Athletics

Source: A's still in hunt for Scott Kazmir

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Source: A's still in hunt for Scott Kazmir

The A's remain in pursuit of free agent lefty Scott Kazmir, hoping to bring back a pitcher who was an All-Star wearing green and gold in 2014.

A source with knowledge of the situation said Oakland is still in the running to sign Kazmir, one of the top starters left on the open market. That backs up a report Friday from CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, who listed the A's as one of Kazmir's main suitors, along with the Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals.

It's unknown just how good the A's chances are to reel in Kazmir, who Heyman reported has multiple three-year offers "probably in the $12-13 million range (annually)." Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports listed the Dodgers in the running for Kazmir too.

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For the A's to still be hanging in the Kazmir sweepstakes is a mild surprise given the comments made at the Winter Meetings by executive Vice President of baseball operations Billy Beane, when he said the chances of the A's signing a starter to a multi-year deal were shrinking due to his team's lack of financial flexibility.

But there's clearly mutual interest between Kazmir and the A's. He fit well in his 1 1/2 seasons in Oakland, going 20-14 with a 3.12 ERA in 50 starts and serving as a valuable sounding board for younger pitchers.

The A's are known to have made a run at Bartolo Colon, who eventually accepted a one-year $7.25 million offer from the Mets. Oakland followed by agreeing to terms with starter Henderson Alvarez for a reported $4 million, plus incentives.

The savings from that trade-off would benefit the A's in their pursuit of Kazmir, though landing the lefty will obviously still take a serious financial commitment over multiple years, one that the A's aren't known for diving into with starters.

CC Sabathia hosts 52 Oakland Boys & Girls Club kids at A's-Yankees game

CC Sabathia hosts 52 Oakland Boys & Girls Club kids at A's-Yankees game

OAKLAND -- New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia welcomed 52 kids from the Boys & Girls Club of Oakland to the Coliseum on Tuesday night for the A's-Yankees game.

The Vallejo native is winding down his 19th and final season in the majors. The 39-year-old has been hosting Boys & Girls Club kids on the road at each of his final stops in the American League.

"It's been a lot of fun to get in front of these kids," Sabathia told NBC Sports California. "With me growing up in Vallejo and being a Boys & Girls Club kid, knowing what those kids are going through, I think it will be a lot of fun to be able to get in front of them and have a conversation."

Sabathia was part of the Continentals of Omega Boys & Girls Club in Vallejo from the first grade through the eighth grade. Now he relishes the opportunity to give back to today's youngsters.

"I just wanted to do something special for the kids," Sabathia said. "I grew up a Boys & Girls Club kid. My first experience at a baseball game was with the Boys & Girls Club. Hopefully, we can have that for some of these kids around the country."

Sabathia has a career record of 251-160 with a 3.73 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. He won the 2007 Cy Young Award, is six-time All-Star and has a strong case to reach the Baseball Hall of Fame.

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Though he now lives in New Jersey, Sabathia's family still resides in the Bay Area and he says he will always consider the East Bay home.

"It's always fun to be able to come here," he smiled. "I come here a lot, whether it's Oracle Arena to watch the Warriors, being here to watch the Raiders, or playing here against the A's. It's my home stadium."

A's Homer Bailey relies on splitter in shutting down mighty Yankees

A's Homer Bailey relies on splitter in shutting down mighty Yankees

OAKLAND -- When Homer Bailey dominated the Giants his last time out, it was certainly impressive, but it came with the caveat of facing a weak lineup. There was no such caveat Tuesday night.

Bailey shut down the league-leading New York Yankees for 5 2/3 innings, allowing just one run with eight strikeouts, as the A's took the series opener, 6-2. Most notably, seven of Bailey's eight strikeouts came on his splitter.

"I thought he was great," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "He had a really good split again tonight. It keeps you off balance. He can go up top with his heater and the breaking ball is just enough. It was another night where he had a really good split. It pairs off his fastball really well."

Bailey, 33, utilized the split early and often, throwing it on 32 of his 108 pitches. The right-hander made the powerful Bronx Bombers look silly, chasing pitches well out of the zone.

"It was (working well)," Bailey said. "I think just kind of understanding how I need to throw it -- the pressure points and the speeds -- it's just something that's been working really well for me and it's complemented by the other pitches."

Bailey's splitter was effective his last start against the Giants as well, resulting in three strikeouts, two groundouts, and a flyout, without a single hit.

"It looks pretty nasty," said A's first baseman Matt Olson, who went 2-for-3 with his 26th home run of the season. "The guys I've talked to say it's pretty good. It looks like a true tumble splitter, which is definitely a tough pitch to hit. Not many people have the true split. He was obviously on tonight."

When Bailey's splitter is on, it also makes his other pitches more effective. He fooled several Yankees hitters with his fastball because it comes out of the same arm slot as the split.

Said Melvin: "It allows him to pitch up and down. He can elevate with his fastball and the split kind of comes out of the same plane. Then he can throw his slider and sinker and kind of go side to side just enough. When he's throwing strikes and getting ahead and he has that pitch, as we've seen since he's been here, he can be a tough customer."

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The A's have now won five of Bailey's seven starts since acquiring him from the Reds. His last two outings were probably his best and should go a long way toward keeping him in the starting rotation for the rest of the season.