series with win at AT&T Park

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Pinch-hitter Mark Canha hit a go-ahead home run in the seventh inning and the Oakland Athletics continued their late-game success, rallying to beat the San Francisco Giants 4-3 on Saturday night.

Stephen Piscotty and Marcus Semien had two hits apiece. Khris Davis added a sacrifice fly to help the A's improve to 20-6 since June 16, tied with Boston for the best record in the majors during that stretch.

Buster Posey, Steven Duggar and Chase d'Arnaud had two hits apiece for the Giants.

One night after being limited to three hits in a 7-1 loss, Oakland again struggled early until breaking out in the seventh.

Josh Phegley hit a leadoff single against Tony Watson (2-3). Canha followed with his 12th home run, a towering two-run blast, and emphatically flipped his bat and stared into the A's dugout before trotting around the bases.

It's Canha's first career pinch-hit home run and helped the A's avoid their first back-to-back losses since a season-high, four-game skid June 12-15.

Oakland has scored 173 runs in the seventh inning or later this season, tied with Houston for second-most in the majors.

Yusmeiro Petit (4-2) retired eight batters to win. All-Star closer Blake Treinen pitched the ninth for his 24th save.

The Giants led 3-2 after Gorkys Hernandez hit an RBI double and scored on pinch-hitter Austin Slater's single off Oakland starter Brett Anderson in the fourth.

Giants first baseman Brandon Belt was ejected after the bottom of the fourth inning and had to be physically restrained from going after third base umpire Greg Gibson. Belt was upset over being called out on a checked swing and argued with Gibson as he took the field between innings. Gibson immediately ejected Belt, who angrily slammed his glove to the ground and began walking toward the umpire before teammates intervened.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: All-Star 2B Jed Lowrie struck out looking as a pinch hitter in the ninth after being held out of the lineup with a bone bruise and calf bruise in his left leg following a scary collision with Piscotty in right field Friday. . Reliever Santiago Casilla was designated for assignment. . 2B Franklin Barreto was recalled from Triple-A Nashville. RHP Ryan Dull was optioned down. RHP Daniel Mengden was sent to Nashville to begin a rehab assignment.

UP NEXT

Oakland LHP Sean Manaea (8-6, 3.44 ERA) goes for his fourth consecutive win on Sunday. Manaea is holding opponents to a .217 average over his last seven starts. LHP Andrew Suarez (3-5 3.75), who has allowed two runs or fewer in his previous six starts, pitches for San Francisco.