Athletics

A's Stephen Piscotty undergoes surgery to remove a melanoma from ear

A's Stephen Piscotty undergoes surgery to remove a melanoma from ear

A's outfielder Stephen Piscotty underwent successful surgery Thursday to remove a melanoma from his right ear, the club announced.

Piscotty, 28, is resting comfortably at home and the team expects him to return within a week. He will be evaluated daily as he awaits more information from the pathology report on the surgery.

"What I know is that we believe it was caught early, hopefully as a result of Stephen being vigilant," said A's general manager David Forst. "We won't get a pathology report back until sometime next week. I traded texts with Stephen last night. He was doing fine and in a good mood." 

The procedure was performed by plastic surgeon Dr. Brian Parrett at the California Pacific Medical Campus in San Francisco. Dr. Parrett removed the melanoma in its entirety.

"Obviously, we're thinking about him right now," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "From my understanding, it went pretty well. At this point, we haven't made a move, so we're trying to hold our hopes out that we get him back sooner than later." 

The issue was initially discovered by dermatologist Dr. Joseph Chao of Sutter Health during a routine spot check. Dr. Chao identified a suspicious mole and the biopsy came back positive for melanoma, a form of skin cancer.

"We will hope to see him tomorrow," Forst said. "As we said, we hope he will be able to play within a week -- maybe a few days, maybe later next week. I don't know. We'll see how he's doing tomorrow. But he can play with the stitches in. The stitches won't be removed until next Thursday. But he'll be able to play when he says he's ready, I think. As an organization, we're just trying to support whatever he needs. We are very happy that this was caught when it was." 

[RELATED: Piscotty recognized as 54th annual Hutch Award winner]

Piscotty has started 65 of the A's 69 games this season, slashing .250/.314/.400 with eight home runs, 13 doubles, and 29 RBI. The Pleasanton native is in his second season with Oakland after spending his first three years with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Why Ramon Laureano's power surge doesn't surprise A's manager Bob Melvin

Why Ramon Laureano's power surge doesn't surprise A's manager Bob Melvin

OAKLAND -- Just by looking at Ramón Laureano, you'd have no idea he could crush baseballs as far as he does.

The A's centerfielder stands at 5-foot-11 and is more well-known for his blazing speed, but this season, he has truly become a bona fide slugger.

Laureano, 24, blasted his 18th home run of the year Sunday, helping the A's sweep the White Sox, 3-2. His 18 homers rank third on the team and are three away from passing Coco Crisp for the most round-trippers by an Oakland centerfielder in the last 19 years.

Laureano's power surge might come as a surprise to some, but not Bob Melvin.

"At some point in time, we felt like he had a chance to be a 30-home-run guy," the A's manager said. "Maybe on pace a little sooner than we expected based on experience in the big leagues. But not (surprised) at all if you watch him take (batting practice). He's a strong guy all the way around, whether it's throwing arm, whether it's speed -- he stole a base today pretty easily -- and he's got a lot of power. So understanding the league, making adjustments and so forth, no not a surprise to me."

The power aspect of Laureano's game is relatively new, however. Prior to this season, he had never hit more than 15 home runs at any level of professional baseball. Laureano credits his weight room work -- he added 10 pounds of muscle this offseason -- and plate adjustments for the improvement.

"Over the years, I get older and bigger," he said. "(The power) will come. I just try to help the team win in whatever (way) I can."

Laureano has been especially productive as of late. Sunday marked his fourth home run in the last five games and his 12th since the start of June. He's also shown the ability to hit the long ball to all parts of the field, including center and right.

"Just stay back (on the ball)," Laureano said of his main plate adjustment. "That's it."

Incredibly, Laureano has hit two more homers than reigning home run champion Khris Davis this season. He trails Matt Olson by just one long ball and Matt Chapman by three for the team lead.

[RELATED: A's acquire Bailey from Royals]

Perhaps most importantly, Laureano's increase in power has not caused a drop in any other part of his game. He is still reaching base and using his speed on offense, and of course, his centerfield arm remains spectacular.

We've said this before, but the A's really owe the Astros a nice gift basket for letting Laureano get away.
 

A's bolster rotation by acquiring Homer Bailey in trade with Royals

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USATSI

A's bolster rotation by acquiring Homer Bailey in trade with Royals

OAKLAND -- The A's officially have begun their annual trade deadline wheeling and dealing.

Sunday morning, Oakland acquired veteran starting pitcher Homer Bailey from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for minor league middle infielder Kevin Merrell. Bailey, 33, is expected to make his first start for the A's on Wednesday against the Seattle Mariners.

"He's been pitching really well as of late," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Bailey. "He's beaten some good teams this year. Before he got hurt, obviously, he was an electric arm and it seems like he's coming back to form at this point. I think it makes our rotation better and I think that's the objective at this point."

To Melvin's point, Bailey is 3-1 with a 3.35 ERA in his last eight starts. For the season, the right-hander is 7-6 with a 4.80 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and has battled injuries since then, but appears to now be healthy.

"I think (our) players feel these things," Melvin said. "They want to feel like the front office is going out and making us better and typically they do that. It certainly doesn't mean we're done, but it's nice to get somebody in the rotation that we feel like is going to make us better."

Bailey spent his first 12 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, throwing a pair of no-hitters in 2012 and 2013. This past offseason, he signed a minor league deal with the Royals. The A's only will be responsible for about $250,000 of his league-minimum salary.

As for Merrell, the former first-round draft pick was ranked as Oakland's number 17 prospect by MLB Pipeline. The 23-year-old was slashing .246/.292/.339 with two home runs, 34 RBI and 13 stolen bases this season at Double-A Midland. Merrell has top-notch speed but scouts have had concerns about his hitting ability.

[RELATED: Bassitt makes adjustment after advice from A's veterans]

The A's are still expected to add more pitching before Major League Baseball's July 31 Trade Deadline. Oakland likely will seek bullpen help and potentially could add another starter.