Athletics

A's set to introduce shortstop Nakajima

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A's set to introduce shortstop Nakajima

OAKLAND -- Just hours after free agent shortstop Stephen Drew was plucked off the market by the Boston Red Sox, the A's locked down his replacement. On Tuesday, Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima will be introduced by the A's in a press conference at 2 p.m. in Oakland. It will be broadcast live on Comcast SportsNet California.

Nakajima, 30, has reportedly signed a two-year deal worth $6.5 million with a club option for a third season. The financial terms were first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle. That's $3 million less than Drew will be getting for one season from the Red Sox. 

Oakland had expressed interest in the Seibu Lions' starting shortstop earlier in the offseason and they met with his representatives at the Winter Meetings.

Listed at 5'11" and 198 pounds, Nakajima hit .311 with 13 home runs, 74 RBI, 52 walks, and a .382 on-base percentage in 136 games last season in the Japanese Pacific League. Those numbers are on par with his career stats, as he is a career .302 hitter with a .367 on-base percentage. In 2011, the Yankees won the negotiating rights for Nakajima but couldn't come to terms on a deal and he remained in Japan.

At the Winter Meetings in Nashville, A's manager Bob Melvin said of Nakajima, "He's a hitter, he looks like a hitter." One MLB talent evaluator told me he has a dependable glove, a chance to hit for average, and should be a solid player. Watching several videos of Nakajima online, it looks like he is a spray hitter with good opposite field power.

So far, infielders from the Pacific League haven't exactly dominated in Major League Baseball. Nakajima took over at shortstop for the Seibu Lions after Kaz Matsui signed with the Mets. Matsui hit .305 with 33 homers and 84 RBI in his final season in Japan. He has a .267 average with 32 home runs, 211 RBI and a .321 on-base percentage in seven Major League seasons.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka is another example of a Pacific League infielder that didn't work out.  He was a batting champion and star in Japan, but signed a three-year, $9.25 million contract with Minnesota and was released last September after hitting .215 with 14 errors in 71 games.

Like language, sometimes statistics get lost in translation. It is difficult to project how Nakajima's numbers will look in Oakland. The A's clearly like what they see in Nakajima, though. He is a relatively low risk, potentially high upside player. If all goes according to plan, Nakajima will take over at shortstop until top prospect Addison Russell is MLB-ready. Russell was the A's first round pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.

Now that Oakland has a guy to pencil in at starting shortstop, the reigning American League West Champions' roster appears to be close to complete. FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi were the first to report the A's and Nakajima were nearing a deal.

Lowrie, Piscotty power A's comeback win vs Padres

Lowrie, Piscotty power A's comeback win vs Padres

SAN DIEGO  — Stephen Piscotty homered with two outs in the ninth inning to tie the game and Jed Lowie hit a two-run shot with two outs in the 10th to lift the Oakland Athletics over the San Diego Padres 4-2 on Tuesday night.

Piscotty’s shot into the second deck came off closer Brad Hand. Hand was trying for his 22nd save and retired the first two batters before Piscotty homered on a 2-2 pitch, his fifth.

Adam Cimber (3-3) allowed Marcus Semien’s one-out single in the 10th and retired Chad Pinder on a fly to right before Lowrie connected for his 10th homer.

Rookie Lou Trivino (4-1) pitched two innings for the win. Blake Treinen pitched the 10th for his 16th save.

Padres rookie left-hander hander Eric Lauer had been in line for the victory after pitching six strong innings. He settled down after allowing an unearned run in the second and held the A’s to one run and three hits while matching his strikeout high with seven. He walked two.

The Padres had given Lauer just enough support in the first two innings against Paul Blackburn. Jose Pirela brought in a run in the first on a grounder and Raffy Lopez doubled with one out in the second to bring in rookie Franmil Reyes, who was aboard on a leadoff double.

Blackburn allowed two runs and four hits in five innings, struck out four and walked two.

The A’s scored in the second with some help from replay. Khris Davis drew a leadoff walk and was originally called out on a force play on Matt Olson’s ground ball. The A’s challenged and the call was overturned, with shortstop Freddy Galvis given an error because his foot wasn’t on second base when he took the throw. Davis advanced on Mark Canha’s single and scored when Piscotty grounded into a double play.

ROAD WARRIORS

The Padres are in a stretch in which they will play just five of 28 games at home. After going 5-5 on a trip through Miami, St. Louis and Atlanta, the Padres are home for just two games before heading out for a seven-game trip to San Francisco and Texas. Then they’re home for three games against Pittsburgh before a six-game trip to Oakland and Arizona.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Padres: Have cut short OF Franchy Cordero’s rehab assignment after he felt something in his right elbow. Manager Andy Green said it’s “highly unlikely” Cordero is back soon.

UP NEXT

Athletics: RHP Frankie Montas (3-1, 2.67 ERA) is scheduled to start the finale of the two-game series.

Padres: Rookie LHP Joey Lucchesi (3-2, 3.23) is scheduled to return from more than a month on the DL with a strained right hip.

POLL: A's Memorable Moments -- Braden's Perfect Game vs Long's game-saving catch in Fenway

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AP

POLL: A's Memorable Moments -- Braden's Perfect Game vs Long's game-saving catch in Fenway

PROGRAMMING NOTE: NBC Sports California is looking back at the A's 50 Memorable Moments since the franchise relocated to Oakland in 1968. Below are the next two moments you can vote on. Tune into A's Pregame Live tonight at 6:30pm to watch highlights of the two moments. After the A's and Padres conclude, tune into A's Postgame Live to see which moment will move on to the next round!

1. Dallas Braden's Perfect Game on Mother's Day 2010 (11-time winner -- Defeated The Big Three's sweep of the D'backs in Arizona in 2001)

(From Dallas Braden)

Well, they haven’t taken it away yet so I guess it might not be a dream after all. It’s still insane to think that on such a special day for so many people, my teammates and I were able to etch ourselves into the hearts of A’s fans everywhere.

In the moment, I had no clue. At the same time, I was fully aware. Completely focused and emotionally distracted at the same time. Hell, I talked myself into the wrong count in the last at-bat of the game. The 27th out. In that moment I had no clue. No clue I’d become the vehicle for such an emotional moment shared between mothers and their families across baseball that special day. I do believe that’s what I was -- merely a vehicle to connect people through our beautiful game. My mom, along with the baseball gods, and Landon Powell, I guess, all steered us down the path of history and to be able to share and relive those special moments and memories is a blessing a young little leaguer can only dream of.

I hope that through my passion for the game you feel the same love I, myself, my wife, baby girl, and grandmother have felt from each of you, the fans of the Green & Gold. We couldn’t be happier to share this Mother’s Day and every Mother’s Day from here on out, TOGETHER! It’s a perfect fit if you ask me.

VS.

2. Terrence Long's game-saving catch over the wall at Fenway in 2002

(From Ben Ross)

On August 7, 2002, Terrence Long stunned Fenway Park and the entire city of Boston. With two on and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, and the A's clinging to a 3-2 lead over the Red Sox, Manny Ramirez sent a fly ball deep to right-center field. Long took off from his position in center field and made a leaping catch over the wall to preserve the win for Oakland.

Long was immediately tackled by fellow outfielder Jermaine Dye in celebration. Closer Billy Koch was so happy, he ran all the way to the outfield to give Long a bear hug.

Six days later, the A's would begin their historic 20-game win streak. They would go on to win the AL West with a record of 103-59.

VOTE HERE: