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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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Daniel Mengden will get Saturday’s start for A’s, who will spend weekend playing on turf cut up by two NFL games

Daniel Mengden will get called up by the A's to start Saturday vs. the Red Sox.

Daniel Mengden will get called up by the A’s to start Saturday vs. the Red Sox.

Daniel Mengden made the trip from Nashville to Oakland will make Saturday’s start against the Red sox.

Manager Bob Melvin said Mengden, who will be activated before the game, has pitched better that his 1-5 record and 5.73 ERA with Oakland would suggest.

The club likes his assortment of pitches and when they sent him down the last time, it was because they saw signs of midseason weariness in him. He was 8-2 with a 1.67 in his time with Triple-A Nashville.

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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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Marcus Semien balances fatherhood and playing ball

 

Marcus Semien misses newborn son Isaiah, born on Monday

Marcus Semien misses newborn son Isaiah, born on Monday

Marcus Semien plays with single mindedness of purpose, one of the characteristics the A’s most like about their shortstop.

Things have been a little different for him this week, though. He rejoined the team Friday in St. Louis after missing a three-game series against the Indians to be with his wife, Tarah, at the birth of their first child, son Isaiah.

Like many first-time fathers, he’s torn between being with his family and being with his team.

“Just about any time I’m not at the park I’m on FaceTime with them,’’ Semien said Monday. “It sucks to miss this time of his life.

“It’s been four days already, and I’ve missed a high percentage of his time.’’

That time away is something many players go through, and Semien, who hadn’t missed a game all year for Oakland before taking three days and eventually going on paternity leave, is learning that the hard way.

The A’s will be home Wednesday night and start a 10-game homestand, so there will be some time for caching up.

“I spent the first couple of nights in the hospital with them,’’ Semien said. “I miss that.’’

 

–No part of the A’s has been more in flux than the starting rotation, and with the rosters eligible to expand from 25 players to 40 beginning this weekend, the rotation roulette may not yet be over.

Manager Bob Melvin said no decision has been made on what to do with the rotation for the final month of the season, but with Oakland currently having three relievers – Andrew Triggs, Zach Neal and Ross Detwiler – filling in thanks to injury repletion, there are minor league starters the club could bring up.

Of them, one who immediately piqued Melvin’s interest was Jharel Cotton, who came within one out of a perfect game in his second start for Triple-A Nashville after the A’s acquired him in the trade of Josh Reddick and Rich Hill. Since joining the Sounds, Cotton is 3-1 with a 3.31 ERA.

The manager also mentioned Raul Alcantara, who is 4-0 with a 0.89 in seven starts for Nashville after being promoted from Double-A, and Daniel Mengden, who has struggled in nine starts with the A’s, going 1-5 with a 5.73 ERA but who is 8-2 with a 1.67 ERA with the Sounds.

 

NOTES

–The new timetable for reliever Sean Doolittle is for him to rejoin the A’s on Friday when the Red Sox visit the Coliseum. The lefty, out since June 26 with shoulder trouble, will throw in a game Tuesday with Nashville as a final tuneup before coming off the disabled list.

–Billy Butler passed the last of his concussion protocol tests Sunday in St. Louis and was activated by the A’s Monday. He and the A’s say he’s good to go, although he wasn’t in the starting lineup against the Astros.

–Henderson Alvarez (shoulder surgery) will pitch Tuesday with Class-A Stockton in his ongoing bid to get back with the A’s before the season’s over.

–Jesse Hahn, on a rehab assignment with right shoulder strain, is due to start Wednesday for Stockton, after which he’s expected to be cleared to return to the rotation.

–Sonny Gray played catch Sunday for the first time since landing on the disabled list on Aug. 7 with a strained right forearm. His strengthening exercises have been going well, so much so that manager Bob Melvin now believes having Gray return to the club to pitch this season is at least possible.

–Catcher Josh Phegley, hospitalized since Friday with synovitis in his right knee, is due to get out of the hospital Tuesday. It’s a complication from the surgery in the knee he had midseason. The A’s had hoped he’d be available for the final month of the season but they now believe it’s unlikely he will catch for them again this season.

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Doolittle likely to be A’s first returnee from the DL

Sean Doolittle will get to throw one inning Friday in Nashville on injury rehab assignment and could be back with A's soon thereafter.

