PREGAME NOTES: Michael Taylor likely on the trade block for A’s

A’s outfielder Michael Taylor has enjoyed a productive spring training, but time appears to be running out on his tenure in Oakland. The 28-year-old Stanford product is out of options and there’s not a spot on the A’s Opening Day roster for him.

Manager Bob Melvin indicated a trade could be likely for Taylor.

“You never know how it plays out here but he’s created this situation for him,” Melvin said of Taylor. “I know other teams are looking at him and watching him pretty hard. It’s a credit to him that he played so relaxed this spring and put up the numbers that he did. Regardless what happens, I feel that he’ll end up in a good situation for him.”

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Game 125 wrapup: Deflating night for A’s could have long-term consequences

The A’s lost a game on Tuesday night, and it was an ugly loss. The eighth inning has to rank up there among the worst they’ve played this season. But this is baseball. Teams, even ones who achieve postseason success, suffer losses they want to forget about.

But if the injury to Derek Norris knocks him out for some time, this is the type of game that could be felt a little longer. A’s manager Bob Melvin confirmed after the game that Norris has a fractice left big toe. Norris didn’t speak with the media, but was seen limping heavily through the locker room after the game.

Melvin didn’t know yet if Norris would need to go on the disabled list. One would certainly think so. Broken toes are tricky. There’s really not much you can do to them. They just have to heal on their own, typically. But a toe, especially a big toe, is pretty key for a catcher. They spend all game in the squat and in case you’ve never been in a squat, there’s a lot of pressure being placed on the toe. Factor in the potential for taking a really painful foul ball off the toe (and that happens fairly often) and it seems pretty likely that Norris will be gone at least until early September.

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Slow day is good day at the Coliseum

It’s late August, the A’s are a half-game back of first place in the American League West and yet there really isn’t a ton to report before tonight’s second game of a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners. That’s probably not a bad thing. The A’s seem to be a relaxed and confident team with the September stretch drive around the corner.

Of course, after the game the A’s hope to be talking about another strong Sonny Gray start and a return to first place.

There were a couple small notes from manager Bob Melvin’s pregame session:

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Anderson throws bullpen, Pujols out for Angels

Jimmy Durkin in for John Hickey again today. For more in game info, follow me on Twitter
OAKLAND — A’s pitcher Brett Anderson threw 51 pitches during an up-down bullpen session on Saturday as he continues his rehab from a sprained right ankle.
“I think the effort he used today was closer to game effort so he is progressing the way we want him to progress and we’ll see where the next step goes,” A’s pitching coach Curt Young said.
Anderson warmed up like he would at the start of a game by throwing long toss before beginning his first bullpen session. He sat down to simulate the break between innings — “Curt said we scored two runs,” Anderson said — then got back up for his final 25 pitches.
“It was good,” Anderson said. “Going into it I felt like there wouldn’t be any problems, but you never know how you’re going to react to sitting.”
The next step is likely for Anderson to throw a simulated game. The team will wait until Sunday to see how Anderson feels, then come up with a plan for the next step.
n Albert Pujols was out of the Angels lineup Saturday and was sent back to Southern California to have his left foot examined. The foot’s bothered him throughout the season and was aggravated while running to first after singling in the ninth on Friday night.
“He’s sore,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “Right at the end when he got the hit in the ninth inning, just running, it didn’t feel good. He’ll be evaluated today and we’ll see what’s going on.”
Scioscia didn’t rule out a trip to the disabled list for Pujols.
n The A’s are wearing bright gold 1969 throwback uniforms for Saturday’s game. A’s manager Bob Melvin seemed a bit uncomfortable in the colorful uniforms, but overall said he liked the idea of wearing the old threads.
“I watched these teams when I was younger so that makes it kind of cool,” said Melvin, a Bay Area native. “When I saw Chip Hale put on his uniform earlier with his No. 14, I instantly thought of Vida Blue.”
Melvin said Hale, the A’s bench coach, was particularly excited about the throwbacks and was in uniform by 8 a.m.


