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Wuertz to DL, trade talks warming (updated)

In for Joe Stiglich again tonight …

Friday night, Bob Melvin almost made it through a 13-minute session with the media without talking about an A’s injury. Then he blew it by mentioning on his own that reliever Grant Balfour was iffy to pitch after he was hit in a back with a baseball earlier in the week.

Saturday night, it was back to the status quo — injury talk right out of the blocks. This time, reliever Michael Wuertz. He’s headed to the 15-day DL with what the A’s are terming  right thumb tendinitis, and Jerry “The Human Yo-Yo” Blevins is being recalled once again from Triple-A.

If you saw Wuertz pitch Friday night in giving up four earned runs in the eighth inning, including a three-run homer to Minnesota’s Michael Cuddyer, you might have suspected something was wrong. Wuertz has … well, he isn’t sure. It’s not really a thumb injury so much as a wrist condition which affects him almost like carpal tunnel.

He said he started his outing feeling fine, but then the sensation — or lack thereof — kicked in.
 
 “It started toward the end of the outing, once I got over about 20 pitches,” he said. “It’s kind of had to pitch when you can’t feel the ball.”
 
Wuertz had this same issue late last year, got a shot of cortisone but never really knew what it was.
“After the season I got it checked out and now I think we have a better handle on it,” he said. “But I still don’t even know what it is, to be honest with you. It swells up and there’s a little numbing in the fingers. It’s kind of a hard thing to explain.”
Manager Bob Melvin said Wuertz will have another cortisone shot, shut it down 4-5 days and then begin throwing again. Wuertz added that he’ll have the shot in an area more specific to where the problem is originating this time.
   “(The shot last year) wasn’t in the problem area because we didn’t really know what was wrong with it,” he said. “Now that we have it narrowed down to a specific area we know a little bit more. It’s more so in the wrist. It just swells up and gets real tight and stiff.”
Melvin hypothesized that the way Wuertz throws certain pitches may have created the problem.

“The way he torques his slider, it puts a lot of pressure on that area,” the manager said. “He grips the ball back and throws a slider a little bit differently than most. After the first 15 pitches or so, you could see the stuff go down and the velocity on the slider go down. So it’s flared up on him enough that it’s been a little bit of a concern.”

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There wasn’t much trade talk involving the A’s as the game neared, but several baseball sources in the East reported during the game that the Boston Red Sox had acquired pitcher Rich Harden for Triple-A first baseman Lars Anderson. Neither team has officially announced it as of yet, but that could happen as soon as the conclusion of tonight’s game.

Josh Willingham was in the lineup Saturday night. He’s at DH, Hideki Matsui’s in LF. Suppose it doesn’t matter where to those who don’t wish to see the A’s biggest power threat traded. Right now, it looks like he just might stay. Even his wife sent a note out on Twitter saying that she’d be surprised if her husband was dealt.

The Pirates were reportedly interested in Willingham and possibly one of the A’s relievers, but ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that those talks are now dead and that they never really caught fire in the first place. The Braves and Red Sox have also been mentioned regarding Willingham, but nothing serious appears to be in the works.

Willingham going to DH is just a precautionary thing, by the way. He said Friday his Achilles is feeling good, but as Melvin said, “We want to make sure it continues to feel good.”

As for all the other A’s possible trade commodities … nothing worth mentioning. The Rangers acquired reliever Koji Uehara Saturday, which will surely end all the speculation regarding their reported pursuit of Andrew Bailey, which never seemed like a serious possibility. Surprising there haven’t been more discussions involving Coco Crisp, who’s healthy, playing well and would be a terrific addition at the top of some contender’s lineup.

Of course, things could change on a moment’s notice, and the trade deadline isn’t until 4 p.m. Sunday.

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If there was a bright spot to Friday night’s 9-5 loss, it was the performance of right-handed reliever Fautino De Los Santos, who replaced Gio Gonzalez in the sixth and got out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam. He had a long two-out battle with the Twins’ Joe Mauer, but finally retired Mauer on a weak fly to left.

Melvin said he really likes what he’s seeing from De Los Santos

“We’re kind of spoon-feeding him into a more prominent role,” he said. “He is definitely a stuff type of guy who has the ability to either be a set-up guy or a closer down the road. You don’t want to throw him all at once and say, `Here’s the seventh inning.” But we’re moving him up and last night was another step in that direction. He comes in bases loaded, one out and gets us out of it. As long as he throws the ball over the plate, he’s going to be good.”

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Melvin doesn’t really have any concrete answers about the woefulness of the A’s defense other than to say it’s a “work in progress.” He did say that after Gonzalez’s throwaway at second base on a potential double play comebacker might prompt some pitchers’ fielding practice soon.

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The lineups:

A’s: 2B Weeks, CF Crisp, LF Matsui, DH Willingham, RF DeJesus, 1B Jackson, SS Pennington, 3B Sizemore, C Powell. P Moscoso

Twins: CF Revere, 2B Plouffe, C Mauer, 1B Cuddyer, RF Kubel, DH Thome, 3B Valencia, LF Young, SS Nishioka. P Blackburn



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carl Steward

  • crister

    I would like to see Willingham stay on a longer term bases. Finally someone’s whose power plays in the Coliseum. He reminds me of a John Jaha type.
    Crisp, Sweeney, Dejesus, Ziggy, etc… Thanks for the memories.

  • Stan

    Hey Carl-whatever happened to the Review sports editor that had lost a ton of weight-and he was good writer?..Bill Solliday?

  • crister

    I swear, is harden the worst teas or what?
    10 strike outs with 8 shut out innings and then a pulled eye lid and now this?IF it’s not the injuries, it’s…
    I was all ready for flipping him. Getting a decent prospect and resigning him in the offseason and fflipping him again in 2012 and flipping him again and…
    Man, talk about “I can’t quit you.” or something like that.

  • Stan

    That’s our Beane man in a way -sign a broken down Harden,and when for once,Beane guesses right when Harden pitches well..he does his best to trade him three months later. It’s compulsive to Beane. We are doomed as A’s fans.