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Jaso likely headed to 7-day DL, Anderson to throw another bullpen Saturday

I’m out at the Coliseum tonight and Saturday, filling in for John Hickey. For more, you can catch me on Twitter at @Jimmy_Durkin.

A’s catcher John Jaso is expected to head to the 7-day concussion disabled list, pending Major League Baseball approval.
Jaso took several foul balls to the facemask during the past two games against the Houston Astros and was checked out before flying home with the team on Wednesday night. Stephen Vogt will take Jaso’s spot on the roster.
The 7-day DL, created in 2011, allows players a shorter stint away to recover only from a concussion and the league must approve any players placed on the list. If Jaso isn’t ready to be activated after the seven days, he’s automatically shifted to the 15-day DL.
Melvin expects the seven days to be enough for Jaso, who is batted .271 with three home runs and 21 RBIs.
Vogt played in four games in an earlier stint on the roster in June. The A’s won all four games. He batted .154 (2 for 13) and hit a solo home run n a 6-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.
n Pitcher Brett Anderson, out since May with a sprained right ankle, will throw another bullpen session on Saturday. He’ll throw 25 pitches, sit down to simulate a rest between innings, then throw 25 more.

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Rosales recall the end for Weeks as A’s seek help?

It’s been clear for a while, but today’s move to bring back Adam Rosales shouts the message that there is no room in Oakland for Jemile Weeks.

The winter before last, Weeks was the one untouchable player on the A’s roster after a .303 rookie season at second base. But he languished through a .221 sophomore slump in 2012 and this year he isn’t ever being talked about as being in the mix by the A’s front office.

For the month of July, Weeks is hitting .357 and that’s brought his overall average up to .282, so he appears to have recaptured the offense he lost last season.

Weeks appears to see the writing on the wall. He’s split time between second base and shortstop in the infield and has voluntarily made the move to the outfield, where he’s made 11 appearances for Triple-A Sacramento. Being more versatile will only add to his appeal.

But at this point, his appeal in Oakland is minimal. It seems likely he’ll be traded sooner or later, because the A’s have fallen out of love with him.

Rosales brings some defensive skills with him, but he was a .200 hitter with four homers in 48 games with the A’s before being taken off the roster and shipped to Sacramento, where he hit .240 in six games.

If the A’s are going to chase offensive improvement with the trading deadline just a week away, it’s almost certainly going to be at second base or shortstop.

The Phillies are fading a bit in the NL East (second place, but seven games behind Atlanta), and they seem willing to at least consider letting Chase Utley go, although it’s not clear how much they’d want in return or indeed if they are going to be buyers or sellers at the deadline.

Utley, hitting .286 with 13 homers, is 34 years old and will be a free agent next year, and could be just the thing for the A’s if they could pry him loose.

On the other end of the spectrum, if the A’s want to just bring in a solid defensive player at shortstop and move Jed Lowrie to full-time duty at second base, they could probably get Seattle’s Brendan Ryan for very little now that Ryan has become a backup in the Pacific Northwest.

The A’s have one more option at Triple-A in Hiro Nakajima, but his situation isn’t all that much better than Weeks’. Nakajima is riding a 14-game hitting streak (20-for-56, .357) through Tuesday, the longest such streak for a Sacramento player this season.

But while he’s brought his average up 19 points to .286 since July 4, he didn’t seem to be in the conversation either when the decision to bring Rosales up was made

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Game 100 wrapup: Moss doesn’t like his footwork; Jaso feeling better after being hit on the noggin; Parker no fan of `terrible fundamentals’

If position players could have wins and losses applied to their stat sheets, Brandon Moss would demand that Tuesday’s loss go on his.

There were three throw that came to first base in the course of the game that were errant in one way or another, and he felt he should have played better defense on them all.

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Game 99 wrapup: Young always a star in Houston

This season has been like none other Chris Young can remember.

It’s late July, the All-Star break has come and gone and he’s still hitting under .200.

