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A’s G.M. Billy Beane has “no idea what Dallas is talking about”

A's general manager Billy Beane said he has no idea what Dallas Braden is talking about when he says the A's had an "application station" to teach minor leaguers how to doctor balls during spring training.

A’s general manager Billy Beane said he has no idea what Dallas Braden is talking about when he says the A’s had an “application station” to teach minor leaguers how to doctor balls during spring training.

OAKLAND — A’s general manager Billy Beane doesn’t seem to be buying into former pitcher Dallas Braden’s claim of widespread doctoring of baseballs during his time with Oakland.

“I didn’t see the quote, but I have no idea what Dallas is talking about,” Beane said a day after Braden detailed his method of doctoring balls on ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight.”

“We would have camp and in spring training, we would have different stations where you’re learning,” Braden said. “You’ve got your horn series signs, pickoffs, bunt defense, run down responsibilities.

“And then we had a little station that was the application station. And here, gentlemen, we’re going to learn how to gain an advantage or at least put ourselves in a little bit better position to gain control.” Continue Reading

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Doolittle excited to get his season started, even if it’s not as the closer right away

Sean Doolittle was activated on Tuesday and is set to make his 2015 debut.

Sean Doolittle was activated on Tuesday and is set to make his 2015 debut.

OAKLAND — A’s All-Star closer Sean Doolittle is back on the active roster and thrilled to be back, even if it won’t be as the closer initially.

“That’s the furthest thing from my mind,” Doolittle said of resuming closer duties. “I’m just excited to be back. I’ve told (Bob Melvin), however he wants to use me, I’ll be ready. I’m not even thinking about roles. I’ll just be ready when the phone rings. Hopefully I pitch well to get back in that conversation.”

Melvin, the A’s manager, said Tyler Clippard will hold onto the closer job for now and his hope is to work Doolittle slowly back into the mix. Ultimately, the games will dictate whether that’s realistic.

“Sometimes you get caught where you can’t help but use him in a big situation,” Melvin said. “You’d like to be able to ease him into a game. Throw an inning before you put him into a seventh or eighth inning with a couple guys on, but you never know how it’s going to play out.” Continue Reading

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Ken Korach makes his 2015 broadcast debut

Ken Korach was back on the air for the A's for the first time this season on Monday.

Ken Korach was back on the air for the A’s for the first time this season on Monday.

OAKLAND — Ken Korach was back at the O.co Coliseum on Monday and back on the air.

The A’s lead radio announcer, in his 20th season with the team, has missed the first 46 games while recovering from an injury to his artificial left knee.

Korach was expected to meet with the A’s medical team to evaluate his progress. He was back in the broadcast booth and took over the play-by-play duties for the third inning.

Korach’s return is not on a full-time basis yet, but he will call the occasional game while he continues to return to full health.

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Zobrist returns from the D.L., Doolittle back Tuesday and Cespedes returns to the Coliseum

Ben Zobrist is back from the disabled list. He's not in the the lineup Monday, but is available off the bench and will start Tuesday.

Ben Zobrist is back from the disabled list. He’s not in the the lineup Monday, but is available off the bench and will start Tuesday.

OAKLAND — The A’s activated second basemen/outfielder Ben Zobrist on Monday, a day shy of four weeks since he had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.

Zobrist isn’t in the lineup on Memorial Day to face the Detroit Tigers, but manager Bob Melvin said he’s available off the bench and will start Tuesday.

The timing of his return marks a bright spot for an A’s team finally seeing some on the field after winning consecutive games Saturday and Sunday for just the second time all year.

The timeline initially for Zobrist’s recovery was 4-6 weeks, so he was certainly pleased to already make his return.

“I felt like it was a pretty quick recovery,” Zobrist said. Continue Reading

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Ike Davis’ strained quad worse than thought, lands him on the D.L.

Ike Davis went on the DL on Saturday with his left quadriceps strain.

Ike Davis went on the DL on Saturday with his left quadriceps strain.

First baseman Ike Davis was placed on the disabled list Sunday with his strained left quadriceps after an MRI revealed it was worse than originally thought. The A’s recalled outfielder Craig Gentry from Triple-A Nashville to take his place.

Davis left Monday’s game against the Boston Red Sox after straining the quad running out a double. He stayed in the game initially, but was later replaced by a pinch-runner.

A’s manager Bob Melvin said at the time that he thought Davis would avoid the disabled list and Davis was used as a pinch-hitter Wednesday. But Davis finally got an MRI on Friday and that revealed a more serious Grade 2 strain.

Davis said a Grain 1 strain likely wouldn’t meant four or so days off and that’s clearly what the A’s thought this initially was. But the MRI showed otherwise and so Melvin said, “the best thing to do is put him on the D.L.” Continue Reading

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A’s target next homestand for Ben Zobrist’s return

Ben Zobrist could rejoin the A's when they return for their next homestand on May 25 against the Detroit Tigers.

Ben Zobrist could rejoin the A’s when they return for their next homestand on May 25 against the Detroit Tigers.

