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Ken Korach makes his 2015 broadcast debut

Ken Korach was back on the air for the A's for the first time this season on Monday.

Ken Korach was back on the air for the A’s for the first time this season on Monday.

OAKLAND — Ken Korach was back at the O.co Coliseum on Monday and back on the air.

The A’s lead radio announcer, in his 20th season with the team, has missed the first 46 games while recovering from an injury to his artificial left knee.

Korach was expected to meet with the A’s medical team to evaluate his progress. He was back in the broadcast booth and took over the play-by-play duties for the third inning.

Korach’s return is not on a full-time basis yet, but he will call the occasional game while he continues to return to full health.

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A’s stuck on repeat in sixth straight loss, turn to golf for help

Late night at the Coliseum, so you’re getting my writethru that I filed (this one won’t appear in your morning newspapers), with one extra note.

Dustin Pedroia crosses home plate for the Red Sox first run of the night in theier 5-4 win over the A's, giving Oakland six straight losses. (Staff photo/D. Ross Cameron)

Dustin Pedroia crosses home plate for the Red Sox first run of the night in theier 5-4 win over the A’s, giving Oakland six straight losses. (Staff photo/D. Ross Cameron)

The A’s are stuck on repeat.

Oakland lost its sixth straight game when Pablo Sandoval returned to the Bay Area and hit a solo home run in the 11th inning to propel the Boston Red Sox to a 5-4 win.

It was a night that felt all too familiar for the A’s, who dropped to 0-6 in extra-inning games, 1-11 in one-run games and watched their maligned bullpen blow another lead.

“It’s the same story here,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “It’s getting tough to explain. It seems like we’ve played this same game so many times this year.”

Oakland’s 32-year-old rookie Angel Castro surrendered the blast to Sandoval on an 0-2 pitch that was up and on the inner half of the strike zone and right in Sandoval’s hit-me zone. Continue Reading

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Crisp expected to rejoin the A’s some time on this trip

Coco Crisp is getting two days of batting practice and two games in Stockton, then A's will judge if he's ready to go.

Coco Crisp is getting two days of batting practice and two games in Stockton, then A’s will judge if he’s ready to go.

Coco Crisp could join the A’s as early as Wednesday or Thursday under the plan of action prescribed for Crisp as he continues his rehabilitation from right elbow surgery.

The left fielder, who has not played a game this year and only got in about a dozen at-bats before the injury cut his spring training short, is in Stockton this weekend. He’ll take batting practice Friday and Saturday, then play in games Sunday and Monday.

Tuesday’s a day off.

“We’ll see where we are Wednesday and Thursday,’’ manager Bob Melvin said before the first game of the A’s three-city road trip to Texas, Minnesota and Seattle.

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A’s-Angels postgame: Home, afternoon woes continue; Chavez not using illness as an excuse

Pitcher Jesse Chavez is one of the A’s that isn’t feeling 100 percent right now. He’s a little “under the weather” as manager Bob Melvin said.

But Chavez was hardly using that as an excuse for his uneven starting performance in Thursday’s 6-5 loss to the Angels.

“Physically I feel fine, that’s not an excuse. You still have to go and get outs regardless of how you feel,” Chavez said. “You’re arm’s not working or anything is ailing you, then it’s still not an excuse. It’s just a little bug, but what are you going to do?”

In another spot start, Chavez allowed seven hits and four earned runs in five innings Thursday, to go with five strikeouts. The Angels did most of their damage in the fifth inning, as Kole Calhoun singled to score two runs. David Freese then grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Mike Trout from third and give the Angels a 4-0 lead.

In Chavez’ last start against the Angels on April 23, Calhoun hit a two-run homer, the only hit Chavez allowed in six innings in what was a 2-0 loss to the Halos.

“I tried to make a couple pitches and unfortunately, they got a little bit too much of the plate and found a little bit too much of a hole to get through,” Chavez said. “On the bright side, I didn’t see the outfielder’s numbers or the names on the back of their jerseys, so it wasn’t a matter of me leaving the ball over the plate too much. They didn’t put too good a swings on it, it was just they put enough on it.”

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Fuld’s acrobatic catch has A’s marveling at his defensive skills

Sam Fuld's eyes never lost the ball on this catch in right-center against the Astros Monday night.

Sam Fuld’s eyes never lost the ball on this catch in right-center against the Astros Monday night.

The A’s defense has had its share of issues the first eight games of the season, but there have also been some highlight film candidates, including Sam Fuld’s full-stretch dive in right-center to end the fifth inning Monday in Houston.

It saved a run and it saved right fielder Josh Reddick from kicking himself.

“I thought that was my ball,’’ Reddick said of Jake Marisnick’s rope into the gap with a man on second base. “it was very impressive to see what Sam did on that play. I didn’t get a good break on it, but he did; he always gets a good jump.’’

Manager Bob Melvin said he assumed the ball wouldn’t be caught, but if it was, it would have been Reddick to catch it.

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Trouble signs from the bullpen for a second straight day could portend a longer-term problem

I’d have to go back and check, but I don’t know that the A’s bullpen gave up two three-run homers all year in 2014. Maybe, probably, but back-to-back days like we saw Saturday and Sunday? Doubtful. And of the six home runs allowed by the pitching staff over the first seven games, five of them have been hit off the relief corps. That’s not good.

Of all the trouble signs that emerged over the weekend in two dispiriting extra-inning losses to the Seattle Mariners, the performance of the bullpen is perhaps the most disturbing.

“We’re better than that,” said manager Bob Melvin.

