In for John Hickey …
It seems like the A’s and Rangers have already played something like 20 times this season. Actually, it’s only been 10, and Oakland is 4-6 against them. After this three-game weekend set, they’ll still have home and home series to play, so while this series is big, it’s not edge of the dugout crucial.
What the A’s would like this weekend is to expand their cushion just a bit. In case you haven’t noticed, the A.L. playoff race is getting crowded and it’ll pay to stay in front in your division, because the wild card could become a real frenzy over the final two months. You’ve got four A.L. East teams still in the hunt. Cleveland entered Friday a game behind Detroit in the Central. Kansas City had won 9 of 10. So this is only starting to get interesting, and the A’s have assured themselves of absolutely nothing just yet.
Another thing to note. After this series, the Rangers play 24 consecutive games against teams with losing records, including seven games against Houston. The A’s over the next 24 is considerably tougher — a couple in Cincinnati, four in Toronto, three at home with Cleveland, a six-game roadie to Baltimore and Detroit, a three-game home set against Tampa Bay. OK, they do get three against Houston at home next week, but everything else is going to be a grind.
So where the A’s and Rangers stand will be more compelling when they meet next time against Texas, on Sept.. 2-4, and again Arlington Sept. 13-15.
Adam Rosales showed up for work Friday wearing a blue shirt with a big T on the front. It seemed a bit strange, because Rosales has been with the A’s a long time in their terms of long — four seasons.
So why did the Rangers claim him off waivers? Was it gamesmanship or something else.
Brett Anderson threw live B.P. to three A’s hitters — Stephen Vogt, Chris Young and Nate Freiman — and looked pretty sharp for a guy who hasn’t faced a batter since April.
Anderson threw 15 pitches in separate inning stints and also threw nearly 40 warmup pitches for a total in the mid-5os.
“He threw all his pitches, it looked like everything went smoothly,” said Melvin. “He had a crisp breaking ball. It’s not surprising. I know he’s pretty excited about getting back sooner than later, and it would suggest he’s kept his arm in pretty good shape.”
The A’s will announce Saturday the next course of action for Anderson, whether it’s another live B.P. session or a rehab game. Much will be determined by how his foot, not his arm, feels after Friday’s work. The foot, too, may determine Anderson’s role is once he does return to the A’s.
“He certainly looks stuff-wise like he’s close to midseason form, so it’s just taking the proper steps to make sure that we don’t get that foot back in a position where the stress in there could make it worse again,” said Melvin.
As for whether he’ll be used as a starter or reliever, that will be based on performance, both his own and that of others.
“I think that’ll be based on what the need is at the time,” Melvin said. “He could be back quicker if he were to be in the bullpen, but that has yet to be determined. I’m glad we have the option to potentially do both with him because often guys who’ve been starters want to continue in that role. He just wants to get back and help the team any way he can.”
John Jaso, already out a week with a concussion, will undergo more testing Saturday to determine how close he is to being ready to play, but it almost certainly won’t be anytime this weekend.
“We’ll have a pretty good idea once he goes through the rigors of the test how close he is,” Melvin said. “I know he’s getting better every day, so that’s a good sign.”
Josh Reddick also underwent tests after getting kneed in the head Tuesday night, but he’s back in the lineup Friday and Melvin said he’s feeling 100 percent.