Game 102 wrapup: A’s bats go south after lead disappears

After four innings, there was a good vibe pointing in the A’s favor as they battled Angels starter C.J. Wilson.
Wilson, just five days removed from tossing 8 1/3 scoreless innings in a 2-0 win over the A’s, was watching his pitch count soar. After an 8-pitch first inning, he threw 29 in the second inning.
By the end of the fourth, Wilson was at 91 pitches. The A’s had just put two runs on the board to grab a 2-1 lead.
Then, Dan Straily lost command and began serving up hittable pitches. The Angels knocked him from the game with a four-run fifth and that seemed to zap the life out of the A’s.
They stopped working deep counts, stopped putting runners on base and inexplicably allowed Wilson to toss threw more innings. A’s manager Bob Melvin credited Wilson with being more aggressive with the lead.
“He started pounded the strike zone a little more once they got the lead,” Melvin said. “I think he realized too that he had to throw some more strikes and he did. We tried to take advantage of some of those first-pitch strikes and hit a predictable fastball.”
Obviously, the A’s couldn’t take advantage enough. Derek Norris did crush a first pitch fastball for a home run in the sixth, but by then the Angels had an 8-2 lead.
It basically was a evil combination for the A’s. The pitchers couldn’t get outs and the hitters couldn’t get hits.
The Angels sent 15 batters to the plate in the fifth and sixth innings. Those batters went 9 for 13, with eight singles, a double, six RBIs, seven runs, a walk and a sacrifice fly.
Meanwhile, after putting seven runners on base in the first four innings, the A’s had only two baserunners over the final five innings. There was the Norris home run and that was it until a broken bat single by Chris Young in the ninth.
– Yoenis Cespedes had his right knee heavily wrapped after the game, although Melvin said it was just a scrape. It apparently occured while sliding into home when he scored on a wild pitch in the fourth.
– The sixth inning was a frustrating one to watch for the A’s as the first five batters singled. That included a bunt single by J.B. Shuck. A’s reliever Jesse Chavez, who allowed the first four hits, called the frustration just part of baseball.
“It is (frustrating), but that’s baseball,” Chavez said. “It’s a game of inches. If they hit it six inches one way or six inches the other way, it’s an out. That’s how you have to look at it and come back tomorrow and put the nose to the grindstone again.”
– Melvin isn’t looking over his shoulder for help as the trade deadline looms on July 31.
“Whether something’s done or not, we feel like we have a good team,” Melvin said before the game.
“It would be one thing if everybody was looking around and we had a glaring weakness,” Melvin said. “You’re just trying to incrementally upgrade your team and if there’s something out there to be done, then you do it.
“Organizations like us are probably a little more careful with young players knowing that we implement them a little sooner and there’s some turnover here every few years based on some financial restrictions, but I don’t think it’s anything that will affect us.”
The A’s remain three games ahead of the second-place Texas Rangers.
“I think based on where we are right now, we feel good about our team,” he said. “You don’t look too far ahead. You have long-term goals and short-team goals. Our long-term goal is that yeah, I think we can go back to the postseason again. But we narrow it back down to today and doing everything we can to win today.”


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.


Anderson’s ankle still sore, return timetable undetermined

A’s pitcher Brett Anderson is still feeling soreness in his sprained right ankle and won’t be activated from the disabled list when he becomes eligible Thursday.

There was hope that he could start Friday’s game against the Kansas City Royals, but after testing the ankle Tuesday, Anderson reported still feeling soreness and will remain out of action for “the foreseeable future,” manager Bob Melvin said..

Anderson threw a bullpen session Tuesday and joined pitchers for fielding practice. He felt fine while throwing off the mound, but the drills on the field is what led to the soreness.

“We’re not at the point where we’re comfortable putting him out on a big league mound again and going through what we had to the last couple of times,” Melvin said.

Jarrod Parker will make what amounts to a regularly-scheduled start on Friday when the A’s open a three-game series with the Royals.

Chris Young (strained left quad) could rejoin the team for that series. He was back in Oakland on Wednesday to be evaluated and will play the outfield Thursday for Triple-A Sacramento. If all goes well, he’ll be activated Friday.



Crisp activated, leading off in CF for A’s

It’s an early morning back at the Coliseum following Tuesday’s 6-5 loss in 10 innings to the Texas Rangers. The clubhouse hasn’t opened yet, but there’s a bit of news with the lineup posted outside. As expected, Coco Crisp has been activated and will play this afternoon.

This was the first day he was eligible to come off the disabled list from his hamstring injury and the indications over the past couple of days made it seem like he would be back. The A’s went 5-9 during Crisp’s stint on the DL and overall are 6-11 when he’s out of the lineup. That makes them 14-10 when he plays.

Here’s the full A’s lineup for today’s series finale with the Rangers: CF Coco Crisp, C John Jaso, SS Jed Lowrie, DH Yoenis Cespedes, RF Brandon Moss, 3B Josh Donaldson, LF Seth Smith, 1B Daric Barton, 2B Eric Sogard, P Dan Straily.


Rangers 6, A’s 5: One comeback, but not two

First things first, I’ll get to the latest news. Michael Taylor has been optioned to Triple-A Sacramento. It hasn’t been made official, but bank on Coco Crisp being activated tomorrow and in the lineup for the series finale against the Texas Rangers. Taylor had just one hit in 23 at-bats during this stint in Oakland. He was 0 for 1 tonight, although he did draw two walks.

Onto the game, it was one that had to be frustrating for the A’s. It looked like a loss early, then looked like a win, then a loss, then possibly a win… You get the point.

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Cespedes back after feeling “upside down,” Crisp nears return, Young not yet 100 percent

– Jimmy Durkin, filling in for the next two days for John Hickey

Yoenis Cespedes put a scare into A’s fans on Monday when he trotted off the field before the top of the fifth inning and left the game, prompting fears he was injured.

It was later announced he left with a stomach illness and the Cuban slugger is back in the lineup for Tuesday night’s game against the Texas Rangers.

Cespedes feels better today, but, through a translator, said, “my stomach was all upside down yesterday.”

“It was upside down a couple times — in that bathroom,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said, motioning to the dugout bathroom. “You’ve got to make sure that Purell dispenser has plenty of refills.” Continue Reading