Athletics

Notes: Wendelken appears headed for Tommy John surgery

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Notes: Wendelken appears headed for Tommy John surgery

OAKLAND — A’s reliever J.B. Wendelken is facing a likely Tommy John surgery pending the results of a second medical opinion, manager Bob Melvin said.

Wendelken, 23, has spent four different stints in the A’s major league bullpen this season and has posted a 9.95 ERA in eight appearances, without a decision. He was acquired from the White Sox in December along with minor league lefty Zach Erwin for Brett Lawrie. Wendelken last pitched Thursday at Kansas City.

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Khris Davis, dealing with a stomach illness, is out of the lineup for a second consecutive game Wednesday afternoon. Davis went home Tuesday night after being scratched from that day’s game but was at the Coliseum and resting in the trainer’s room Wednesday morning. Asked if Davis would be available to pinch-hit, Melvin said: “As we sit here right now, maybe not.”

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Sonny Gray (forearm strain) will throw a simulated game against hitters Saturday, which will help set the course for whether he’s able to pitch in game before the A’s season ends Oct. 2.

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In other injury news, starter Henderson Alvarez underwent a second shoulder surgery with Dr. James Andrews on Tuesday. The A’s haven’t released a timetable for his recovery, and it isn’t even clear if Alvarez will be able to resume pitching. Alvarez had three separate setbacks this season when pitching in minor league rehab games while recovering from an original surgery in July 2015 with Andrews.

Tuesday’s surgery included a biceps tenodesis, where the biceps tendon is reattached to the humerus bone in the arm.

“They said it went well so we’re hoping the best for him,” Melvin said. “It’d be great for him to come back and pitch again. It’s just unfortunate that wasn’t able to pitch at all for us this year when he came so close a couple times.”

Alvarez, 26, signed a $4.25 million contract last winter. He remains under team control for next season via arbitration, but the A’s have to decide whether to tender him a contract.

A's get taste of playoff baseball with four-game fight with Twins

A's get taste of playoff baseball with four-game fight with Twins

As the calendar speeds toward August, the A's have their eyes set on playing more than one October baseball game this year.

With a roster that has minimal postseason baseball experience, any taste of playoff intensity can be beneficial for Bob Melvin's club, and Oakland got a little dose of it over the weekend in Minnesota.

The AL Central-leading Twins and A's dueled it out in a four-game slobber-knocker that concluded with Max Kepler's walk-off single Sunday afternoon, giving the Twins a 7-6 win and series split against the A's.

It was a series that had a serious playoff feel to it, with neither team refusing to give in.

On Saturday, the A's stunned the Twins on Khris Davis' two-out, two-run single in the top of the ninth, giving the A's a 5-4 win. The Twins returned the favor Sunday when Luis Arraez singled off All-Star closer Liam Hendriks and scored on a triple by Ehire Adrianza to tie the game at six. After Hendriks struck out Jason Castro for the second out, Kepler roped a single into left-center field and the party was on at Target Field.

The A's leave Minnesota at 57-43, one game ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays for the second AL wild-card spot. The Twins currently lead the Cleveland Indians by three games in the AL Central and appear primed to make a return to October baseball.

An October return to Target Field certainly isn't out of the question for the A's, and this series helped give the A's another sense of what awaits them in the playoffs should they continue on their current trajectory. 

[RELATED: Optimistic Beane hopes A's are active at trade deadline]

Last season, the A's walked into the AL Wild Card Game against the New York Yankees and looked overwhelmed by the stage en route a season-ending 7-2 loss at Yankee Stadium. After getting a taste of playoff baseball last year, the A's are hoping to make a deeper October run this season. 

They got another taste of playoff-like intensity over the weekend against a team they could see in October, and it can only benefit them as the dog days of summer turn into tense fall nights.

A's vs. Twins lineups: Daniel Mengden gets ball in series finale

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A's vs. Twins lineups: Daniel Mengden gets ball in series finale

The A's just keep on winning.

After dropping the series opener to the Twins on Thursday, the A's have responded with two straight wins in Minnesota, including a 5-4 win Saturday that was highlighted by a two-out, two-run single by Khris Davis in the ninth inning.

The A's now have won eight of their last nine games and will send right-hander Daniel Mengden to the mound for the series finale against the Twins on Sunday.  The Twins will counter with right-hander Michael Pineda.

Here are the full lineups for the A's-Twins game, which will be broadcast on NBC Sports California and the MyTeams app. Coverage begins at 10:30 a.m. PT, with first pitch at 11:10.

Oakland Athletics (57-42)
Marcus Semien, SS
Matt Chapman, 3B
Matt Olson, 1B
Mark Canha, RF
Ramon Laureano, CF
Khris Davis, DH
Robbie Grossman, LF
Jurickson Profar, 2B
Josh Phegley, C

Daniel Mengden, RHP (5-1, 4.21 ERA)

Minnesota Twins (59-38)
Max Kepler, CF
Jorge Polanco, SS
Nelson Cruz, DH
Eddie Rosario, LF
Miguel Sano, 3B
Marwin Gonzalez, RF
Luis Arraez, 2B
Ehire Adrianza, 1B
Jason Castro, CF

Michael Pineda, RHP (6-5, 4.38 ERA)