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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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Butler, Valencia fined; Butler headed to 7-day concussion disabled list after weekend clubhouse fight in Chicago

Billy Butler and Danny Valencia have both been fined and Butler is headed to DL after a weekend fight.

Billy Butler and Danny Valencia have both been fined and Butler is headed to DL after a weekend fight.

DH Billy Butler and first baseman/outfielder Danny Valencia were both handed fines by the A’s Monday after a Friday fight in Chicago between the two raised questions as to whether or not the two men could peacefully coexist in the Oakland clubhouse.

“He’s my teammate,’’ Valencia said when asked about his relationship with Butler. “I have respect for him I think he has respect for me.’’

Before Monday, the lockers occupied by Butler and Valencia were both in the northeast corner of the Oakland clubhouse. Butler’s locker has been moved to the far south side, as far away as could be located from Valencia’s.

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Coco Crisp finds diminished playing time suspicious

Coco Crisp is finding too many days off on his schedule.

Coco Crisp is finding too many days off on his schedule.

Coco Crisp was back in the A’s lineup Tuesday in Arlington, Texas, starting in center field after sitting out Monday’s 5-2 loss to the Rangers.

That’s 94 games this season for the A’s outfielder, which puts him on a pace to play in 127 games by season’s end. And that’s sort of an important number for Crisp, because it means his A’s career may be over come October.

Crisp is concerned that the pattern of his days off is deliberately designed to keep him from reaching 130 games. That’s the number stipulated in his contract that will trigger an automatic $13 million contract with Oakland for 2017. By playing in 129 or fewer games, he would become a free agent.

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Hill-Reddick trade gets decent support in Twitter poll

A's executive VP Billy Beane (above) and GM David Forst got considerable support in an online poll for the trades of Josh Reddick and (in particular) Rich Hill.

A’s executive VP Billy Beane (above) and GM David Forst got considerable support in an online poll for the trades of Josh Reddick and (in particular) Rich Hill.

The A’s in general and executive vice president Billy Beane in particular always will catch flak at any trade deadline move that sees Major League talent leaving and minor league talent coming in.

And so it was Monday and Tuesday in the wake of the decision by Beane and general manager David Forst to trade away right fielder Josh Reddick and starting pitcher Rich Hill for three minor league pitchers from the Dodgers organization that most A’s fans had never heard of – Jharel Cotton, Frankie Montas and Grant Holmes. All three are right-handed and all three could wind up in the A’s rotation if the Beane/Forst calculations are correct.

When (if) those calculations are proved out, all will be forgiven, presumably. In the immediate aftermath of the deal, however, there were any number of suggestions on Twitter that Beane and Forst are the ones who should be traded, and more than a few willing to package managing owner Lew Wolff with them.

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Could Rich Hill get contract extension in lieu of a trade?

Rich Hill, who may start for the A's Friday if he's not traded, could wind up with a contract extension from Oakland.

Rich Hill, who may start for the A’s Friday if he’s not traded, could wind up with a contract extension from Oakland.

The A’s are working on a contract extension with left-handed pitcher Rich Hill even as the club is fielding offers about trading their most successful starting pitcher.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports tweeted of the A’s interest in an extension with Hill, which followed up a Thursday comment from Oakland general manager David Forst that suggested keeping the 36-year-old long term was well within the realm of possibility.

The Major League trade deadline is Monday at 1 p.m. PT, and Hill is very much a hot commodity. He was highly coveted by at least half a dozen contenders already, and then on Sunday, the Dodgers’ Bud Norris came out of a start for Los Angeles with back problems.

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Rich Hill scratched from Sunday start because of blister; moderate chance exists A’s could trade him by Monday

 Rich Hill won't start Sunday because of his blister, and there is still a chance he could be traded by Monday.

Rich Hill won’t start Sunday because of his blister, and there is still a chance he could be traded by Monday.

The A’s will hold off on having Rich Hill start for them Sunday, one day ahead of the trade deadline, but Hill’s blistered left middle finger won’t keep the club from trading him if they get the right deal.

Oakland general manager David Forst said on a conference call that while no deal was close, Hill’s health status wouldn’t be a barrier to trading him if the club likes what it is being offered in return.

And manager Bob Melvin said the club might have a yes-or-no decision on Hill going to the disabled list as soon as Saturday.

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A’s have a chance to strike it big in the week’s draft

The good news for the A’s is that they have three picks on Day One of the three-day player draft that starts Thursday night in New York.

Better news is that the top end of the draft is believed to be deep, so the A’s have a chance to tap good talent with draft picks No. 6, No. 37 and No. 47. The club has four picks in the top 100, including No. 76, and also the 106th pick.

