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Joey Wendel, Chad Pinder A’s new platoon at second base

Joey Wendle will be half of A's second base platoon.

Joey Wendle will be half of A’s second base platoon.

Joey Wendel, who was almost certainly going to be called up after the rosters expanded from 25 to 40 on Thursday, got a jump on the competition when he was promoted Wednesday from Triple-A Nashville to Oakland and immediately went into the A’s starting lineup.

The arrival of Wendel, picked up from the A’s in the Brandon Moss trade of two winters ago, does a minor remake of the A’s infield. Max Muncy, who had been getting most of the work at second base, will step into the outfield as a backup with Wendle and Chad Pinder, called up last week, moving into a platoon at second base.

“I didn’t think it would be this soon,’’ Wendle admitted. He was called into Nashville manager Steve Scarsone’s office Tuesday night and told him he’d been promoted.

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A’s and Indians make it official, Oakland getting minor league lefty Colt Hynes as Cleveland adds Coco Crisp

It's official. A's have traded Coco Crisp to the Indians for minor league LHP Colt Hynes.

It’s official. A’s have traded Coco Crisp to the Indians for minor league LHP Colt Hynes.

The A’s and the Cleveland Indians have made official Wednesday morning what was reported here Tuesday night, that Oakland has traded veteran outfielder Coco Crisp back to the Indians.

Cleveland is the team with which Crisp got to the Major Leagues in 2002 and for which he played the first four seasons of his career. He’s been one of the faces of the A’s since 2010, but that ended when Crisp waived his 10-and-5 rights to not be traded (10 years in the MLB, the last five with the same team) in order to accept the deal.

The A’s, who will also ship cash to the Indians, will get left-handed pitcher Colt Hynes from Cleveland. Hynes, 31, started the year with in the Toronto Blue Jays organization before being traded to the Indians. He has a 3-1 record, two saves and a 3.99 ERA while bouncing between Double-A and Triple-A in both organizations

The money the A’s are sending will be to help defray the Indians’ costs with Crisp owed a little less than $2 million for the rest of the year and a $750,000 buyout of his 2017 contract.

Even with the money being included in the deal, the A’s are now in no danger of having a massive $13 million Crisp contract on their books for next year. He’d played in 102 games at the time of the deal, and the $13 million in 2017 would vest if he would have reached 130 games played.

The big payout now is a remote possibility – the Indians have 31 games left on the schedule, but Crisp isn’t expected to play every day for Cleveland but rather to be part of the solution as the Tribe attempts to fill in for Michael Brantley, who is on the disabled list.

Crisp was unhappy that his playing time had been cut by the A’s to the point where it became unlikely that he would be able to get to the 130-game mark, and came out mid-August to say “I know some strings are being pulled’’ to keep him only a semi-regular, adding “it all seems a little suspect.’’

He’d been limited to just 44 games last year by head and neck injuries, and even this year needed to alter his daily game preparation to be able to be ready, including the use of pain-killers.

“I haven’t felt this good in a couple of years,’’ Crisp said at the time.

And it showed. The A’s have used the disabled list a club record 27 times in 2016, but Crisp didn’t appear on it.

With Crisp traded, Oakland has contracts with just five players for 2017. DH Billy Butler, second baseman Jed Lowrie and relievers Ryan Madson, John Axford and Sean Doolittle are locked in for next season for a total of $32.1 million.

Crisp’s now former A’s teammates were uniformly unhappy to see him go but delighted at the same time that the 36-year-old switch-hitter was getting a chance to play in a pennant race, the Indians attempting to hold off the Tigers and the Royals in the American League Central.

“It’s tough so see him go,’’ left fielder Khris Davis said. “But I’m glad for him to have a chance to go back home where it started and be in the race. It’s what we all want to do at some point, to get a chance to play for a winner.’’

The A’s are bringing up second baseman Joey Wendle to fill Crisp’s spot on the roster, with Wendle and fellow rookie Chad Pinder likely to share time at second base. The time in the outfield will be spread out among Danny Valencia, Jake Smolinski and Brett Eibner, with Eibner likely to get the bulk of the freed-up playing time.

