Yoenis Cespedes, Kila Ka’aihue both scratched from A’s lineup

Injury updates from the Coliseum …

Yoenis Cespedes was originally in the A’s lineup but he was just scratched after aggravating his hand injury. Kila Ka’aihue, scheduled to play first base, was also scratched with a “lower hamstring, upper calf” injury, according to an A’s spokesman.

We don’t have much more information beyond that, but obviously it’s an unfortunate blow for the A’s, who were ready to welcome Cespedes back to the cleanup spot after a four-game absence because of a strained muscle in his left hand. Cespedes took just two rounds of batting practice before talking with hitting coach Chili Davis and heading back to the clubhouse, so it was clear that something was up. Ka’aihue has been hitting well, so his absence will be felt too.

“(Cespedes) took batting practice and  was still feeling it a bit, so I wanted to be precautionary with it,” A’s manager Bob Melvin relayed through a spokesman. (We’re past the media clubhouse access period at this point).

Cespedes, addressing reporters before batting practice, was asked twice if his hand was full strength and ready to go, and he confirmed it was.  “I feel so happy because I was here doing nothing. It was boring,” Cespedes said.

Here’s the revised A’s lineup:

Weeks 2B

Barton 1B

Reddick RF

Gomes DH

Smith LF

Inge 3B

Suzuki C

Sogard SS

Cowgill CF

*McCarthy RHP




Cespedes out again; Taylor sent down

Ben Enos comin at ya, filling in for Joe Stiglich

About two and a half hours before the A’s and Tigers get together for game two of their four-game series and it’s already been a fairly newsy day here at the Coliseum.

For starters, Yoenis Cespedes will not play again tonight as he continues to make his way back from a strained hand. Manager Bob Melvin said he expects Cespedes to take some more soft toss, do some tee work and then hit live pitching in the indoor cage a little later today. Cespedes told reporters “it doesn’t hurt a lot, it hurts some.” Melvin did say he thinks Cespedes still could potentially play tomorrow.

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Postgame leftovers from A’s 10-6 loss to Tigers

A few items from the clubhouse following the A’s 10-6 loss to the Tigers, a night where it was bad to be an Athletic unless your name was Brandon Inge …

–Yoenis Cespedes probably won’t return to the lineup until Saturday at the earliest, manager Bob Melvin said. Cespedes hit off a tee and took soft-toss swings but he did not hit in the batting cage. He needs to do that before he returns.

–Seeing Bartolo Colon struggle against the Tigers is nothing new — he’s 0-7 with a 7.67 ERA against them over his last 12 games (11 starts). What might be a concern is his dip in velocity. “The last couple times it looks like it’s been down a little bit,” Melvin said. The manager downplayed it by saying lots of pitchers experience arm fatigue this time of year, but Melvin also added: “We’ll monitor that.”

Colon simply chalked his night up to bad location. “I made some mistakes in location, and when you make mistakes in the big leagues, you’re going to have trouble.”

–We’re used to singing the praises of the A’s pitching and bashing their offense. But the rotation is not holding its own real well recently. Over the last 11 games, the starters have a 7.21 ERA (47 earned runs in 58 2/3 innings). Obviously the health of Brandon McCarthy’s shoulder is a big storyline for this team, but all five starters flat-out need to pick it up.

–Inge, not surprisingly, was surrounded by reporters after the game. What a tear it’s been recently for him. He’s the second player in A’s history to hit two grand slams in a three-game span (Jimmie Foxx did it back in 1932). And his slam Thursday came against the team that released him just two weeks ago. Inge is taking it all in stride. “It just happens sometimes,” he said. “I’m just trying to have fun. That’s when things go your way.”


Yoenis Cespedes not in tonight’s lineup; Brandon McCarthy on track for Saturday start

There’s no real news to report on the A’s key injured players, and that’s good news for fans. Yoenis Cespedes was scheduled to hit in the batting cage after batting practice (we won’t have access to him again until after the game), and that session will help determine his availability for Friday’s game. Cespedes is not in tonight’s lineup. …

A’s – Weeks 2B, Pennington SS, Reddick CF, Gomes DH, Smith LF, Inge 3B, Ka’aihue 1B, Suzuki C, Taylor RF; Colon RHP.

