Oakland Coliseum

Stephen Piscotty impresses with glove in strong return to A's lineup

Stephen Piscotty impresses with glove in strong return to A's lineup

Stephen Piscotty went 2-for-3 at the plate in the A's 8-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday night at the Coliseum. But his most impressive contribution after a monthlong absence came in the field. 

In the top of the fifth inning, Cardinals catcher Matt Wieters crushed Mike Fiers' pitch to the right-center field wall. Piscotty got a good break on the ball, and leapt up to catch it. Starting pitcher Mike Fiers clearly was grateful.

As the ball left Wieters' bat, Piscotty said he got some much-needed help from center fielder Mark Canha. 

"I feel like I got a good jump on it and it was approaching the wall, and I could hear Canha saying, 'Go for it! Go for it!'" Piscotty told NBC Sports California's Kara Tsuboi after the win. "And I was like, 'Alright, here we go.' Just jumped and secured it."

The A's went 15-9 in Piscotty's absence in July, but they are getting the right fielder back at the proper time. Ramón Laureano's on the 10-day injured list with a stress reaction in his right shin, and Piscotty's presence can help the A's withstand that injury. 

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The 28-year-old's catch came against his former team. Piscotty spent his first three MLB seasons with the Cardinals, before joining the A's ahead of the 2018 season. 

If Piscotty doesn't have more in store in Sunday's finale, at least something in his likeness will. Sunday's giveaway item is a "Hometown Hero" shirt featuring the Pleasanton native. 

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred praises A's waterfront ballpark progress


MLB commissioner Rob Manfred praises A's waterfront ballpark progress

The A's have cleared several obstacles in their pursuit of a new waterfront stadium at Oakland's Howard Terminal, and MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has taken notice.

Manfred was in Seattle on Tuesday for the Mariners' game against the Astros, and discussed the A's and Rays' stadium situations with Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times.

"I think that Oakland has made a lot of progress," Manfred said. "I think the identification of the Howard Terminal site as their preferred site is an important step forward. I think the progress they've made with respect to the possibility of development at the Coliseum site is also important given that the availability of public funding in the state of California is going to be very, very limited."

The A's are hoping to build a 34,000-seat ballpark, which would open in the spring of 2023. The current Coliseum site would be redeveloped to include new housing, offices, and restaurants, while keeping the original baseball diamond intact as part of a park.

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"I give (A's owner) John Fisher a lot of credit," Manfred said. "This is a difficult, difficult undertaking at this point in the history of the state of California. It's very different than it was two decades ago. They've shown a true commitment to the city of Oakland in terms of trying to get it done."

Manfred also noted that the A's are ahead of the Rays in their plan for a new ballpark.

Mark Canha continues Khris Davis impression in A's win vs. Mariners

Mark Canha continues Khris Davis impression in A's win vs. Mariners

OAKLAND — Make no mistake, Mark Canha is not Khris Davis. But, he sure can do a pretty good Khris Davis impression.

Canha homered for the third straight game Friday night, his sixth round-tripper in nine contests since returning from a sprained wrist, as the A's beat the Mariners 6-2 for their seventh consecutive win.

"It always helps when somebody gets on a hot streak," Canha said after the game. "It always helps when you have that one guy where you're like, 'Yeah, he's up!' That kind of happens for different guys at different times and I think it just happens to be right now. This is me kind of knocking on wood and hoping I can keep it going."

Before the game, the A's officially placed Davis on the 10-day injured list with a left hip/oblique contusion. With the reigning home run-champion out of the lineup, Oakland desperately needed someone to fill the void.

Enter Canha.

"I guess you could say it's timely," Canha said of his hot streak. "It's good that I'm filling his shoes. I'm just trying to be Khris Davis right now and this is my best version of it."

A's manager Bob Melvin has certainly taken notice of Canha's recent power surge and hopes to see it continue in Davis' absence.

"It's a lot of homers," Melvin marveled. "If you're looking for a replacement for Khris, that's the guy. He feels good at the plate. He's getting good swings, he's seeing some pitches, taking some walks. It's good, really good."

Friday also marked Canha's third straight game as the A's designated hitter. Many players struggle in that role, at least initially, as it can be challenging to stay mentally sharp between at-bats.

Clearly, that has not been the case for Canha.

"I really like it," he said. "I like not having to run out there on the field. It's nice to just kind of hang out in the dugout and wait for my at-bat to happen. I'm enjoying my time as a designated hitter so far."

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It's not like Canha is just hitting home runs. The 30-year-old has raised his on-base percentage to .353, third-best on the A's, and his .953 OPS leads the team and ranks seventh in the American League. 

"I'm in my fifth year now and I think I'm just getting better," Canha said. "I've learned a lot in my career and now I'm being given some time, and I think I'm just getting better as I've matured as a hitter."