As far as the top of the Oakland lineup goes, the A’s, who already traded Billy Burns, don’t have a true leadoff hitter now. Shortstop Marcus Semien and center fielder Jake Smolinski are the only players on the current roster to have led off for Oakland this year, Semien having done it seven times and Smolinski three times.

 

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Teammates happy for Coco Crisp, but sad to see him go

His A's teammates are sorry to see Coco Crisp leave, but happy he'll be in a pennant race with Indians.

His A’s teammates are sorry to see Coco Crisp leave, but happy he’ll be in a pennant race with Indians.

The official announcement of the trade of Coco Crisp to the Indians will come down Wednesday morning.

For the A’s, it came Tuesday night as his now former teammates said their goodbyes before Crisp packed up and left, there being no need for him to watch an Oakland 3-1 loss to Houston. It was the A’s 75th loss against 57 wins, a record that screams out for roster shakeups.

The A’s are packaging a bunch of cash to go with Crisp to the Indians, and Cleveland will send a mid-level prospect or two to the A’s in return. Whoever it is the A’s get, he won’t join Oakland as Crisp’s replacement. That will be Triple-A second baseman Joey Wendel, who should be in Houston in time for Wednesday’s series finale.

“Coco was great; he did a lot here in Oakland on the field and with fans and he was a great teammate,’’ Kendall Graveman said in the wake of pitching seven innings and taking his ninth loss of the season. “We played one last game of cards and I won; I told him `you can’t leave me a loser’. I think maybe he let me win.

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Coco Crisp trade to Indians will come down Wednesday

 

Coco Crisp will be joining the Cleveland Indians for the pennant drive.

Coco Crisp will be joining the Cleveland Indians for the pennant drive.

Coco Crisp has been traded to the Cleveland Indians by the A’s, with an official announcement about the deal’s particulars due Wednesday.

According to someone close to the outfielder, Crisp waived his no-trade 10-and-5 rights (10 years in the big leagues and the last five with the same team) on Tuesday to facilitate a trade to the team with which he debuted in 2002.

Crisp wasn’t in the A’s starting lineup, which manager Bob Melvin said was “always scheduled as a day off,’’ but the 36-year-old switch hitter packed up and left the Oakland clubhouse at Minute Maid Field about an hour before the start of the game.

The A’s will be sending cash to the Indians and could wind up getting some mid-grade prospects in return.

After being limited to just 44 games by head and neck problems last year, Crisp has been one of the few Oakland players to avoid the disabled list all year. He’s played in 102 of the 132 games the A’s have played this year with a slash line of .234/.299/.399. He’s mostly been used by the A’s against right-handed pitching, where he’s hit .239 (.217 against lefties).

Crisp, who came to the A’s in 2010, leads the Major Leagues with a .424 batting average with runners in scoring position.

The Indians, 74-56 and in the lead by 4.5 games over Detroit in the American League Central, has been trying to cover for the loss to injury of outfielder Michael Brantley. Crisp doesn’t necessarily figure to play every day, but he could wind up starting against most right-handed starting pitchers as Cleveland pushes toward the post-season.

His contract with the A’s calls for $11.75 million this year and has an option for $13 million that vests if he reaches 130 games played. He would need to play in 28 more games, and the Indians only have 31 games left after Tuesday.

 

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For the A’s Jake Smolinski, the fun starts in center field

Jake Smolinski has been putting on a defensive show in center since getting the chance from the A's.

Jake Smolinski has been putting on a defensive show in center since getting the chance from the A’s.

Jake Smolinski can’t fly, but as he showed Tuesday night in the Coliseum, he can put on a good impression.

He did it in the eighth inning Tuesday, racing into the right center field gap to chase down a rocket off the bat of pinch-hitter Lonnie Chisenhall.

It was, to say the least, jaw-dropping.

“That was a fun game out there tonight,” Smolinski said. “Everybody played a big part in this one. Those are fun games to play.”

There have been entirely too few of those for Oakland this year. But the A’s got terrific starting pitching from Sean Manaea, the bullpen turned the Indians away, and the offense scored nine times, just the sixth time Oakland has scored as many as nine runs in a game.

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Khris Davis continues to hit like a big kid in Little League

Khris Davis hasn't found hitting homers a hindrance in the Coliseum.

