Athletics

A's reliever Liam Hendriks stands up against cyberbullying on social media

A's reliever Liam Hendriks stands up against cyberbullying on social media

OAKLAND -- A few weeks ago, after a rare poor outing, A's reliever Liam Hendriks did something he hardly ever does. He went on social media and checked his mentions.
 
As he expected, the comments weren't pretty -- everything from generic insults and taunts to wishes for injury, ill will toward his family, and even death threats. Hendriks chose to share a couple of these messages on his Instagram story in order to make a point.
 
"I stayed off social media for years," he said. "This is the first year I've had social media. That was by choice and for a reason because of the cyberbullying that goes on. It's something that affects everybody, not just kids at school."
 
That's something Hendriks wants to make clear, especially for the many children who are victims of bullying.
 
"I want them to know that they're not alone, that this doesn't just happen to them," he explained. "No matter who you are, you're going to get those people who are out there just to hate. ... It's an issue that affects everybody, especially with how much kids are on social media these days."
 
This year, Hendriks and his wife Kristi decided to fight back against cyberbullying, an issue that has affected both of them personally. Kristi runs an online clothing store and has faced harassment, particularly when people find out who she is.
 
"We've wanted to do something," Hendriks said. "We've always spoken out against cyberbullying, but I think this year was one where we really decided to focus on it. It's something that has affected both my wife and me, and we decided to take a stand against it and do what we can to try to prevent the cause."
 
Hendriks has teamed up with Major League Baseball's Shred Hate campaign, which seeks to "eliminate bullying by encouraging kids to choose kindness." ESPN and X Games are also involved with Shred Hate.
 
"MLB's mission with Shred Hate is huge because it shows kids that all of these athletes are behind you," Hendriks said. "They get the same thing. It doesn't matter what someone says online. It just matters who you are."
 
Last year, Kristi and Liam Hendriks participated in Canada's Pink Shirt Day, which aimed to get Canadians to stand up against bullying. Hendriks even got several of his A's teammates to join him.
 
Hendriks says he and his wife would like to be even more active in the community moving forward. They hope to speak at schools about cyberbullying.
 
"That's definitely our plan, to try to speak to groups and just go over the fact that they're not alone. If they need an ear, just shoot me a message." 

A's vs. Twins lineups: Matt Chapman out, Chad Pinder to start at third

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A's vs. Twins lineups: Matt Chapman out, Chad Pinder to start at third

The A's will be without All-Star third baseman Matt Chapman as they take aim at their seventh straight win Thursday night in Minnesota.
 
Chapman left Wednesday's game after two innings with left ankle soreness and is considered day-to-day. He told reporters his absence is just precautionary and he should play on Friday.
 
"It just stiffened up on my throw across the diamond (in the top of the first) and then when I took that swing in the box (in the bottom of the first), it kind of just like caught, and then it didn't feel right," Chapman said after the game. "So it was more precautionary than anything."
 
Chad Pinder will fill in at third base and hit eighth in the order. Pinder homered in Wednesday's win, one of six A's home runs in the game. Jurickson Profar hit two homers of his own and will get another start at second base and bat seventh.
 
Designated hitter Khris Davis will hit sixth for the second straight game, with right fielder Mark Canha in the cleanup spot again. Canha notched his first career two-homer game on Wednesday.
 
Veteran right-hander Mike Fiers will be on the mound for Oakland, seeking his eighth straight win and 11th consecutive quality start. Fiers, 34, ranks second among American League starters with a 2.31 ERA since April 26. For the season, he is 9-3 with a 3.61 ERA.
 
Fiers is 6-1 with a 2.66 ERA in 12 career appearances against Minnesota, including 11 starts. Earlier this month, he allowed two runs (one earned) in six innings in a no-decision against the Twins.
 
Minnesota will counter with right-hander Kyle Gibson. The 31-year-old is 8-4 this season with a 4.03 ERA. In five career starts against the A's, he is 2-2 with a 3.81 ERA.
 
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 4:30 p.m. PT, with first pitch at 5:10.
 
Oakland A's (55-41)
Marcus Semien, SS
Robbie Grossman, LF
Matt Olson, 1B
Mark Canha, RF
Ramón Laureano, CF
Khris Davis, DH
Jurickson Profar, 2B
Chad Pinder, 3B
Josh Phegley, C

Mike Fiers, RHP (9-3, 3.61 ERA)
 
Minnesota Twins (58-36)
Max Kepler, CF
Mitch Garver, C
Nelson Cruz, DH
Marwin Gonzalez, LF
C.J. Cron, 1B
Luis Arraez, 2B
Miguel Sanó, 3B
Jake Cave, RF
Ehire Adrianza, SS
 
Kyle Gibson, RHP (8-4, 4.03 ERA)

Billy Beane on A's plans for MLB trade deadline, season summary so far

Billy Beane on A's plans for MLB trade deadline, season summary so far

Newly-acquired A's pitcher Homer Bailey got off to a rocky start in his A's debut Wednesday, but settled into his first outing and helped the A's prevail over the Mariners. 

The veteran pitcher was acquired from the Royals via trade Sunday, but the A's don't appear to be done bringing more arms into the equation as the July 31 trade deadline nears.

“We’re hoping we’re active," A's executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane told The Athletic's Tim Kawakami. "We’re looking for pitching -- we don’t have a lot of depth there, it would be nice to add relievers and/or a starter would probably be the area that we’re looking at."

Beane mentioned that with the hard 31st deadline this year -- there is no longer an Aug. 31 waiver deadline -- it could make other teams aggressive early on. But with the A's sitting pretty, it would be crazy to think they wouldn't be involved in the trade market.

“Where we go from here, I hope we make a bunch of trades, this is the reason you get the job is to be in the playoff hunt and to ultimately make transactions," Beane said. "If you're right around .500 near the trade deadline, you're still in a pretty good position in most seasons to have a shot at the wild card."

But it appeared any of those transactions wouldn't be geared toward any of the guys out in the field.

"I think we feel pretty good about the position players."

As they should. 

Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, Ramón Laureano and Marcus Semien were those named and complimented by Beane and those four are just part of the successful offense/defense force that the A's have constructed. And as much as the team is seeking out players to throw on the hill, Beane is rather impressed with what he's seen thus far.

"[Mike] Fiers coming back, [Brett] Anderson's pitched very, very well, [Frankie] Montas was one of the best starters in the league and we lost him," Beane told Kawakami. "So they've kind of held their own and done well."

Beane said heading into the season the starting rotation was something the A's had to invent.

"It was a big concern, but we also knew about halfway through that we had the chance of getting A.J. Puk back, Sean Manaea back,  [Jesús] Luzardo -- you know, would be back."

[RELATED: A's should trade for Marlins pitcher, analyst writes]

Manaea would continue to have a starting job once he finishes his rehab assignment. He will start for the High-A affiliate Stockton Ports on Thursday night.

Puk will more than likely take a bullpen role once he is with the big league club. And when it comes to Luzardo, it could be similar for the A's No. 1 prospect. Beane hopes all three of them will be in an Oakland uniform by August -- it's just a matter of when during the month we will see them.

They don't want to rush the trio.