But are they? Think about it. The A’s are without their closer, Sean Doolittle, whose return from a shoulder injury is still sketchy. Before Sunday’s game, Melvin said he didn’t know when Doolittle would get on a mound, and he offered up late May as a guess-timate regarding his return, but he wasn’t really basing it on any hard and fast evidence. If there’s still a shoulder tear in there, even a small one, the A’s have to brace for the possibility that even if Doolittle does return on the late-May timetable, there will be a question if that shoulder can hold up.

Last year’s two primary set-up men, Luke Gregerson and Ryan Cook, aren’t here. Gregerson left via free agency and Cook is in the minors trying to figure out some serious mechanical issues.

Hence, everyone else is being pushed back into roles where they may not be quite as comfortable. Tyler Clippard, a very good setup man in Washington, is closing. Eric O’Flaherty and Dan Otero are pitching later in the game than they normally do, and in O’Flaherty’s case, even though he is in his second season following Tommy John surgery, he still isn’t showing the kind of explosive stuff he possessed that he had in Atlanta before the injury.

Fernando Abad, a situational lefty, is being asked to pitch to lefties and righties. Evan Scribner couldn’t make this bullpen a year ago, and R.J. Alvarez is a hard-throwing young guy who is just getting his feet wet as a major-leaguer. Jesse Chavez is the long guy, probably more suited to starting than relieving, but he may be pressed into seventh- and eighth-inning service if the problems continue.

So right now, it’s tough to say they’re “better than that.” Maybe better than what we’ve seen so far, but perhaps not good enough without Doolittle and an effective Cook.

The A’s had bullpen issues out of the gate last season, mostly with Jim Johnson, but Melvin and Co. were able to work around Johnson because of the depth of the pen. That depth isn’t there this year, nor is the experience or the quality. After a week, you have to give this group the benefit of the doubt that they can, as Clippard said, “clean some things up.”

We’ll learn more on this upcoming road trip, for sure.

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Pomeranz is the first daily recipient of a Jim Harbaugh Michigan helmet

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh was in spring training with the A's and Oakland now has a Michigan helmet that will serve as a player of the game award. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh was in spring training with the A’s and Oakland now has a Michigan helmet that will serve as a player of the game award. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

It merely hung from a hook in his locker by the time A’s left-hander Drew Pomeranz met with the media Friday night, but earlier Pomeranz admitted he was wearing the Michigan Wolverines helmet nestled behind him.

No, Pomeranz doesn’t have any affinity for the maize and blue. He’s an Ole Miss product. But he didn’t mind slipping it on after pitching seven inning of two-hit ball in the A’s 12-0 blasting of the Seattle Mariners.

Pomeranz said the helmet was a gift to the team from Jim Harbaugh, the former 49ers coach who is now at Michigan. You may recall that Harbaugh came to visit the A’s during spring training and served as a first base coach for them. Continue Reading

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Reddick will return this weekend; A’s sign Oakland Tech product

Josh Reddick is likely ticketed for a Sunday return to the A's lineup.

Josh Reddick is likely ticketed for a Sunday return to the A’s lineup.

Josh Reddick remains scheduled to return from the disabled list this weekend, but it might not come Saturday when he first becomes eligible.

A’s manager Bob Melvin said Reddick will be back at “some point at time in this series.” Sunday seems like the liklier timeframe for Reddick’s season debut, with Melvin going as far as joking “it would be like a normal Opening Day” for Reddick.

That’s because it’ll be Felix Hernandez on the mound Sunday for the Mariners. Hernandez started against the A’s on Opening Day for four straight years from 2010-13, including Reddick’s first two seasons with the A’s.

The A’s will have to make a roster move when Reddick comes back, so delaying it a day makes all the sense in the world. Seattle is throwing left-hander J.A. Happ on Saturday, so Reddick might sit anyway. This probably gives Cody Ross a chance to get another start. Continue Reading

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Ladendorf shares his MLB debut with two special people

Tyler Ladendorf looks to umpire Jim Wolf after sliding by Rangers Robinson Chirinos Wednesday.

Tyler Ladendorf looks to umpire Jim Wolf after sliding by Rangers Robinson Chirinos Wednesday.

Tyler Ladendorf got his first big league start Wednesday.

It came just in time for his two biggest fans. Ladendorf’s mother, Linda, and his grandmother, Judy, were both in the stands but were heading back to their Chicago-area home Thursday.

Before they left, they saw him triple home a run in his first at-bat. Before his Wednesday was done, he’d scored two runs, driven in two and drawn a walk.

And the ball with which he delivered his first hit was a gift to his mother.

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Smooth debuts power A’s to 10-0 win over Rangers

OAKLAND – The A’s crushed the Rangers 10-0 on Wednesday thanks to a series of successful debuts.

Mark Canha and Tyler Ladendorf made an impact in their first major league games and Cody Ross also joined the party on his first day with the A’s before 19,479 at O.co Coliseum.

Scott Kazmir mowed the Rangers down, even after experiencing what appeared to be some discomfort in his back or oblique. He needed a mound visit from manager Bob Melvin and head trainer Nick Paparesta in the fourth inning, but delivered seven innings of one-hit, shutout ball.

Kazmir didn’t allow a hit after Leonys Martin led off the game with a bunt single. He allowed only three other baserunners before leaving the game after throwing 95 pitches.

Canha’s first impression was a big one as he came within a few feet of two home runs. Instead, he settled for a 3 for 5 day with two doubles and four RBIs. Continue Reading