Tigers – Jackson CF, Dirks LF, Cabrera 3B, Fielder 1B, Young DH, Avila C, Rayburn 2B, Boesch RF, Santiago SS; Scherzer RHP.

A’s manager Bob Melvin said Cespedes might be a pinch-running option tonight, but he’s hesitant to put him in as a defensive replacement because he’d have to take him out anyway if his spot in the order came up. Swinging the bat is the biggest problem for Cespedes, who has a strained muscle in his left hand.

As for right-hander Brandon McCarthy, he threw off the mound today and felt good, so he’s on track to make Saturday’s start as expected. McCarthy stresses that he isn’t really feeling pain in his right shoulder but compared it to “when you feel a tickle in your throat two hours before getting sick.” So the right-hander feels he’ll be fine to pitch Saturday, but added: “I think the next couple starts will be big to see if it is coming on.” This is an issue to keep an eye on, given McCarthy’s history of shoulder problems. He’s usually had at least one extended period per season where he’s been sidelined.

–Max Scherzer is 1-1 in two career starts against the A’s. Last year they got to him for five runs over five innings and hung a loss on him. In a 2010 outing, he struck out a career-high 14 against Oakland. There’s no A’s hitter with any history against Scherzer that’s noteworthy, positive or negative. … Bartolo Colon is 8-9 with a 5.25 ERA lifetime against Detroit, so this isn’t his favorite club to see. The hitter who’s done the most damage against him? Ramon Santiago, who is 11 for 20. Santiago is just a .247 career hitter overall. … Go figure


Yoenis Cespedes diagnosed with muscle strain in hand, listed as day-to-day

The latest on Yoenis Cespedes …

He was diagnosed with a strained muscle in the back of his left hand, and A’s manager Bob Melvin lists him as day to day. “We’ll see if he can swing a bat tomorrow,” Melvin said. “If everything feels good, potentially (he could play tomorrow night). If not, maybe the next day.”

Cespedes said he originally hurt his hand during a series at Boston last week, but the pain went away quickly and there was no need for him to miss time. Then he aggravated the injury during batting practice Tuesday. Cespedes said he was relieved the injury wasn’t more serious. “I feel good that it’s just a little thing,” Cespedes said through interpreter Ariel Prieto. When Cespedes was asked if he had a feeling how long it would take for his hand to be ready, Prieto volunteered a “No” answer for him.

In other injury news, Brandon McCarthy said he definitely expects to make Saturday’s start against Detroit, and that he would only join the disabled list if his shoulder doesn’t respond well in that outing. He is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Thursday.


Yoenis Cespedes gets X-rays on left hand, no update yet

Yoenis Cespedes was scheduled to get X-rays on his injured left hand this morning, and hopefully we’ll get an update after the game. Obviously, the seriousness of that injury has huge ramifications for the A’s, who have won three in a row and are riding high after last night’s walkoff win.

The lineups:
A’s – Weeks 2B, Pennington SS, Reddick CF, Gomes LF, Smith RF, Ka’aihue DH, Inge 3B, Barton 1B, Recker C; Ross RHP.

Jays – Johnson 2B, Escobar SS, Bautista RF, Encarnacion DH, Thames LF, Lawrie 3B, Rasmus CF, Lind 1B, Arencibia C; Morrow RHP.

Josh Reddick gets another start in center field, and he’s probably looking at more time there if Cespedes misses multiple games. Reddick was planning to get some work in center during batting practice. Last night, Cespedes was scratched so late that Reddick didn’t really get to take any fly balls there. We saw him get fooled pretty bad on a ball last night but he recovered to make the catch. Reddick played some center with Boston, but it’s a pretty significant adjustment going from right to center. And as A’s manager Bob Melvin pointed out, playing center at the Coliseum during a day game is really tough because of the sun, especially late in the afternoon. “It is different in center field,” Melvin said. “The ones hit right to you are the ones that are going to fool you.” Balls hit to the left or right of a center fielder are easier to judge because of the angle.