He doesn’t play every day for Oakland, and he’s not a center fielder any more. He’s the A’s primary backup in left, right and center.

In one aspect, however, things are as right as ever. In Houston, Chris Young is an All-Star.

Young tripled and hit a solo homer in Monday’s 4-3 Oakland win over Houston. That’s pretty typical for Young when playing in his hometown. His career batting average in Minute Maid Park is .404.

He typically has between 20 to 60 friends and family members watching him from the stands when playing at home or, as he puts it, “every game here can be like a mini-family reunion.’’

So what gives when he plays in Houston? Young said he used to have a pat answer, but now he’s backing off from that.

“It was the same as always,’’ Young said after his 2-for-5 night. “I used to say it was a coincidence (that he hit so well in Houston), but now I don’t know. Maybe it’s the support I get from my family and friends. Maybe it’s because I like the batter’s eye here.

“The thing is, I try not to think too much about that when I’m at the plate. I just want to make good at-bats.’’

That may explain why he hits well in Houston, but it doesn’t address the sub-.200 batting average – .195 heading into Tuesday’s second game of the series in Houston.

“It’s a different situation than any I’ve ever been in,’’ Young said of his 221 at-bats this season. “Not playing every day has a lot to do with it. In most other years, I’d be in the mid-300s or might even have 400 at-bats by now.

“When you aren’t playing all the time, that changes things a bit. But it’s something I have to deal with. When I step into the batter’s box, I am not thinking about that.’’

And Young said the season still has plenty of time left in which he could make a nice rally over the final 10 weeks of the season.

“I know the numbers are how you are judged in this game,’’ Young said. “But I look at how each at-bat can be approached. That’s all you can ever do.’’

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A’s hope Colon won’t have to serve any more time

The axe fell in Milwaukee Monday when Ryan Braun reversed course on his previous claims of innocence concerning drug use and accepted a 65-day suspension that will see him play no more for the Brewers this year.

Braun’s name was one of those caught up in Major League Baseball’s pursuit of performance-enhancing drug users centered round the Biogenesis lab in Florida. Another of those named in the original papers was A’s starter Bartolo Colon, but it seems that the 50-day suspension Colon served at the end of the 2012 season and through the first five games of this year is all the time Colon will have to serve.

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Game 98 wrapup: Sogard trying to make a case for staying the course; bunt, double steal open up offense a bit and Moss discovers left field

After spending two days generating virtually no offense, the A’s were in a whatever-it-takes mode Sunday against the Angels.

That included the second homer of the month from Eric Sogard, who’d come into July homerless in over a year. It included three hits to left field from dead pull hitter Brandon Moss. It included a double steal from Josh Reddick and Chris Young. And it included a sacrifice bunt from Coco Crisp that turned into a hit and more.

Sogard, who’d broken a drought with a homer in Kansas City on July 7, said he was trying to move Young from second to third by hitting behind him in the third inning. He did that, and more, elevating a pitch from Jerome Williams enough to settle it into the first few rows of the bleachers near the foul pole.

“I just wanted to hit behind the runner,’’ Sogard said. “We’d been having some trouble scoring runs. I got a fastball inside and I was able to get it up a little.’’

With the trade deadline coming up, there are suggestions that the A’s might look to upgrade at second base, a position currently shared by Sogard, the left-hander, and the right-handed Grant Green. Sogard would like to make a case for staying the course.

His homer, single and two runs scored will help, although he’s just 11-for-47 (.234) in his last 18 games. However, seven of the 11 hits are for extra bases – five doubles and two homers.

 

–In the fifth, Sogard opened with an infield single to shortstop. With third baseman Alberto Callaspo playing about even with the base, Crisp decided on his own to drop a bunt down.

He did that. Callaspo charged, fielded the ball and threw it where first baseman Mark Trumbo had no chance to catch it. Sogard scored and Crisp wound up at third, from where he would score on the second of three Moss singles.