Sean Doolittle will get to throw one inning Friday in Nashville on injury rehab assignment and could be back with A’s soon thereafter.

The A’s are looking increasingly like they will get reliever Sean Doolittle off the disabled list next week but won’t have starter Jesse Hahn or catcher Josh Phegley back until after the rosters expand from 25 players to 40 on Sept. 1.

Down the line in September the club still has hopes of seeing both Henderson Alvarez and Sonny Gray on the mound.

Doolittle, currently in the middle of an injury rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Nashville with his left shoulder strain under control, is scheduled to throw one inning Friday for the Sounds. If he comes through it feeling good, he could be activated this weekend in St. Louis or next week in Houston.

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Ryan Dull trying to rediscover his focus in grueling season

Ryan Dull, here paired with catcher Stepohen Vogt, is trying to fight his way out of an August skid.

Ryan Dull, here paired with catcher Stephen Vogt, is trying to fight his way out of an August skid.

When reliever Ryan Dull began the season by not allowing any of the first 36 base runners he inherited to score, the A’s right-hander knew that kind of unprecedented success wasn’t going to last forever.

Six of the last 10 inherited runners he’s faced have scored. And the season overall is starting to catch up with Dull, whose ERA has gone from 1.98 to 2.34 in his last eight games, losing twice and suffering a blown save during that time.

The second of the losses came Monday night when he grooved a pitch that Carlos Santana hit out in the eighth inning for the only run in Oakland’s 1-0 loss to Cleveland. It was a pitch Dull “wanted back” after he said “I pulled it right over the middle of the plate.”

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Sonny Gray unlikely to start for A’s again this season

It's increasingly unlikely Sonny Gray will be able to start again this year for the A's.

It’s increasingly unlikely Sonny Gray will be able to start again this year for the A’s.

It’s becoming increasingly likely that A’s ace Sonny Gray won’t be starting again this season for Oakland.

Gray, who has been on the disabled list since Aug. 7, the day after feeling a right forearm strain while facing the Chicago Cubs, said Monday he wanted to get word from the training staff when he might be able to start throwing again.

That being said, Gray knows it won’t be any time soon. And given that the minor league season ends Sept. 5 and with it any chance to go out on an injury rehabilitation assignment, Gray’s hopes for getting another start are flickering.

“I’m hoping; I’d like to get out there again,’’ Gray said before Monday’s series opener with the Indians. “But I’m not ready to throw now. I know that even if they cleared me to throw when I go in there to talk to them, I’d be forcing it by going out there today.

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Healthy Liam Hendriks inheriting bigger roles with A’s

Liam Hendriks has become an integral part of A's bullpen since putting injury behind him.

Liam Hendriks has become an integral part of A’s bullpen since putting injury behind him.

There hasn’t been a more reliable arm in the Oakland bullpen the last eight weeks than Liam Hendriks.

Or as the Aussie right-hander puts it, “I’m finally pitching like the guy they traded for.”

When Oakland traded starter Jesse Chavez to the Blue Jays last November to bolster the bullpen, it was the club’s first major off-season move and an indication of the esteem they had for Hendriks, who was coming off a season in Toronto where he was 5-0 with a 2.92 ERA and a 1.082 WHIP.

So it was with some alarm that the A’s saw the first 30 games of the season implode on Hendriks, who had an 8.27 ERA, a 1.776 WHIP and a .394 opponents’ batting average in that span. Something had to be wrong, and it was. The club put Hendriks on the disabled list for six weeks with a triceps strain.

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Sean Doolittle heading out on injury rehab assignment

Sean Doolittle is heading out on an injury rehab assignment and could be back on next homestand.

Sean Doolittle is heading out on an injury rehab assignment and could be back on next homestand.

Sean Doolittle could be back with the A’s when they return from a seven-game road trip to Texas and Chicago that starts Monday.

The Oakland lefty, who hasn’t pitched since June 25, is being sent out on an injury rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Nashville. Manager Bob Melvin said the plan calls for Doolittle to throw as many as three times in the week he’s gone, beginning with an inning on Monday.

Doolittle threw 20 pitches to hitters Friday and came off the mound feeling good about the state of his shoulder.

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