The A’s are hoping to have second baseman/outfielder Ben Zobrist back when they begin their next homestand on Memorial Day against the Detroit Tigers, manager Bob Melvin said.

Zobrist had athroscopic surgery on his left knee April 28 and will run the bases on Sunday. Assuming all goes well, he’ll run the bases once more and A’s manager Bob Melvin said he could begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment Tuesday or Wednesday.

The A’s begin a seven-game road trip Monday in Houston, where they’ll play the Astros for three games before a four-game set at the Tampa Bay Rays. Melvin doesn’t like the idea of Zobrist returning against his former team, citing the artificial turf at Tropicana Field.

“Even if he was able to play, I don’t know Tampa’s the place I’d want to play him on the turf,” Melvin said. Continue Reading

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A’s stuck on repeat in sixth straight loss, turn to golf for help

Late night at the Coliseum, so you’re getting my writethru that I filed (this one won’t appear in your morning newspapers), with one extra note.

Dustin Pedroia crosses home plate for the Red Sox first run of the night in theier 5-4 win over the A's, giving Oakland six straight losses. (Staff photo/D. Ross Cameron)

Dustin Pedroia crosses home plate for the Red Sox first run of the night in theier 5-4 win over the A’s, giving Oakland six straight losses. (Staff photo/D. Ross Cameron)

The A’s are stuck on repeat.

Oakland lost its sixth straight game when Pablo Sandoval returned to the Bay Area and hit a solo home run in the 11th inning to propel the Boston Red Sox to a 5-4 win.

It was a night that felt all too familiar for the A’s, who dropped to 0-6 in extra-inning games, 1-11 in one-run games and watched their maligned bullpen blow another lead.

“It’s the same story here,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “It’s getting tough to explain. It seems like we’ve played this same game so many times this year.”

Oakland’s 32-year-old rookie Angel Castro surrendered the blast to Sandoval on an 0-2 pitch that was up and on the inner half of the strike zone and right in Sandoval’s hit-me zone. Continue Reading

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Doolittle ready for a rehab assignment, no updates on Parker or Griffin

Sean Doolittle faced live hitters for the second time Monday and his next step will be a minor league rehab appearance.

Sean Doolittle faced live hitters for the second time Monday and his next step will be a minor league rehab appearance.

OAKLAND — The A’s are back home after a miserable road trip that concluded with a three-game sweep in Seattle and are looking for any slivers of good news.

There might be at least one. All-Star closer Sean Doolittle threw to live hitters for the second time Monday. The session went well and his next step is a rehabilitation assignment.

“Really happy with how things went,” said Doolittle, out with a strained left rotator cuff. “I feel like I was able to move the ball around and changed speeds, changed eye level, move the fastball up and down around the zone. Really excited about it.”

A’s manager Bob Melvin confirmed that Doolittle’s next session will come in a rehab assignment, although the date and location hasn’t been determined. Continue Reading

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Zobrist rides a bike a day after surgery, Crisp in Stockton this weekend and injury updates galore

Ben Zobrist was riding an exercise bike a day after knee surgery and relieved that have it taken care of.

Ben Zobrist was riding an exercise bike a day after knee surgery and relieved that have it taken care of.

OAKLAND — Ben Zobrist didn’t waste time being active a day after having arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.

Zobrist rode an exercise bike for 20 minutes and had minimal swelling in the knee and expressed optimism about beating his original 4-6 week projection.

“I’m looking at less time than that, but it depends on how it goes once I start ramping up the activity,” Zobrist said.

Head trainer Nick Paparesta brief the media on the A’s laundry list of injuries and was pleased with where Zobrist is at, but said it’s too early to look at timelines until he’s reevaluated in a week.

“I know there’s a lot of timelines floating around, but it seems like a lot of WebMD to me,” Paparesta said.

Zobrist was happy to have the procedure done after spending a week trying to fight through the pain. Continue Reading

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Bullpen and defense burns the A’s again as they’re swept by the first-place Astros(!)

Bob Melvin was ejected in the fourth inning of the A's fourth straight loss, which completed a series sweep by the Houston Astros. (Susan Tripp Pollard/Bay Area News Group)

Bob Melvin was ejected in the fourth inning of the A’s fourth straight loss, which completed a series sweep by the Houston Astros. (Susan Tripp Pollard/Bay Area News Group)

The A’s were just swept by the first-place Houston Astros. (I’ll pause as you allow that to sink in for a moment).

No, it wasn’t a great weekend of baseball at O.co Coliseum for the green and gold. Manager Bob Melvin continues to bemoan the lack of consistency and the team continues to have the type of differential in wins and losses that doesn’t seem sustainable.

Through 20 games, the A’s have outscored teams 62-6 in their eight wins and have been outscored 79-34 in their 12 losses. About the only way they can win is if they get dominant pitching and the bats come alive.

The A’s are 0-7 in days games (bats do sleep during the day, right?), winless in games decided by two or fewer runs (0-8) and winless when allowing three or more runs (0-10). Simply put, if the game is a slug fest on both sides, the A’s don’t have a chance right now.

Why? Continue Reading