“I wasn’t bunting for a hit,’’ Crisp said. “I mean I was, but I was more focused on getting the ball down and moving the runner over. That was the important part of getting the ball down.’’

Manager Bob Melvin called the bunt, and Callaspo’s throwing error that made it 3-0, “the key part of the game.’’

“It’s not usual that Coco will be up there where the third baseman isn’t in,’’ the manager said. “But he wasn’t as close, and Coco went out and made something happen.’’

 

–That same kind of thought process and effort was behind the double steal by Reddick and Young. The A’s had a four-run lead in the sixth before Reddick singled and Young walked on four pitches, forcing Williams out of the game in favor of Garrett Richards. Sogard struck out, then with Crisp at the plate, Reddick lit out for third and Young for second.

Catcher Chris Iannetta threw wildly past third, giving Reddick a chance to bounce up and race home. Young would score on another Angels’ throwing error later in the inning.

“When the opportunity is there, we’ll push it,’’ Melvin said. “When you’re not swinging great is a good time to push it.’’

 

–Moss hadn’t been swinging great, and he hadn’t been swinging pretty either, so he decided to do something about that Sunday.

“I’ve been in the cage a lot, and I’m still searching for it,’’ Moss said. “This morning I said to somebody I was just going to go up and try to swing pretty. At least that way I’ll look better up there. Maybe I won’t look silly.

“If I’m going to hit .230, I might as well look good doing it. I was just trying to take good, fluid swings and stayed through some balls instead of trying to do too much, trying to hit a home run on every pitch. I’m not trying to take away my power, but holy crap, at a certain point, you have to do something.’’

Moss said that he’d never had three opposite-field hits in a game and, together with a second-inning pop to shortstop, he’d never hit the ball to the left side four times “in a game in my life. Not ever.’’

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Game 97 wrap: It’s time for Cespedes to speak up

In his first year and half in the big leagues, Yoenis Cespedes has never been comfortable talking to the media.

The A’s left fielder doesn’t speak as much English as he’d like, and while he can generally understand questions put to him, he relies on an interpreter, Ariel Prieto, to find the right words.

When Cespedes doesn’t want to talk, he lets that fact be known through Prieto

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Game 96 wrapup: Gray is gone, but perhaps not for long after impressive first big league stop

Sonny Gray was called aside by manager Bob Melvin after Friday’s 4-1 loss to the Angels and told he was being sent down to Triple-A Sacramento.

It wasn’t unexpected. Gray was called up to pitch for the A’s as long as they didn’t need fifth starter Dan Straily.

Oakland needs Straily to start Saturday, so the need is there, and it was evident all along that Gray’s stay would be short.

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Does Home Run Derby win have Cespedes ailing?

Manager Bob Melvin made a point before Friday’s game against the Angels of saying that the Home Run Derby victory by left fielder Yoenis Cespedes came without Cespedes getting injured.

It was a concern, because taking a large number of swings aimed at delivering baseballs into the bleachers has derailed more than one slugger after Home Run Derby wins over the years.

Then just before game time, Cespedes was scratched from the A’s starting lineup in left, replaced by Chris Young. The A’s said it was left wrist soreness that led to Cespedes being pulled.

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A’s 3, Red Sox 2 (11 innings)

OAKLAND – For a while Sunday, the A’s likely would have settled for a base runner of any kind, let alone a base hit. Snatching a victory away from the Boston Red Sox seemed almost unfathomable.

Yet, the A’s tied the game in the seventh inning on a two-run home run by Josh Donaldson, two batters after Coco Crisp notched the A’s first hit of the game, and then won the game, 3-2, in the 11th on a Donaldson run-scoring single.

A’s manager Bob Melvin called it “apropos” that Donaldson provided the punctuation mark on the first half of the season given how well Donaldson played the first 95 games.

Those in the A’s organization, as well as many people across the league, felt as if Donaldson deserved to be a part of the American League All-Star team.

Look no further than what Donaldson does in crucial situations, Melvin said, to understand his value.

