Athletics

A's vs. Astros lineups: Mark Canha gets rare day off to open series

A's vs. Astros lineups: Mark Canha gets rare day off to open series

OAKLAND -- The A's will be without Mark Canha as they open a crucial four-game series against the first-place Houston Astros on Thursday night at the Coliseum.

Canha banged his left hand against the wall in Wednesday's win over the Giants. The injury is not considered serious, and the A's outfielder will likely be back in the lineup Friday.

Chad Pinder will replace Canha in center field and bat eighth. Robbie Grossman will play left field, with Stephen Piscotty in right.

Meanwhile, Khris Davis returns to the Oakland lineup as the designated hitter after pinch-hitting in each of the last two games in San Francisco. He will bat fifth. Corban Joseph will make his second straight start at second base and hit seventh.

The A's will turn to their ace on the mound, veteran right-hander Mike Fiers. The 34-year-old has won nine straight decisions, allowing three runs or fewer in each of his last 19 outings.

For the season, Fiers is 11-3 with a 3.30 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 25 starts. However, the former Astro is just 1-2 with a 5.29 ERA in six career starts against his old team.

Houston will counter with 27-year-old Aaron Sanchez. The right-hander struggled in 23 starts with the Blue Jays this season, going just 3-14 with a 6.07 ERA. But since joining the Astros, Sanchez is 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA. In six career games against Oakland, he is 1-2 with a 5.12 ERA.

Here are the full lineups for the A's-Astros game, which will be broadcast on NBC Sports California and streaming on the MyTeams app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. PT, with first pitch at 7:07.

Houston Astros (78-43)

George Springer, CF
José Altuve, 2B
Michael Brantley, LF
Alex Bregman, 3B
Yordan Álvarez, DH
Carlos Correa, SS
Yuli Gurriel, 1B
Robinson Chirinos, C
Josh Reddick, RF

Aaron Sanchez, RHP (5-14, 5.60 ERA)

[RELATED: A's sign ex All-Star Matt Harvey to minor league contract]

Oakland A's (68-52)

Marcus Semien, SS
Robbie Grossman, LF
Matt Chapman, 3B
Matt Olson, 1B
Khris Davis, DH
Stephen Piscotty, RF
Corban Joseph, 2B
Chad Pinder, CF
Chris Herrmann, C

Mike Fiers, RHP (11-3, 3.30 ERA)

A's Marcus Semien, Liam Hendriks deserving of MLB All-Team honors

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AP

A's Marcus Semien, Liam Hendriks deserving of MLB All-Team honors

Major League Baseball has initiated the first-ever All-MLB Team. This was put forth for fans to vote on their favorite players from the 2019 season's entirety.

This is a bit like the All-Star selections only that, in this case, it's not in the middle of the season, and with these, there are both first and second teams. Also, this team will not be broken up by leagues and players were previously nominated -- pretty cool, right?

I voted for my 2019 All-MLB Team and here are my results:

New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso put on a show at the plate this season and during the Home Run Derby. Sure, we dig the long ball, but we also appreciate a guy who shows his emotions when he does something great on the field, like setting a rookie home-run record with 53 dingers this season.

The middle-infielders as of late have become these gems filled with power, which is a characteristic we didn't see in the earlier eras of the game. 

For second base, Houston Astros star José Altuve proved once again why he is a constant force to be reckoned with. The six-time All-Star finished his 2019 campaign slashing .298/.353/.550 with 31 home runs and 74 RBI in 124 games. 

Marcus Semien was the vote at the shortstop position. While there were plenty that deserved the honors (Jorge Polanco and Xander Bogaerts should not go unmentioned), Semien was such a fascinating player this season.

Sure, there's a slight bias over here, but imagine having someone only get better as the season went on. Semien started in all 162 games this season and showed no signs of tiring, finishing with 33 homers and doubling last season's total. He was also third in AL MVP voting behind Mike Trout and Alex Bregman. 

Semien didn't receive All-Star honors this season, which is a shame. He deserves something after the show he put on.

Speaking of Bregman ... I voted for him at third base, the position that was the toughest to select across the roster.

He, Matt Chapman and Nolan Arenado each put up a phenomenal season and reminded you just why it's called the hot corner.

For Bregman, he was sensational across the board in each hitting category, finishing 2019 with a .296 average, 41 homers and a 1.015 OPS. Arenado matched Bregman's long-ball numbers with 41, but ya know -- Coors. 

And that energy is contagious.

Outfielders were easy to vote for.

Trout, Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich. I really hope you guys won't argue with me on those.

The starting pitchers, for the most part, hosted arms from the final two teams still playing October baseball. Justin Verlander earned his second Cy Young Award, posting a 2.58 ERA with 300 strikeouts in 223 innings and an MLB-leading 0.80 WHIP.

Well-deserved. 

Verlander's former teammate Gerrit Cole was behind him in Cy Young voting, leading the AL with a 2.50 ERA and MLB with 326 strikeouts and 13.8 strikeouts per nine innings.

I also voted for Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, and once again, I hope there are no arguments there. If there is, I have plenty of photos of them drenched in champagne celebrating a World Series championship to back me up.

Former A and current Cincinnati Red Sonny Gray didn't reach his 2015 heights, but he dropped his ERA drastically from his 2018 campaign, boasting a 2.87 ERA with the Redlegs. His season deserved to be recognized.

From the bullpen, A's Liam Hendriks got a vote because he not only put up the numbers but switched to closer role responsibilities and did it smoothly and masterfully.

He finished his 2019 All-Star season with a 1.80 ERA and 124 strikeouts in 85 innings with a 0.97 WHIP.

[RELATED: Hendriks shift in energy factors in success with A's]

How'd I do? Let me know.

The winners for first and second-team honors will be announced at this year's Winter Meetings in San Diego. 

A's, free-agent reliever Jake Diekman agree to two-year contract

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USATSI

A's, free-agent reliever Jake Diekman agree to two-year contract

The A's are bringing back an important piece to their bullpen one day after non-tendering their former closer

The A's and left-handed reliever Jake Diekman have agreed to a two-year contract with a club option, the team announced on Tuesday. 

ESPN's Jeff Passan first reported the news. Diekman reportedly will earn a guaranteed $7.5 million. 

The A's acquired the 32-year-old from the Royals on July 27 for two minor leaguers. Diekman went 1-1 with a 4.43 ERA in 28 appearances out of the bullpen for Oakland.

[RELATED: Why A's could target these three non-tendered players]

Between the A's and Royals, he had a 4.65 ERA over in 76 games out of the bullpen. 

Diekman struck out 21 batters in 20 1/3 innings for the A's, but he also walked 16 batters.