That ninth-inning at-bat from Michael Taylor was pretty impressive to get last night’s winning rally started. Interesting that Melvin said he probably would have pinch-hit Kila Ka’aihue for Taylor had there been runners on base. But with Taylor leading off the inning, he wanted to see how the outfielder responded after striking out three times earlier. That’s the tricky balance Melvin has to strike with this team: He needs to pull the strings that offer the A’s the best chance to win, while trying to put players like Taylor in critical situations to evaluate them and see how they handle it. It worked out on all fronts for the A’s last night …


POSTGAME NOTES: A memorable night of baseball for local teams, local writers, Ken Korach and that Josh Hamilton guy

I set some sort of record Tuesday night, I know it. So did the San Francisco Chronicle’s Steve Kroner. We both serve as backup writers for the A’s and Giants, and in two consecutive games we’ve covered for our respective papers, we saw walkoff hits against a five-man infield, two-man outfield from a team in each league. Top that, national scribes.

And that doesn’t count even that both Kroner and I covered the last game of the A’s previous homestand, in which the A’s won in the 14th inning on another walkoff after falling behind in the top half.

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McCarthy pushed back due to shoulder soreness, Cespedes scratched from lineup, welcome back Ken Korach

The A’s are back home after an encouraging 5-4 road trip to the East and can go two games over .500 for the first time in nearly a year. But the Blue Jays will be tough over the next two days with their top two starters, Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow, scheduled to face them.

And it just got a little tougher. Brandon McCarthy, who was originally scheduled to start Tuesday night, was scratched with shoulder soreness and won’t pitch again until Saturday at the earliest. McCarthy threw a bullpen session on Sunday and felt fine. He also had an MRI and it came back clean. But anytime the right-hander has any kind of shoulder discomfort, it’s a bit of a red flag. It has derailed him four of the past five season and last year, he spent six weeks on the disabled list with a stress reaction in his right scapula (shoulder blade).

McCarthy doesn’t think it’s serious but wants to be sure. He’ll throw another bullpen on Thursday, and if he comes out of that OK, he’ll start Saturday. Asked how it compared to last season, he said, “Not even in the same universe, it really isn’t. I threw a bullpen two days ago and it was fine then.. I just noticed it the day after I started in Boston. It was just a little bit sore. Some of the telltale signs that I look for were there, so we’re trying to err on the side of caution.”

A’s manager Bob Melvin hadn’t arrived last year when McCarthy incurred his last shoulder blade issue, something that has become almost an annual issue for him to varying degree.

“He knows himself very well, and how we combat this we’re not sure, because we don’t know if that’s exactly what it is,” said Melvin. “So we’re going to give him a few days off, see if we can bide a little time and hopefully he feels better when he throws a bullpen on Thursday.”

The A’s are starting Jarrod Parker Tuesday night and Parker had originally been in that spot anyway. Tyson Ross will pitch Wednesday, Bartolo Colon Thursday and Tommy Milone on Friday night.

Yoenis Cespedes left batting practice early and was scratched from the lineup. The A’s were planning to make a formal announcement about what’s wrong with Cespedes after the game, but one reporter noted that the outfielder left the field nursing his wrist.

Here’s the revised A’s lineup for tonight:

Weeks 2B, Pennington SS, Reddick CF, Gomes DH, Inge 3B, Smith LF, Suzuki C, Barton 1B, Taylor RF.

And Toronto’s:

Johnson 2B, Escobar SS, Bautista RF, Lind 1B, Encarnacion DH, Thames LF, Lawrie 3B, Rasmus CF, Arencibia C.

Brett Anderson’s rehab from Tommy John surgery takes another big step Wednesday when the left-hander throws an inning in a simulated game during extended spring training in Arizona. Melvin said Anderson would throw roughly 25 pitches. One of the hitters he could be facing is Manny Ramirez, who is just 12 days away from being able to play in minor leagues. He is eligible to join the A’s May 30.

Dallas Braden played light catch from 60 feet for the first time Monday.

And finally, more good news on the health front — lead broadcaster Ken Korach is back Tuesday night, hopefully for good. Sacramento RiverCats broadcaster Johnny Doskow did fine work while Korach was out, but losing a guy like Korach is like losing your ace. He’s one of the best in the biz. He missed the first month and change after having a knee replacement, but he was getting around quite well before the game. And he was, as always, in good voice.



