Athletics

A's Stephen Piscotty recognized as 54th annual Hutch Award winner

A's Stephen Piscotty recognized as 54th annual Hutch Award winner

Stephen Piscotty is the newest recipient of the Hutch Award.

The right fielder was nominated for the prestigious award last month "in part for the courage and commitment he displayed when his mother, Gretchen, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)," the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center said in a press release.

Piscotty was traded to the A's in December of 2017  -- but this was more than a transaction, he wanted to be with his mother. 

The Pleasanton native had an emotional homecoming as he switched his red uniform to green and gold.

“We’re pretty emotionally tied to that organization,” Piscotty said of the Cardinals in 2017. “It chokes me up a little bit. But family obviously comes first, and sometimes some things are more important than baseball. With this opportunity here, it’s just a great combination of family and baseball. … A lot of good is going to come out of it.”

Gretchen has since passed away, but Piscotty and his family continue to honor her memory by raising funds and awareness for ALS launching the ALS CURE Project fund research focused on a cure for the disease.

“I’m humbled and honored to win this meaningful award with such a rich history,” Piscotty said in the same release. “This is an example of how we, as big leaguers, can use our platforms to help the communities we live and play in. I’m a big believer in the power of science and research to tackle health problems and I credit Fred Hutch for their lifesaving work.”

The prestigious Hutch Award is one of the longest-running awards in baseball and was created in 1965 in honor of Fred Hutchinson, a former Major League player and manager who died of cancer. He inspired the start of the Seattle-based cancer research center. The group of creators also started a scholarship fund for medical students engaged in cancer research to honor Hutch's memory. 

“Stephen is a great player with many accomplishments on the field, but what makes him really special is how he’s honoring his mother’s legacy by raising awareness around a debilitating disease like ALS,” said Dr. Gary Gilliland, president, and director, Fred Hutch. “We are grateful to Stephen, the Seattle Mariners and Major League Baseball for joining our team at the Hutch and supporting our mission to beat cancer.”

[RELATED: Piscotty proving he's A's X-factor]

Piscotty was one of nine nominees of the 54th Hutch Award and will be honored during the annual award luncheon in Seattle on July 18 at T-Mobile Park.

A huge congratulations to Stephen Piscotty.  

A's Mike Fiers won't respond to Carlos Correa, says Astros 'cheated as a team'

A's Mike Fiers won't respond to Carlos Correa, says Astros 'cheated as a team'

As the story keeps unfolding on the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal, A's pitcher Mike Fiers is trying to move on. 

When asked Sunday by the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser if he wants to respond to Astros shortstop Carlos Correa saying Fiers "should be man enough" to say Houston second baseman Jose Altuve didn't use the team's trash can method, the A's pitcher declined to comment. But he did add one quote as he walked away. 

"We (the Astros) cheated as a team," Fiers said to Slusser.

Of all the Astros players, Correa has been the most outspoken and the most remorseful in recent days. But he also has come to the defense of Altuve.

"Mike Fiers know that [Jose] Altuve didn't use the trash can," Correa said Saturday to reporters. "You guys are gonna find out because I'm sure somebody is gonna ask him, and he's gonna tell everybody.

"If he's man enough to tell the truth and tell his story and break this story, he should be man enough to say that the MVP of 2017 didn't use it."

Fiers, who played on the Astros during the 2017 season when Houston electronically stole signs and won the World Series, originally broke the story in an interview with The Athletic. The veteran pitcher signed with the Detroit Tigers after the 2017 season and was traded to the A's in August 2018. He told both the Tigers and A's about the Astros' sign-stealing concoctions. 

Slusser reported Wednesday that A's manager Bob Melvin said the A's had called the league about the Astros cheating allegations prior to Fiers going on record. MLB, however, didn't do anything until Fiers went public. 

[RELATED: A's contacted MLB about Astros cheating]

Astros players received immunity for cooperating with the league's investigation, but manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Lunhow were suspended for a year without pay. Hours after their suspensions, Astros owner Jim Crane fired Hinch and Lunhow. 

This story clearly isn't going away as spring training is underway, however, Fiers seems focused on the A's and the upcoming season. 

How Matt Chapman, Matt Olson's defensive chemistry comes so naturally

olsonchapmanusatsi.jpg
USATSI

How Matt Chapman, Matt Olson's defensive chemistry comes so naturally

Glance toward the dugout at any A's game, and there's Matt Chapman giving high-fives and hugs. He'll throw in a Bash Brothers arm shake here, and there as well.

Beyond bringing the energy to the team, he brings a sensational glove as one of the top third basemen in the majors. When he's making stunning defensive plays, he's boosted by the utmost confidence in his first baseman Matt Olson.

The two Matts have built a relationship across the diamond that sprouted in the minors. An undeniable chemistry the two can't describe. 

"It's funny, it just seems so natural -- something that we've never really had to work for," Chapman told NBC Sports California last month. "[Olson]'s obviously super talented defensively, -- I mean, all around, with his ability to work on the bag, off the bag, deep, in -- he can do it all."

"To have somebody like that, that's also not afraid to hang in there on tough throws, dig out throws, take balls up the line, not scared of contact, and on top of it, he's seven-feet-tall," Chapman laughed. "I feel like I can throw the ball anywhere -- it gives me the confidence to just try and chuck balls over there because he can make so many good plays."

Chappy, a recipient of two Platinum and Gold Glove Awards himself, gets to throw across the diamond each and every game to Oly, who matched the number of Gold Gloves in his career. The two always have confidence in knowing the play will get made.

Chapman gets an extra boost from Olson's height (all 6-foot-5 of him) stretched from each part of the bag, and Olson induces some beautiful double plays that don't involve the third baseman on occasion. 

"There will be plays where I know a guy is going to try and go to third base, and [Olson]'s throwing guys out at third and I've been there, you know," Chapman said, "so we are always kind of on the same page when it comes to just being in tune with what's going on with the game and the situation so it's nice to have someone across the diamond you can trust."

Olson can't explain what makes the duo work so perfectly, either.

"Yeah -- I dunno, we've just been on the same page pretty much since we've met," Olson said. "We get along with each other off the field and hang out, and we're card partners and all that, and on the field, we have the same mentality."

[RELATED: Sean Manaea slams Astros over sign-stealing apology]

The fun is obvious, but the moment the pitcher throws ... 

"We like to joke around and not take anything too seriously," Olson said. "But when we're in between the lines, it's game time."