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New music, same results for the A’s Sean Doolittle

Sean Doolittle was back on the mound for the A's Monday after missing 59 games and he brought new music with him.

Sean Doolittle was back on the mound for the A’s Monday after missing 59 games and he brought new music with him.

For most of his big league career, Sean Doolittle has come out of the A’s bullpen to the sounds of Metallica playing “For Whom The Bell Tolls.’’

No more.

When he return to the A’s by walking from the bullpen to the mound to start the seventh inning Monday, it was still Metallica, but this time the song was “Disposable Heroes.’’

None of which seemed to matter to a crowd of 18,149 who’ve been waiting since June to see Doolittle, the one-time A’s closer, on the mound again.

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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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A’s are defeated, but don’t feel defeatist; that’s a plus

Danny Valencia sees A's playing winning baseball, even after a walkoff loss to the Rangers.

Danny Valencia sees A’s playing winning baseball, even after a walkoff loss to the Rangers.

There was the predictable silence in the A’s clubhouse after Monday’s game ended with Adrian Beltre taking Ryan Madson deep for a game-winning two-run homer.

There wasn’t any of the predictable woe-is-me that often befits teams in fourth place and not even within periscope range of first place.

Instead the A’s talked about having playing well in the recent past, about having played well on this night and about there being no reason they can’t continue to play well in the future.

It’s sort of like the ghosts visiting Ebenezer Scrooge six months early, but with bats and balls.

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Ryan Madson can’t hold on for Sean Manaea

Ryan Madson couldn't close out what would have been an impressive win for Sean Manaea Sunday.

Ryan Madson couldn’t close out what would have been an impressive win for Sean Manaea Sunday.

The A’s opportunity to finish the first half with a flourish fizzled Sunday in Houston when the bullpen and the defense allowed the Astros to rally for a 2-1 10-inning victory and a split of the four-game series.

Liam Hendriks, asked to pitch the 10th inning after Ryan Madson had blown a save in the ninth, had a chance to get out of the 10th with a man at third base and two out, but a Carlos Correa grounder to third saw Danny Valencia’s throw pull Yonder Alonso off first base as Jake Marisnick scored the winning run.

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Ryan Dull qualifies for more late-inning A’s work

Ryan Dull decided to go clean shaven after getting a save but losing a streak Saturday.

Ryan Dull decided to go clean shaven after getting a save but losing a streak Saturday.

Ryan Dull, who had pitched the entire first half while wearing a close-cropped goatee, showed up in the A’s clubhouse clean shaven Sunday morning, just hours after he’d earned his first save of the season while seeing his streak of on allowing inherited runners to score ended.

He said there was no correlation between the baseball and his facial hair.

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Sean Doolittle lands on DL with a bum left shoulder

Sean Doolittle landed on the disabled list Thursday and had an MRI after he couldn't get loose in a bullpen session Wednesday.

Sean Doolittle landed on the disabled list Thursday and had an MRI after he couldn’t get loose in a bullpen session Wednesday.

The A’s had hoped all disabled list stories running up to the All-Star Game would be about players coming off the list, but that all changed Thursday when left-handed reliever Sean Doolittle went on the 15-day DL.

The injury-plagued A’s had gone two weeks in which they hadn’t put anyone on the DL and had claimed reliever Liam Hendriks, right fielder Josh Reddick and starter Sean Manaea from its grasp. More than that, starter Rich Hill is due back Saturday.

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A’s lefty Sean Doolittle a little weary, but he’s not hurting

Sean Doolittle has a little pain in his shoulder, but he's hoping to pitch in a day or so.

Sean Doolittle has a little pain in his shoulder, but he’s hoping to pitch in a day or so.

When A’s manager Bob Melvin didn’t go to lefty Sean Doolittle Tuesday on a night when Oakland was running desperately short of help, red flags immediately went up.

After all, Doolittle missed five months last year with injury problems. His health is a matter of prime concern to an Oakland bullpen that has been getting excessive work.

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Henderson Alvarez shut down until at least All-Star break

Henderson Alvarez has been shut down for a month to deal with the pain in his shoulder, but doctors aren't quite certain what is causing the pain.

Henderson Alvarez has been shut down for a month to deal with the pain in his shoulder, but doctors aren’t quite certain what is causing the pain.

The A’s still aren’t entirely sure what the problem is in the right shoulder of starting pitcher Henderson Alvarez, but the right-hander has been shut down for a month so the club can get a better grasp on what’s going on.

Manager Bob Melvin said he’d been told an MRI had not revealed any structural damage to the shoulder, which was first operated on last July by orthopedic specialist Dr. James Andrews. That being said, the two times Alvarez has built himself up to being ready to join the rotation, shoulder pain has cropped up.

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Stephen Vogt alters catching style to help out his pitchers

Stephen Vogt's new setup position works well for Kendall Graveman's sinker in win over Angels.

Stephen Vogt’s new setup position works well for Kendall Graveman’s sinker in win over Angels.

No one was more involved in Thursday’s 5-4 A’s win over the Angels than Stephen Vogt.

The catcher had a single and a walk, reached base on an error when a run scored and caught nine innings in a new squat he’s trying to introduce mid-season.

And he was at the plate when Angels’ pinch-hitter Jefry Marte lost control of his bat, which then hit home plate umpire Paul Emmel, who immediately fell to the ground, bleeding. He had to be helped off the field and was later take to a hospital for stitches. The Angels’ report was that Emmel was expected to be fine.

“It was really scary,’’ Vogt said of the ninth-inning Emmel injury. “I heard it and it sounded like somebody hit the ball off the end of the bat, and it was the bat hitting his head.

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Can the A’s wait two weeks for rotation help to arrive?

Rich Hill believes he is two weeks away from returning to A's rotation.

Rich Hill believes he is two weeks away from returning to A’s rotation.

There’s a reason to believe the next two weeks are crucial for the A’s.

Not for getting back into contention, mind you. Just for getting back into competitiveness.

Contention is a way off just now with the A’s 12½ games out of first place in the American League West.

Oakland is 10 games under .500 at 27-37, and the A’s haven’t distinguished themselves in June (3-8) after a terrible May (11-17).

The 11-man disabled list – the 11th man landed there Tuesday, starting pitcher Sean Manaea – could be going on a diet. Reliever Liam Hendriks is due to come off the disabled list in the next week or so.

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