Athletics

A's prospect Kyler Murray declares intent to 'fully commit' to NFL career

A's prospect Kyler Murray declares intent to 'fully commit' to NFL career

Kyler Murray might not be an A's prospect for much longer.

Oakland's first-round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft announced Monday on Twitter that he is "fully committing" to pursuing an NFL career. 

"Football has been my love and passion my entire life," the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback wrote. "I was raised to play QB, and I very much look forward to dedicating [100 percent] of myself to being the best QB possible and winning NFL championships."

Murray reportedly will return most of the signing bonus he received from the A's last year, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan. 

The A's picked Murray ninth overall in last June's MLB draft. He played two seasons for the Oklahoma Sooners as an outfielder and impressed the A's with his athleticism and raw potential.

But the A's allowed Murray to return to Norman in the fall to play football for his junior season, his first as Oklahoma's starting QB. At the time, Oakland's front office fully expected Murray to join the team in time for spring training.

"We're going to get (his) best years," Beane said. "He'll have fun this fall, but he's going to have a really long and very productive baseball career, and we're looking forward to seeing it."

Then, Murray won the Heisman Trophy.

He led the Sooners to the College Football Playoff, throwing for 4,361 yards and rushing for another 1,001. Murray scored a combined 54 touchdowns, tied for the ninth-most in NCAA Division I history.

The A's remained optimistic as the offseason wore on, and manager Bob Melvin expected him to be at spring training. They reportedly met with Murray in an effort to ensure he chose baseball, but the 21-year-old announced last week he would attend this month's NFL Scouting Combine.

Murray's decision means the A's lose a potential marketable star, but losing the former first-round pick doesn't necessarily spell disaster for the organization. First-rounders are not locks for the major leagues, even if they were selected in the top 10. Plus, Oakland has enough depth in the outfield to withstand Murray's departure.

Should Murray be picked in the first round of the NFL draft as expected, he will be the first player taken in the top round of the MLB and NFL drafts.

Murray will make history, but barring a change of heart now or down the line, that piece of trivia will be the only lasting memory of his time with the A's.

Homer Bailey impresses new teammates, bests Mariners in A's debut

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Homer Bailey impresses new teammates, bests Mariners in A's debut

OAKLAND -- Homer Bailey hadn't taken the mound for 13 days when he was asked to make his A's debut Wednesday afternoon at the Coliseum. No problem.

The veteran right-hander shook off some early rust before turning in a strong outing, leading Oakland to a 10-2 win over the Seattle Mariners.

"I was kind of a little rusty early and then I was able to kind of find that tempo where I wanted to be," Bailey explained Wednesday. "The way that this team fights for nine innings is outstanding, so it definitely gives you energy, and you know if you can keep it close, they're going to score runs and play great defense for nine."

Bailey allowed two runs on four hits in the second inning, but after that, he completely shut the Mariners down. The 33-year-old ended up going six innings, allowing just the two runs on seven hits, with six strikeouts and no walks.

"I thought he did really well," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "For a guy who hadn't pitched in basically two weeks, to go out there -- I wouldn't say he was rusty -- they got some hits off him early in the game, but then (he) shut it down when (he) needed to. Sometimes there are nerves with a new team and some expectations. ... I thought it was a really good start for him."

The A's acquired Bailey from the Kansas City Royals on Sunday, hoping he would bolster their starting rotation, which has been decimated by injuries and Frankie Montas' PED suspension. So far, so good.

"They're so welcoming," Bailey said of his new teammates. "Just from top to bottom, it's been a good experience so far."

Last season was a rough one for Bailey, who finished with a 1-14 record and a 6.09 ERA in Cincinnati. This year didn't start much better, as his first 12 starts with the Royals resulted in a 6.05 ERA.

But it appears that something has clicked since then. In his last seven starts, Bailey is 4-0 with a 2.85 ERA.

"It's a combination of things," Bailey said of the turnaround. "It's a team effort, it's good defense, it's a catcher being invested in what you're doing, it's communication between yourself and a pitching coach. It's a lot of things."

Bailey threw 54 of his 87 pitches for strikes, using a variety of pitches along the way. His variety impressed his new manager. 

"He's got a really good split," Melvin said. "I didn't realize how good it was. And then as the game went along, he started using his slider and curveball a little bit more. He does have a true four-pitch mix."

[RELATED: Chapman's ankle 'didn't feel right,' forces him to exit Wednesday's game]

For the season, Bailey is now 8-6 with a 4.69 ERA. If he can perform anywhere near as well as he did on Wednesday, the A's should be in good shape. It certainly helps when the offense provides 10 runs on six homers.

"That's obviously a comfort, the fact that they can score so many runs," Bailey said. "But I feel like what makes winning teams and what probably helps these guys is not just their offensive production, but they play both sides of the baseball. ... To see the way that they play both sides of the ball and the energy that they bring for the entire game is really spectacular."

Bucks' Robin Lopez wonders if A's free haircut voucher was a message

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Bucks' Robin Lopez wonders if A's free haircut voucher was a message

Robin Lopez loves his Seattle Mariners. When talking about the team, he often refers to them as an entire unit, saying "we."

The Milwaukee Bucks' center attended the A's game to watch his beloved Mariners play at RingCentral Coliseum on Wednesday. He won a voucher for 50 percent off of a hair cut, and he was trying not to take it too personally:

Lopez went to high school in Fresno, so he appeared to be happy to make the trip to see his favorite team. Unfortunately, he witnessed a rocking by the A's, who defeated Seattle 10-2 on Wednesday. But he got to hang out with Stomper, so it wasn't a complete loss.

[RELATED: Bailey gets 'energy boost' by joining A's]

The rough road trip for the Mariners hopefully will not lead to a new hair cut for Lopez -- that Sideshow Bob look has always suited him.