“He’s a fighter,” Melvin said. “He’s got that competitive bone. In situations that are big, he’s not scared of them, he enjoys them. He looks forward to them. You can just see, there’s added focus, there’s desire and attention to what he’s doing. It’s been pretty impressive to watch.”

Reliever Sean Doolittle was one of three relievers that shut down the Red Sox after they jumped to a 2-0 lead.

Doolittle said Donaldson has been so consistent this season that the A’s almost take it for granted that he’s going to come through in the clutch situations.

The same can be said of an A’s team that won 56 games in the first half of the season, which matches the franchise record. That places them two games clear of the Texas Rangers in the American League West as they head to the All-Star Game break.

The last time the A’s were in sole possession of first place in the AL West was in 1990. Oh, and by the way, that’s the last time the A’s advanced to the World Series.

Sunday’s game is the kind of game people in these parts are accustomed to seeing. It might take awhile longer for others to realize that the A’s aren’t a one-year wonder.

Hence, when the A’s play top-tier teams such as the Reds, Cardinals, Pirates and Red Sox, as they did the past three weeks or so, they view it as an opportunity to open more eyes.

“When we get an opportunity to play a good team … we’re going out there trying to send a message that we are a really good team and that we’re for real,” Donaldson said.

Good teams find a way to win games. It’s what the A’s do so well, even when everything isn’t going their way, even against the team with the best record in the American League.

That was the case Sunday, with Red Sox rookie Brandon Workman holding the A’s hitless for six innings and outdueling A’s ace Bartolo Colon until the seventh.

Finally, the A’s broke through, with Donaldson hitting a ball as well as he can, by his estimation, for a game-tying home run that energized the A’s and the crowd.

His game-winning hit in the 11th sent the fans into a frenzy and the A’s into the break on a high.

“That’s huge,” Doolittle said. “One thing our guys do really well is making adjustments and giving us a chance to win the game later on. A walk-off is one thing but to win against a team like that that’s been playing so well, that’s big for us.”

It’s also more fodder for the A’s in making a case for inclusion in the conversation about legitimate World Series contenders.

“For us to be able to come out with a series win right there, especially with how well they were playing, says a lot about our team,” Donaldson said.

 

– Melvin sympathized with what Giants manager Bruce Bochy endured during Tim Lincecum’s no-hitter Saturday night.

Lincecum needed 148 pitches to complete his first no-hitter. That’s the most pitches thrown by a Giants pitcher in 35 years.

“You’d like to be able to enjoy that, but I’m sure Bruce Bochy wasn’t enjoying that with (Lincecum’s) pitch count where it was,” Melvin said. “Again, it’s very difficult to take a guy out of a no-hitter. … I don’t blame him what he did last night. You want to see a guy like him get a no-hitter.”

 

– The A’s are 107-64 since the 2012 All-Star Game break, far and away the best record in the majors. The Reds (103-69) and Braves (102-70) are next in line.

 

– David Ortiz entered Sunday’s game with a .130 career average (6 for 46) against Colon. That figure dropped to .122 after Ortiz went hitless in three at-bats vs. Colon.

 

– Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury arrived in Oakland as one of the game’s hottest hitters and riding a majors-best 19-game hitting streak. He went hitless the first two games of the three-game series but rebounded with three singles Sunday.

 

– A’s right fielder Josh Reddick struck out in all four of his plate appearances. That matched a career-high and snapped his streak of reaching base via hit or walk at 19 games.

 

– Melvin said his players need the four-day break that comes with the All-Star Game.

“Everybody is ready for a break,” Melvin said. “We’ve put a lot into this thing. We’ve been in (many) close games. … Everybody knows where the All-Star break is on the schedule.”

 

– Injured starting pitcher Brett Anderson might throw off a mound on the next road trip, Melvin said.

Once Anderson reaches the next step in his recovery from a right ankle sprain, Melvin will have a better grasp on Anderson’s time frame for a return.