A’s-Angels postgame: Home, afternoon woes continue; Chavez not using illness as an excuse

Pitcher Jesse Chavez is one of the A’s that isn’t feeling 100 percent right now. He’s a little “under the weather” as manager Bob Melvin said.

But Chavez was hardly using that as an excuse for his uneven starting performance in Thursday’s 6-5 loss to the Angels.

“Physically I feel fine, that’s not an excuse. You still have to go and get outs regardless of how you feel,” Chavez said. “You’re arm’s not working or anything is ailing you, then it’s still not an excuse. It’s just a little bug, but what are you going to do?”

In another spot start, Chavez allowed seven hits and four earned runs in five innings Thursday, to go with five strikeouts. The Angels did most of their damage in the fifth inning, as Kole Calhoun singled to score two runs. David Freese then grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Mike Trout from third and give the Angels a 4-0 lead.

In Chavez’ last start against the Angels on April 23, Calhoun hit a two-run homer, the only hit Chavez allowed in six innings in what was a 2-0 loss to the Halos.

“I tried to make a couple pitches and unfortunately, they got a little bit too much of the plate and found a little bit too much of a hole to get through,” Chavez said. “On the bright side, I didn’t see the outfielder’s numbers or the names on the back of their jerseys, so it wasn’t a matter of me leaving the ball over the plate too much. They didn’t put too good a swings on it, it was just they put enough on it.”

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Doolittle “felt great” after latest bullpen, Canha back in the lineup and A’s try to end day game struggles

The A’s bullpen continues to struggle, but Oakland and manager Bob Melvin have been receiving good news on closer Sean Doolittle.

Doolittle threw a 25-pitch bullpen Thursday, just fastballs and changeups, and came out of it just fine, according to Melvin. It’s the first time Doolittle has thrown three days in a row.

“Felt great,” Melvin said Thursday morning before the A’s hosted the Angels to wrap up a six-game homestand. “He’ll probably take a couple days off and throw another bullpen on Sunday.”

There is a cautious approach when it comes to Doolittle’s left rotator cuff injury. But there’s no question that the A’s bullpen has struggled without him, as it possesses a 1-7 record and a 4.37 ERA in 68 innings. The seven losses are the most in the big leagues.

The A’s bullpen has allowed two runs or more in eight of the last 13 games and nine home runs for the season. Wednesday, Ryan Cook allowed three earned runs in a third of an inning in the 6-3 loss to the Angels.

“It’s not (a strength) right now, but it will be in my opinion,” Melvin said. “Just like when hitters go into slumps, it gets contagious at times and maybe a little bit too much in the bullpen right now and guys are maybe trying to do a little too much. We have some quality guys down there with some track records, we’re just not getting it done at this point. My feeling is we’ll get a lot better as we go on.”

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Surgery possible for Conor Jackson

Conor Jackson will visit with Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia in the next couple of days to get his lower abdomen injury properly diagnosed. But the A’s outfielder said it’s possible he’ll need surgery to repair the problem, which would pretty much end his season. 

Jackson said he’s has felt discomfort in his lower abdomen and groin area since spring training. But he was hoping to put off any procedure to help him eradicate the pain until after the season. Jackson said he felt pain Thursday night in his first at-bat, and he had a hard time getting out of bed when he woke up this morning. He was later placed on the DL for the third time this season.

“It’s borderline embarrassing, because I come over to an organization and I’ve only played (18) games and I know they had high regards for me coming over here,” said Jackson, who was acquired from Arizona on June 15. “It’s just frustrating, and that’s really not even the word I’m looking for.  It’s probably something more.”

Jackson hasn’t been diagnosed yet, but if he needs surgery, the recovery time is between 4-6 weeks, so he should be ready for spring training next year. He’s until team control next season. Travis Buck had hernia surgery in 2006 when he was in the minors, and Meyers performed QB Donovan McNabb’s hernia surgery in Nov. 2005.  

Interestingly enough, Jackson’s injury opens the door for Buck to establish himself as an everyday outfielder. He’s in the lineup tonight.

A night off for Mark Ellis, as Steve Tolleson gets the start at second base. Three hours before the game, A’s manager Bob Geren was unsure if Craig Breslow or Michael Wuertz would be available tonight. But Breslow told Geren that his bruised forearm had been feeling much better.

The lineups

A’s — Crisp CF, Barton 1B, Suzuki C, Cust DH, Kouzmanoff 3B, Davis LF, Buck RF, Tolleson 2B, Pennington SS, Mazzaro P.

Rays — Jaso C, Zobrist 2B, Crawford LF, Longoria 3B, Pena 1B, Joyce RF, Aybar DH, Upton CF, Bartlett SS, Hellickson P.


Conor Jackson to DL

The A’s injury woes continued Friday as outfielder Conor Jackson was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a lower abdominal strain. Jeff Larish was called up from Triple-A Sacramento to take Jackson’s spot on the roster.

It’s been an injury plagued season for Jackson, who latest DL stint is his third this season. He came off the DL on  Monday after sitting out over a month with a strained right hamstring. That same injury sidelined for over two weeks from April 19 to May 6.

It’s the 23rd time the A’s have used the DL this season, two shy of the team record set in 2008. We’re just going down to the clubhouse now to hopefully find out more from Jackson himself.


Lights! Camera! Let’s do another take!

 The filming of “Moneyball” continues today at the Coliseum, giving us novices a glimpse of how involved (and tedious) it is to make a movie. Right now, Greg Papa and Glen Kuiper are in a booth right next to the press box discussing the 2002 Opening Day game against the Rangers (sounds like Papa is going to be given a few actual lines to say in the movie other than giving the play-by-play).

Earlier today, they shot a scene on the field where Art Howe comes out of the dugout to take Tim Hudson out of the game and bring in Chad Bradford. I saw them shoot the same scene three times after I arrived at 2:45 p.m., but they wrapped things up on the field by 3 p.m.

Your 2002 A’s lineup, just in case you’re curious – Jeremy Giambi LF, Randy Velarde 2B, Scott Hatteberg DH, David Justice RF, Eric Chavez 3B, Miguel Tejada SS, Terrence Long CF, Ramon Hernandez C, Carlos Pena 1B, Mark Mulder P.

Tejada hitting sixth? Really, Art Howe? Really?

As for the 2010 A’s, closer Andrew Bailey (rib strain) will not throw for at least two or three more days. Bob Geren said that likely rules Bailey out for Friday’s opener against Texas, but it’s still possible he’ll be available for Saturday or Sunday.

Ben Sheets was in the A’s clubhouse Monday afternoon and said he’ll have surgery to repair the torn flexor tendon on his right elbow next week in Dallas.   

The A’s lineup (2010 version) – Crisp CF, Barton 1B, Suzuki C, Cust DH, Kouzmanoff 3B, Rosales 2B, Davis LF, Watson RF, Pennington SS, Cahill P.


Trevor Cahill named to AL All-Star team

In a somewhat expected announcement, A’s starter Trevor Cahill was named to the American League All-Star team by New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi.  Cahill, with an 8-2 record and a 2.74 ERA, got the nod over closer Andrew Bailey (15 saves, 1.64 ERA) and reliever Craig Breslow and catcher Kurt Suzuki.

Cahill had been mentioned as a candidate for a couple of weeks, but he really solidified his status with his past two outings with wins over Pittsburgh and Baltimore.


The lineups

A’s — Crisp CF, Barton 1B, Sweeney RF, Cust DH, Ellis 2B, Gross LF, Rosales 3B, Powell C, Pennington SS, Mazzaro P.

Indians — Brantley CF, Nix 2B, Santana C, Hafner DH, Kearns RF, Peralta 3B, LaPorta 1B, Crowe LF, Hernandez SS, Carmona P.


Dallas Braden placed on DL; Mark Ellis sits

Not a ton of news on what’s shaping up to be another nice night for baseball in Cleveland. As expected, Dallas Braden was placed on the 15-day DL to make room for tonight’s starter, Clay Mortensen. Not sure if this just a spot start for Mortensen since the A’s don’t necessarily need a fifth starter next week, but he could certainly make a case for himself to make more appearances for the A’s this season should he pitch well tonight.

A day off for Mark Ellis today, as Adam Rosales starts at second base. Gabe Gross is back in left field, as Conor Jackson still needs more time to rest his right hamstring. He said the discomfort is in a different spot than it was when he had to go on DL in April with a strained right hamstring.

A’s manager Bob Geren said Brett Anderson will throw again tomorrow in a simulated game and possibly in an actual game on the 9th. Geren said it’s too soon to speculate when he’ll be back in the A’s rotation, but the 19th in the series opener against the Red Sox at the Coliseum is a possibility (my words, not his).

The lineups

A’s — Crisp CF, Barton 1B, Kouzmanoff 3B, Suzuki C, Sweeney RF, Cust DH, Rosales 2B, Gross LF, Pennington SS, Mortensen P.

Indians — Crowe CF, Nix 2B, Santana C, Hafner DH, Kearns RF, Peralta 3B, LaPorta 1B, Duncan LF, Donald SS, Westbrook P.


Braden still on track for Saturday

Dallas Braden said his throwing session, which included flat ground throwing and a roughly 30-pitch bullpen session, went well. His arm feels much better now than it did Tuesday, when it was too tight to pitch. He said tomorrow will “tell the story” but A’s manager Bob Geren said the plan remains for Braden to pitch Saturday.

Coco Crisp and Conor Jackson are both out of the lineup. Crisp said he feels fine, so it’s just a day off to get his legs some rest. There are no lingering problems from his crash into the center field wall last night, and he should be ready for Friday’s opener in Cleveland.

Jackson, though, has some tightness in his legs and Geren said he’s day-to-day. Gabe Gross starts in left field, Rajai Davis in center and Ryan Sweeney in right.

Travis Buck went through a workout in Phoenix Wednesday with sprints and BP. He’ll obviously need to get in baseball shape before any rehab assignment can begin.

The lineups

A’s – Davis CF, Barton 1B, Kouzmanoff 3B, Suzuki C, Sweeney RF, Cust DH, Ellis 2B, Gross LF, Pennington SS, Cahill P.

O’s – Patterson LF, Tejada DH, Markakis RF, Wigginton 1B, Jones CF, Wieters C, Bell 3B, Moore 2B, Izturis SS, Arrieta P.


Braden still eyes Saturday; Anderson throws off mound

Dallas Braden said he’ll play catch tomorrow and tentatively throw off flat ground in an attempt to get ready for a possible start Saturday against Cleveland.

Braden said a major problem in his progression is that he feels like he’s starting from square one every time he wakes up. He’s tried heating pads and anti-inflammatories at night before he goes to bed to help feel better once he starts his day, but the elbow has almost always been a little stiff. Bob Geren said if things go well for Braden tomorrow, he’ll be the likely starter on Saturday.

Brett Anderson threw 40 pitches off a mound on Monday in Phoenix with hitters standing in the box but not swinging. The next step for Anderson will be to pitch again on Friday or Saturday (there seems to some confusion) with hitters possibly swinging.   

Ryan Sweeney is back in right field for the A’s, with Coco Crisp in center and Conor Jackson in left. Gabe Gross is the DH tonight as Jack Cust sits for a second straight day. Geren said it’s a matchup thing with Kevin Millwood. Gross is 5-for-6 with a homer against Millwood, and Cust is just 4-for-23 with 12 K’s. Geren said Cust will be in there tomorrow against Jake Arrieta.

BTW, an absolutely gorgeous night for baseball here at Camden Yards. About 75 degrees, slight breeze, relatively low humidity. Is this Baltimore or Walnut Creek?

The lineups

A’s – Crisp CF, Barton 1B, Jackson LF, Suzuki C, Kouzmanoff 3B, Sweeney RF, Ellis 2B, Gross DH, Pennington SS, Sheets P.

O’s – Patterson LF, Tejada 3B, Markakis RF, Wigginton 1B, Scott DH, Jones CF, Wieters C, Moore 2B, Izturis SS, Millwood P.


Braden to miss start; Mazzaro fills in

Because of elbow stiffness, Dallas Braden will not start tonight’s game against Baltimore. Braden’s next start is TBA, but manager Bob Geren said Saturday night against Cleveland be a possibility as he aims to give Braden more rest. Vin Mazzaro will start tonight’s game.

Just a couple of hours ago, Braden was going through a normal pregame routine as he prepared for his first start since June 22. But the six days off didn’t do enough for Braden’s problematic elbow, which has been an issue for about two weeks. In his last two starts, Braden has thrown mainly fastballs and changeups, with only a handful of breaking pitches mixed in.

Former Athletic Jake Fox was initially supposed to DH tonight for the Orioles, but he has been scratched in favor of Adam Jones. No Ryan Sweeney for the A’s, as he rests his knees for another day. He should be good to go Wednesday. Mark Ellis starts at DH, as Geren starts more right handed bats against the lefty Brian Matusz.  

The lineups:

A’s — Crisp CF, Barton 1B, Jackson LF, Suzuki C, Kouzmanoff 3B, Rosales 2B, Ellis DH, Davis RF, Pennington SS, Mazzaro P.

O’s — Patterson LF, Tejada 3B, Markakis RF, Wigginton 1B, Scott DH, Jones CF, Tatum C, Lugo 2B, Izturis SS, Matusz P.