Jemile Weeks sits again with groin tightness; A’s juggle their rotation

Today brings one of the more unique A’s lineups we’ve seen all season:

Oak: Pennington SS, Taylor RF, Reddick DH, Cespedes CF, Gomes LF, Inge 3B, Barton 1B, Recker C, Sogard 2B; Milone LHP

TB: Jennings LF, Upton CF, Pena 1B, Keppinger 3B, Scott DH, Rodriguez SS, Joyce RF, Gimenez C, Johnson 2B; Moore LHP

Jemile Weeks is still experiencing some groin tightness, part of the reason he’s out of the lineup. He’ll now get two days of rest with Monday’s day off. But manager Bob Melvin also noted that Weeks’ struggles at the plate factored in. Last night’s 0 for 6 game dropped Weeks’ average to .174. “He’s been grinding pretty hard at the plate. I think a couple days off will serve him well,” Melvin said. This rough stretch is really going to test how Weeks deals with adversity. I see the A’s giving him more time to work himself out of his problems before considering sending him to the minors. But I’d think there has to be a level of concern in the organization over Weeks’ struggles. All of the offseason moves the A’s made signaled that this team is looking toward the future, and Weeks’ continued progression is a huge piece of that future …

–The A’s have adjusted their upcoming rotation. Brandon McCarthy, who was scheduled to start Wednesday, will now start Tuesday’s series opener against Toronto, and Jarrod Parker will move back one day to Wednesday. As things stand, Tyson Ross will go Thursday, Bartolo Colon on Friday and Tommy Milone on Saturday. Speaking of Ross, he was on the field this morning working with pitching Curt Young, bullpen coach Rick Rodriguez and roving minor league pitching instructor Gil Patterson, who lives in Florida. Some of the work Ross was doing didn’t even involve a ball, just him going through his motion.

–Josh Reddick gets a start at DH to give him a bit of a rest, with Michael Taylor playing right field and batting second, which probably raises some eyebrows. Melvin said he’d like to squeeze in one extra at-bat for Taylor, and batting him up high does that. With Weeks and Coco Crisp both out, the options are limited for the top of the lineup.


Postgame recap of A’s wild 4-3 win over Rays

In a game that was exhausting just to watch, the A’s outlasted the Rays 4-3 in 12 innings Saturday night. There have been ups and downs for the A’s on this road trip, but the A’s are 4-4 on the three-city swing through the American League East. Were they to win tomorrow, coming home with a winning record would be a feather in their cap.

A bit from the clubhouse …

–Bartolo Colon was bothered by a stomach bug during the game, which is partly why he left after five innings. And perhaps it helps explain why he wasn’t as sharp as he’s been most of this season. He allowed three homers, but all were solo shots, and that turned out to be important.

–The A’s bullpen was fantastic, with four relievers delivering seven shutout innings. “It was amazing what they did,” Colon said. “And they’ve been doing it all season.” A’s manager Bob Melvin said the ‘pen is in decent shape for Sunday’s matinee. Lefties Pedro Figueroa and Jerry Blevins were not used and neither was right-hander Jim Miller. Ryan Cook threw two innings but used just 25 pitches, so he should be available. And Balfour should be OK.

Cook has now pitched in 12 games this season without allowing a run, a span of 14 1/3 innings. Pretty amazing stuff. …

–There were a couple events that convinced me the A’s were destined to lose this game. One was the 10th inning rally when they loaded the bases with one out and came up empty against Brandon Gomes, who was really struggling to find the strike zone. The second was Sean Rodriguez’s pop-up that fell between Josh Reddick, Jemile Weeks and Daric Barton for a leadoff double in the bottom of the 11th. All three players converged but no one made an attempt for it. On that play, it would seem the outfielder should be calling off the infielders. Afterward, Reddick said he was playing deep on Rodriguez and had a really long way to run for it. Still, it was an easier play for him than anybody.

Then again, you can’t have too many complaints with Reddick’s overall play Saturday. That running catch on B.J. Upton’s drive to end the ninth saved the game for the A’s at that point.

That’s all for now …