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Parker has “a blast,” Doolittle throws off flat ground, Zobrist feels “OK” and plenty more pregame notes

Jarrod Parker felt great after making his first minor league rehabilitation start on Thursday.

Jarrod Parker felt great after making his first minor league rehabilitation start on Thursday.

A day after Jarrod Parker made his first minor league rehabilitation start, the A’s right-hander was all smiles about finally returning to the mound.

“I had a blast,” Parker said Friday. “I gave up a homer, hit somebody. It was fun just doing that stuff. I might not have been very sharp. My delivery was probably quick, but I was healthy enough to catch up and be where I wanted to be.”

Parker threw 56 pitches over 3 2/3 innings for Class A Stockton and allowed four hits and three runs with one strikeout. He’ll aim to pitch five innings and throw 75 pitches when he goes Tuesday for Stockton against Bakersfield.

This was his first appearance in a game since making three starts in spring training last season before needing Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career. He also had the procedure in 2009 while in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. His last regular season appearance came Sept. 28, 2013. Continue Reading

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Zobrist encouraged about health of knee after pinch-hitting

Ben Zobrist fouled out to end Thursday's game, but he's hoping his left knee will allow him to play Friday when the Astros visit.

Ben Zobrist fouled out to end Thursday’s game, but he’s hoping his left knee will allow him to play Friday when the Astros visit.

Almost lost in the windup to the A’s 2-0 loss to the Angels Thursday in which Oakland pitching allowed just one hit was the reappearance of second baseman Ben Zobrist.

He didn’t play second base, but Zobrist showed up as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning, standing in against Huston Street as the potential tying run. It was Zobrist’s first game appearance since Sunday, when he suffered a left knee injury while sliding.

He’s been limited to that one at-bat in the last 4½ games.

And it was not a move manager Bob Melvin wanted to make.

“I was pretty reluctant to use him today,’’ Melvin said. “I didn’t want to leave him in my pocket, so if we had the tying run up in the ninth, we were going to use him, but I was a little nervous sending him up there.’’

When Marcus Semien singled with two out, that was Zobrist’s cue. He wound up hitting a pop fly in foul territory that became the game’s final out.

“It was good to get into the game,’’ Zobrist said. “It didn’t bother me when I ran down to first base, but I was trying to be careful. In the box, taking a swing, it felt fine.’’

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Bassitt’s move across mound helps get him back to the bigs

It’s too soon to tell if moving from the third base side of the pitching rubber to the right side will change Chris Bassitt’s career, but the move has helped him get back to the big leagues with the A’s.

Bassitt was called up Thursday to be the long man in the A’s bullpen, taking the job held for one night by Arnold Leon, who was returned to Triple-A Nashville with Bassitt rested enough to take over the job.

The White sox moved Bassitt to the third base side of the mound last year, but come this spring, Bassitt found he wasn’t able to throw well enough inside to left-handed batters, so he moved back.

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Eric Chavez starts TV career with A’s, with Yankees blessing

Eric, Chavez, who with Mark Ellis threw out 2015's first pitch, starts a part-time gig on A's telecasts Friday.

Eric, Chavez (3), who with Mark Ellis threw out 2015′s first pitch to third base coach Mike Gallego, starts a part-time gig on A’s telecasts Friday.

Eric Chavez began this week in Detroit, doing some analysis for the Yankees. He’ll end the week in Oakland, doing A’s television broadcasts.

It may sounds like he’s got a split personality thing going, but the situation is more nuanced than that. But then between his offense, his defense and his knowledge of the game, the longtime A’s third baseman was always nuanced.

“I’m really intrigued by the whole broadcast thing,’’ Chavez said this week from Motown, where the Yankees were taking on the Tigers. “I want to test the water with a number of things, then at the end of the year go back and reevaluate. Do I want to do TV work long term? I don’t know.’’

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Gray seems to have mastered this how-to-win thing

Sonny Gray pitched out of a bases-loaded jam Wednesday, because that's what he does.

Sonny Gray pitched out of a bases-loaded jam Wednesday, because that’s what he does.

How to explain Sonny Gray?

He has a very good fastball, but not the best fastball.

He has very good secondary pitches, but not the best secondary pitches.

He is a very good defender and a very good athlete.

But mostly he’s figured out this how-to-win thing.

It’s something pitchers can go their whole career without solving. For Gray, it just seems he gets it.

Manager Bob Melvin and catcher Stephen Vogt both talk about Gray’s ability to “invent pitches.’’

Former A’s catcher John Jaso said catching Gray could be the easiest thing in the world, or it could be the most difficult, because the movement on Gray’s pitches could catch catchers by surprise as much as hitters.