The somewhat dicey news is that there is no consensus, not just on who the A’s should take, but on who anybody should take. A quick take of draft projections Wednesday had the A’s tying the knot with  Tennessee third/second baseman Nick Senzel, New Jersey high school left-handed pitcher Jason Groome, Mercer outfielder Kyle Lewis, Southern California high school outfielder Mickey Moniak and Louisville outfielder Corey Ray.

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June could be the month in which A’s get healthy again

Josh Reddick hopes to be back in A's lineup and in right field by the end of the month.

Josh Reddick hopes to be back in A’s lineup and in right field by the end of the month.

When Sonny Gray came off the disabled list Sunday, it was the continuation of an encouraging trend for the A’s.

May 25 saw second baseman Jed Lowrie come off the disabled list. Two days later, backup catcher Josh Phegley came off the DL. A couple of weeks earlier, third baseman Danny Valencia was activated.

No one can tell what the future will bring in terms of baseball injuries, but the way things are setting up, June could be a month in which the A’s get much of their karma back. And with that could be a chance to be competitive in the American League West.

Two relievers, R.J. Alvarez and Liam Hendriks are healthy now and working their way back.

Alvarez threw in a minor league game on a rehab assignment on Friday, could get another one or two games and could be ready to be activated by the end of this road trip this weekend in Cincinnati. Hendriks threw a simulated game Saturday with Class-A Stockton and may well be less than a week behind Alvarez.

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Parker’s injury is a refracture of his right elbow

The good news the A’s had been hoping for concerning Jarrod Parker vanished in a particularly jarring and cruel way Friday.
Jarrod Parker has suffered a refracture of his medial epicondyle while throwing a pitch Thursday in a bullpen workout.

Jarrod Parker has suffered a refracture of his medial epicondyle while throwing a pitch Thursday in a bullpen workout.

Instead of some kind of muscular impingement that would mean the veteran might not miss too much time, an MRI showed the right-handed starter had refractured the medial epicondyle in his right elbow while releasing a pitch in a bullpen session Thursday.

A’s general manager David Forst, manager Bob Melvin and trainer Nick Paparesta met with Parker before Friday’s road Cactus League game with the Reds to break the news. Paparesta had called Forst at 5:30 a.m. as soon as the results of the MRI were in, but Parker didn’t get to the A’s Mesa complex until late morning.

“We met with Jarrod and he responded as you might respect,’’ Forst said. “He had an idea it was coming.’’

Parker’s season, which had begun with the right-hander feeling strong and throwing with confidence after missing the last two big league seasons, is now more than likely over. There will be time later to see where his career goes. For now, Parker will take the weekend off, visit with his parents who are in town, then will sit with the A’s and the medical specials to see how to proceed.

The 27-year-old veteran already had been on a two-year journey that he’d hope would get him back to the big leagues, where he hasn’t pitched since 2013. He had Tommy John-style ligament replacement surgery two years ago this month, a surgery he’d also had in 2010. He’d hoped to return to the big leagues last year, but while making an injury rehabilitation start that was supposed to be his last step toward returning, he suffered the first medial epicondyle break.

The A’s had hoped for a better result from the MRI based on the fact that the pain Thursday was on the opposite side of the elbow from the earlier surgeries. But Forst said when Parker woke up Friday morning, the pain and swelling had migrated, and Parker told the club he was “expecting the worst’’ when Forst, manager Bob Melvin and trainer Nick Paparesta met with him Friday morning to break the news.

Asked if Parker will be able to pitch again, Forst said “we’re not there yet. It’s not important right now. We just want to be sure Jarrod is OK. That’s the most important thing.’’

Forst said the A’s will be OK, but that their focus is on one of the club’s favorites sons. Parker has been in the organization since 2012, and his relationship with Melvin goes back even further to when both manager and pitcher were in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ organization.

 

 

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Addition of Chris Coghlan to the mix for A’s will serve to make 2016 roster, lineup decisions all the more difficult

Chris Coghlan will have a chance to play all over the field with Thursday trade to A's from the Cubs.

Chris Coghlan will have a chance to play all over the field with Thursday trade to A’s from the Cubs.

The final few opening day roster trims, if not the makeup of the A’s regular 2016 lineup, just got more difficult to forecast with Thursday’s acquisition of infielder/outfielder Chris Coghlan from the Cubs, Oakland sending starter Aaron Brooks to Chicago.

The A’s already had what seemed to be a full house in the outfield before getting Coghlan, who played 99 games in left field and 21 in right for the Cubs last year, contributing 25 doubles, 16 homers and 41 RBI in 440 at-bats with a slash line of .250/.341/.443 to a Chicago team that made it to the National League Championship Series.

The A’s have returning starters in Billy Burns in center and Josh Reddick in right and a new starter in left in Khris Davis. Add to that Mark Canha, coming off a strong rookie year and Coco Crisp, healthy after elbow, wrist and neck injuries a year ago, back to attempt to claim a starting job.

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