Khris Davis hasn’t found hitting homers a hindrance in the Coliseum.

While searching to come up with an apt description of Khris Davis, A’s left fielder Coco Crisp went back to basics.

“This park can be a little humbling,” Crisp said. “For him, he makes it like he’s one of those big kids in the Little League World Series. That’s what it feels like when you see that guy hit a home run.”

Davis’ first-inning homer would have been semi-normal for a left-handed hitter. He delivered a fly ball that hugged the right field line, refused to bend into foul territory and carried out for his 28th bomb of the season, a new career high.

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Coco Crisp shows he can do a little bit of everything

Coco Crisp turned in a complete game Thursday, throwing out a runner, stealing a homer and clubbing a tie-breaking double.

Coco Crisp turned in a complete game Thursday, throwing out a runner, stealing a homer and clubbing a tie-breaking double.

A year ago, Coco Crisp was in the midst of losing his job as a starter with the A’s, a neck injury making him just a fraction of the player he had been.

2016 has been something of a redemption for Crisp. And Thursday’s game in Anaheim had him showing that all his facets are in play.

He singlehandedly shut down the Angels offense in the fifth inning, then put the A’s ahead in the seventh. Although the Angels would rally to force extra innings on an error later, the A’s 8-6 10-inning win wouldn’t have been Oakland’s without Crisp, a player that first baseman Yonder Alonso called “The Natural.’’

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Have the A’s seen the last of starter Rich Hill?

Have the A's seen the last of Rich Hill in the rotation? Maybe. Maybe not.

Have the A’s seen the last of Rich Hill in the rotation? Maybe. Maybe not.

Rich Hill will be making his first start as a Dodger this weekend in Los Angeles, so what he does has no impact on the A’s, his former team.

Except that it might. The left-handed starter is a free agent at the end of the year, and he said Thursday he expects the A’s will be one of the teams calling on him come autumn.

More than that, he will be listening. He and his family enjoyed living in the Bay Area and could see living there again.

“You look at the record there and maybe you don’t see what I see and a lot of people in the game see,’’ Hill said. “The A’s are a team that has a lot of good young talent. I like what they have there. I think they’re going to be good real soon if they can stay healthy.

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Is Coco Crisp’s RISP production worth a second look?

Coco Crisp has the Majors' best batting average with runners in scoring position, but he's not drawing trade interest.

Coco Crisp has the Majors’ best batting average with runners in scoring position, but he’s not drawing trade interest.

Coco Crisp isn’t talked about much by those discussing deals that could be made with the trade deadline upon us next Monday.

Maybe that’s a mistake. Crisp gave the A’s the lead in Tuesday’s 6-3 win over Texas with a fourth-inning homer that carried into the second deck, and he delivered an double off the foot of pitcher Sam Dyson to give the A’s bullpen a bit of insurance.

The double was something of a fluke. It could have been a single up the middle, or it could have been a grounder to the pitcher, the second baseman or the shortstop that ended the inning.

Instead the sharply hit ball caught Dyson in the foot and with shortstop Jurickson Profar heading toward second base and left field Ryan Rua not expecting the ball to come his way, Crisp had enough time to leg out a double.

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Hill likely back on Sunday, but A’s still a starter short with Daniel Mengden sent down; Dillon Overton could go Saturday

Rich Hill is optimistic he will start Sunday, but with Daniel Mengden sent down, A's still need Saturday starter.

Rich Hill is optimistic he will start Sunday, but with Daniel Mengden sent down, A’s still need Saturday starter.

The A’s have sent their scheduled starter for Saturday, Daniel Mengden, to the minor leagues, leaving couple of open spots in the rotation for this weekend in Cleveland.

Rich Hill, Oakland’s winningest pitcher at 9-3, 2.25, hopes he’ll start Sunday against the Indians. After making 20 throws from 60 feet without a bandage covering his blistered left middle finger and 50 throws in a regular bullpen session with the blister covered, Hill said “I do think it’s real possible I can pitch on Sunday.’’

There is, always, the chance that Hill could be traded between now and then, but he doesn’t want to go and the A’s don’t seem in any hurry to pull the trigger on a deal. Sunday could be big, because it’s the day before the Aug. 1 trade deadline.

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