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Cook tries to get on top of ball in effort to correct flaw

Ryan Cook says he's trying to get his fingers more on top of the ball to drive it lower in the strike zone.

Ryan Cook says he’s trying to get his fingers more on top of the ball to drive it lower in the strike zone.

It’s good to be a veteran, as the A’s Ryan Cook attested Tuesday.

On Monday he gave up three runs in two innings as his bloated spring ERA settled in at 16.88.

The 2012 All-Star took a matter-of-fact look at the situation.

“If I wasn’t a veteran,’’ he said, “I might not be here right now.’’

Instead of being shipped down to the minor league camp, which would be the fate of a rookie, he’s getting time to work out his issues, spending time with pitching coach Curt Young. He’s healthy and he’s feeling stronger than he has in a couple of years, and he has the advantage of not making himself crazy about his mid-spring struggles.

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Bassitt needs to throw at lefties to manage inside corner

Chris Bassitt is trying to get his pitches inside to left-handed hitters.

Chris Bassitt is trying to get his pitches inside to left-handed hitters.

The lessons Cactus League hitters are administering to Chris Bassitt aren’t being lost on the A’s right-hander.

Bassitt was knocked around for five runs in 4.1 innings Monday in an 8-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians, leaving his ERA for the spring at a staggering 8.76.

Each time out, the story is the same. He does just fine against right-handed hitters, but lefties keep crushing his fastball.

“I have to be able to throw inside to left-handed hitters,’’ he said. “I’ve always been able to get away with it in the minor leagues. But up here, they hit that. I’ve been working at that my whole life, honestly. At this level you can’t beat anyone if you can’t.

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Rodriguez down but he’s likely to be back mid-season

When Fernando Rodriguez got sent over to the A’s minor league camp after Sunday’s game, there were still 20 pitchers left in the big league camp, so on the face of it, the numbers facing Rodriguez weren’t good.

But other than the dozen pitchers who will start on Oakland’s big league roster come April 6, Rodriguez could still be as close to the big leagues as anyone.

The problem for him is that the A’s have a lot of unknown pitchers around in that last group of eight, while he is very much a known quantity. The fact that he gave up two hits and took the loss against the Reds Sunday in Goodyear didn’t much play into the decision to send him down. That move was in the works before he pitched Sunday.

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Hahn, Graveman on verge of starting season in A’s rotation

Jesse Hahn is on the verge of starting the season in the A's rotation, as is another newcomer, Kendall  Graveman

Jesse Hahn is on the verge of starting the season in the A’s rotation, as is another newcomer, Kendall Graveman

It’s going to be probably another week or so before manager Bob Melvin announces his starting rotation.

The holdovers from last year, Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir, are locks, but the makeup of the rest of the rotation is up for grabs, they tell us. But is it?

It’s looking increasingly as if both Jesse Hahn and Kendall Graveman have pitched their way onto the staff. That likely would mean Drew Pomeranz also is in and Jesse Chavez is due to be the long man in the bullpen.

In the cases of Hahn and Graveman, the deeper they get into the spring, the better they look. Manager Bob Melvin used the word “terrific’’ in describing Hahn on Saturday, then came back with “we haven’t seen him struggle yet’’ when talking about Graveman Sunday.

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Reddick’s WrestleMania debut has to be on hold for now

Josh Reddick says his WWE championship belt, a gift from Tiple-H, is among his most prized possessions.

Josh Reddick says his WWE championship belt, a gift from Tiple-H, is among his most prized possessions.

A’s right fielder Josh Reddick had this coming weekend all planned out.

“I looked at the WWE schedule when they announced WrestleMania was going to be in Santa Clara,’’ he said. “It’s always the end of March. And we’re always home then for the Bay Bridge Series. It was going to work out perfect.’’

For Reddick, such a huge WWE fan that he has a championship belt given to him by his favorite wrestler, Triple-H, perfection did not come as expected.

“I looked at our spring schedule and this year we’re a week late,’’ he said Sunday morning. The A’s won’t open the season until April 6 at home against Texas, so the three-game Bay Bridge meetup with the Giants won’t happen until April 2-4, the better part of a week after WrestleMania comes to Levis Stadium on March 29.

Reddick grew up as a wrestling fan in Georgia got away from it for a while, but got back into about seven years ago. He numbers Triple-H among his friends, has gotten plenty of time behind stage at WWE events, and he had a brief “beard-off’’ with the WWE’s Daniel Bryan, Bryan winning and shaving Reddick’s beard after the 2013 season.