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Running game finally generates some offense for A’s

Sam Fuld's steal of second in first inning Wednesday started the A's on their way to best running game of the year so far.

Sam Fuld’s steal of second in first inning Wednesday led to Oakland’s first run and started the A’s on their way to best running game of the year so far.

Two problems face the A’s running game: Coco Crisp is on the disabled list and Craig Gentry hasn’t had a hit yet this season.

Those are the A’s two best base stealers, but for one night, anyway, the A’s ran without them but with purpose and drive, stealing four bases in a game for the first time since April 16, 2013.

Two of the four steals wound up producing runs. Sam Fuld singled, stole a base and scored for the A’s first run, and Eric Sogard singled, stole a base and scored the A’s second run. Sogard’s run put the A’s ahead to stay 2-1 as the first run of a five-run seventh inning.

Even without much in the way of contributions from their best thieves, the A’s are 11-for-11 in steals this season.

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Reddick trying to cope with news of father’s arrest

Josh Reddick is just tying to keep his focus on playing ball after getting news his father, Kenny, has been arrested in Georgia and charged with fraud.

Josh Reddick is just tying to keep his focus on playing ball after getting news his father, Kenny, has been arrested in Georgia and charged with fraud.

A’s right fielder Josh Reddick wasn’t rocked Wednesday when the news came out that his father, Kenny, had been arrested and charged with multiple counts of workers compensation fraud.

He was rocked Monday. That’s when he first learned his father had been arrested and taken to Effington County Jail along with a companion, Linda Crawford, who also was arrested.

“Being here at the ballpark is easier for me right now,’’ Reddick said Wednesday. “Being in the hotel room during the day, particularly Monday, that was tough.

“But in here it’s always been all about focusing on the game, and I can do that.’’

Reddick said he hadn’t talked to his father since Monday, when Kenny Reddick was moved first arrested in Rincon, Ga. And he said he has no idea what will happen next.

Published reports say Kenny Reddick has been charged with one felony count of insurance fraud, one felony count of theft by deception, one felony count of conspiracy to commit a crime and one misdemeanor count of giving false and misleading statements when obtaining workers’ compensation benefits.

Reports out of Rincon are that the case is under active investigation and additional charges of insurance fraud against Kenny Reddick and Crawford were possible.

“You are innocent until proven guilty,’’ Reddick said of his father. “But no one is above the law, either.’’

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Zobrist’s ailing left knee to be tested on field Thursday

Ben Zobrist will need to be able to do more of this with his left knee before he can return to A's lineup.

Ben Zobrist will need to be able to do more of this with his left knee before he can return to A’s lineup.

Ben Zobrist took some swings in the batting cage and stretched with his A’s teammates Wednesday and said he felt no pain but a little discomfort in his left knee, injured in a slide Sunday in Kansas City.

The prime test for Zobrist will be Thursday, when he will run the bases, do some work in the field and take batting practice. If the knee, which had a cortisone injection Monday night, responds well, he could play this weekend in Oakland against Houston.

In the background remains the possibility of some sort of arthroscopic surgery if the knee doesn’t respond as hoped. But Zobrist was feeling hopeful that he’d be back soon.

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A’s to call up Arnold Leon to beef up a depleted bullpen

The A’s have made a move to help a weary bullpen, promoting minor league starter Arnold Leon from Triple-A Nashville.

Leon was called up for a day last year, but he has never thrown a pitch in a Major League game.

The move has not been officially announced, but Leon is expected to join the club in Anaheim for Wednesday’s game against the Angels. It’s expected that to make room for Leon, the A’s will send down R.J. Alvarez, threw 48 pitches and gave up seven runs, six earned while getting just three outs Tuesday.

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Tuesday night: Ike Davis provides solace on a long night

It was that kind of day for the A's, Drew Pomeranz lifted in teh sixth inning in 14-1 loss to Angels.

It was that kind of day for the A’s, Drew Pomeranz lifted in teh sixth inning in 14-1 loss to Angels.

A day that started with old business from the weekend series in Kansas City being eradicated ended with a debacle of a 14-1 loss for the A’s against the Angels, but first baseman Ike Davis somehow made it all a little worthwhile.

Davis, a pitcher in college at Arizona State in 2007 and the son of former big league reliever Ron Davis, volunteered to pitch the eighth inning to save wear and tear on the Oakland bullpen.

He needed just nine pitches to get three ground ball outs. And a post-game that could have trended toward the glum side was instead enlivened by pitchers and hitters both gathering around the video replay area in the clubhouse to break down just what kind of game Davis brings when he steps on the mound.

“I’d pitched in college; I knew I could probably throw strikes,’’ Davis said. “I threw harder in college, but it was fun. And it’s not fair to put one of our pitchers out there in a game like that.’’

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