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New kid Lawrie sees a bright future for A’s infield defense

A's third baseman Brett Lawrie is finding his new environment in Oakland very much to his liking.

A’s third baseman Brett Lawrie is finding his new environment in Oakland very much to his liking.

This new kid in school thing is working for Brett Lawrie.

After three seasons wearing a Toronto uniform, he’s the new A’s third baseman, and he’s getting more comfortable every day in Oakland green and gold.

“It’s like you move to a new country,’’ Lawrie, a Canadian, said. “Or if you move from state to state. You go to a new school and you start to learn new people. We’re all getting to know the group.’’

Lawrie had his biggest day of the spring so far with a three-run homer and a leaping catch that saved two runs for starting pitcher Jesse Hahn in an 8-1 A’s win over the Cincinnati Reds.

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Fuld’s jaw injury `could be worse;’ he should be back soon

Sam Fuld took some batting practice early Saturday, suggesting he won't need much time off after being hit in the jaw by a thrown ball.

Sam Fuld took some batting practice early Saturday, suggesting he won’t need much time off after being hit in the jaw by a thrown ball.

Sam Fuld showed up at Hohokam Stadium Saturday with the left side of his jaw slightly swollen, the residue of having been hit there by an errant throw during Friday’s road game against the Rockies.

The Oakland outfielder had to go to a local hospital after being hit in the seventh inning. He had an abrasion on his jawline and said he had a cut on the inside of his mouth, but was otherwise well enough.

In particular he wasn’t having any nausea or headaches, and that was a major concern given his history with concussions, including one that had him on the shelf for five weeks last summer.

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Zito creating a nice market for himself each time he throws

Barry Zito is creating a strong market for his services by looking sharper every time he throws.

Barry Zito is creating a strong market for his services by looking sharper every time he throws.

Any given spring training game will see scouts from other organizations hanging around, so it can be difficult to tell when teams are interested in a player and when they are just window shopping.

The more Barry Zito throws this spring, the more interest he’s getting from teams that don’t have the overload of starting pitching the A’s do. Some teams are still window shopping, but more and more it seems that clubs in the pitching doldrums see Zito, throwing harder and with better break on his curve, as a potential solution to what ails their rotation.

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Fuld salutes 49ers’ Borland’s move to retire over concussion

Sam Fuld won't back off the challenge jumping into outfield walls despite last year's concussion.

Sam Fuld won’t back off the challenge jumping into outfield walls despite last year’s concussion.

There were many who were stunned earlier this week to learn that 24-year-old 49ers Chris Borland was retiring over concerns about concussions and long term brain damage.

A’s center fielder Sam Fuld was not one of those.  Fuld was on the shelf for five weeks last year while playing with the Minnesota Twins thanks to a concussion brought on by a collision with a center field wall May 2 in Target Field while playing the Orioles.

Fuld actually played six games after the run-in with the wall, but the symptoms gradually got worse, including headaches, dizziness, fatigue and “real sensitivity to light and noise.’’

“We don’t do the bone-jarring things they do playing football,’’ the 33-year-old Fuld said. “But it was scary. I can absolutely relate to Borland. In football it seems they could do a lot of long-term damage with sub-concussive blows, day after day.

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Pomeranz will be hard to dislodge from A’s starting rotation

Drew Pomeranz had an impressive start against the Mariners Wednesday in his bid to return to the starting rotation.

Drew Pomeranz had an impressive start against the Mariners Wednesday in his bid to return to the starting rotation.

Drew Pomeranz is closer than ever to starting the season in the A’s rotation after a four-inning, one-run five-strikeout effort in a 4-0 loss to the Seattle Mariners Wednesday.

Pomeranz took the loss, but with a 2.00 ERA, 15 strikeouts and a 1.333 WHIP in nine innings and a fastball that has honed in on the strike zone, he’s putting together the kind of resume that will land him in the middle of the Oakland rotation.

The 26-year-old Pomeranz wants to be a starter. It’s not just that he remembers fondly a seven-game stretch in May and June last year when he went 4-2 with a 1.88 ERA, a .199 opponents’ batting average and a 1.096 WHIP.

It’s that starting is what he knows. The 6-foot-5 left-hander has 54 big league games, and 40 of them as a starter. He also has exactly 54 minor league games, and all of those have been starts. He began and ended his first season with Oakland last year in the bullpen, and if he winds up there again, he’ll deal with it. But …

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