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A’s notes: Starter vs. Angels, Lincecum a mystery

The entire Bay Area knows who is pitching for the Los Angeles Angels Saturday. Continue Reading

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Rangers stun A’s with five-run sixth inning off Sonny Gray, relievers give up two solo homers in 7-5 loss

Sonny Gray gave up five runs in the sixth inning to the Rangers.

Sonny Gray gave up five runs in the sixth inning to the Rangers.

OAKLAND _ The A’s were cruising with Sonny Gray at the top of his game and a five-run lead, which made the end result that much more difficult to stomach.

“It was pretty shocking, actually,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said after a 7-5 loss to the Texas Rangers Wednesday night at the Coliseum. “I’ve seen him take stuff like that to the mound and throw shutouts with it.” Continue Reading

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A’s add some local picks to finish off 2016 draft

 

Collin Theroux, from Oklahoma State via Serra High, was the A's 32nd round draft pick.

Collin Theroux, from Oklahoma State via Serra High, was the A’s 32nd round draft pick.

The A’s took their final 30 picks in the June draft Saturday, finishing with 35 collegiate players and six high school athletes.

Of the 30 players picked Saturday, 25 were collegians and five preps. The overall breakdown includes 19 pitchers, five catchers, eight infielders and nine outfielders.

Some notable picks from Saturday included some locals, including Collin Theroux, a catcher from Oklahoma State who attended Serra High and catcher Jarrett Costa from Westmont College who went to Washington High in Fremont.

The 24th round pick, outfielder Robert Bennie of East Stroudsburg, is the brother of current A’s minor leaguer Joe Bennie. And Oakland’s final pick of the draft, shortstop Brett Bittiger from Pace University, is the son of current A’s professional scout Jeff Bittiger.

The complete 2016 draft list:

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Wild pitches are the undoing of Sonny Gray for once

Sonny Gray had two wild pitches help to beat him Friday in Cincinnati.

Sonny Gray had two wild pitches help to beat him Friday in Cincinnati.

Sonny Gray leads the league in wild pitches, and the A’s are perfectly happy that he do so. Most of the time.

The movement Gray has on his pitches is like nothing most other pitchers can muster. Batters swing and miss at his stuff all the time, even when it’s in the dirt, one of the reasons he was an All-Star last year.

Gray generally isn’t bothered by wild pitches, mostly because he’s able to pitch around the potential damage they cause. Friday night in Great American Ball Park, he couldn’t.

His first wild pitch came with the A’s in a 1-0 lead and gave the Reds their first runner in scoring position. Seconds later a grounder flattened out on third baseman Danny Valencia, scooting by him for a game-tying double.

After an infield hit got the runner to third base, a second wild pitch brought the go-ahead run home.

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Power left-handed starter A.J. Puk A’s first draft pick

The A’s used the sixth pick in the draft Thursday to draft a player that many thought might go first in the draft, left-handed pitcher A.J. Puk out of Florida.

Puk, whose fastball touches 99 mph and who has a nasty slider, is the first pitcher taken by the A’s in the first round since they tabbed Sonny Gray in the first round of the 2011 draft. Scouts mostly say they’d like to see him work on a changeup that would make him a three-pitch pitcher and a candidate to be a top-of-the-rotation guy.

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Rich Hill likely to return to mound for A’s Friday

Rich Hill is confident he'll be healthy enough to start in Cincinnati this coming weekend

Rich Hill is confident he’ll be healthy enough to start in Cincinnati this coming weekend

Rich Hill didn’t do much Sunday. Not much except prove to himself that he’ll be back in the A’s rotation come Friday in Cincinnati.

Hill took some time pregame in Minute Maid Park to play catch with bullpen catcher Phil Pohl. It was no big deal, except that Hill didn’t feel any discomfort in his left groin.

He had been feeling it as recently as Sunday morning. But the physical therapy work he’s been doing with the A’s training staff had him ready all smiles.

He and Pohl played catch at about 90 feet

“I did throw, and it went great,’’ Hill said. “With a day off tomorrow to rest it, the idea is I’ll throw a bullpen on Wednesday. I’m pretty optimistic for Cincinnati.

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Coco Crisp, Khris Davis both good to go as Sonny Gray returns

Coco Crisp was back in the A's lineup Sunday after missing Saturday's start with an Achilles heel issue.

Coco Crisp was back in the A’s lineup Sunday after missing Saturday’s start with an Achilles heel issue.

The A’s got some news on the injury front Sunday. In contrast to the way injuries have played themselves out this season, the news was good.

Coco Crisp, who left Friday’s game early with an Achilles’ tendon problem and who got only a pinch-hit at-bat in Saturday’s 12-inning game, was back in the lineup.

So, too, was Khris Davis, who was winged in the 12th inning Saturday just above the elbow. The numbness having dissipated, he declared himself good to go.

And then there was the case of Sonny Gray, who was activated off the disabled list to make Sunday’s start against the Astros. He was sidelined two weeks ago by a right trapezius injury, but that seems to be behind him and the only question seems to be how deep into the game will he be able to get after 15 days off.

Gray was down to throw about 80 pitches when he was scheduled to start Sunday with Class-A Stockton. That hasn’t changed much now that the A’s needed him to start in the big leagues.

“We’ll see, it’ll be somewhere in the vicinity, depending on how he gets there and on the inning,’’ manager Bob Melvin said. “I do have a pretty deep bullpen today.’’

Melvin said of Crisp “I doubt he’s 100 percent,’’ but it was a positive sign that Crisp was playing because as recently as Saturday the manager was speculating that Crisp might need Sunday off.

As for Davis, he was in the lineup provisionally. He was hit on a nerve above the left elbow and briefly lost feeling in his hand Saturday night. He proclaimed himself ready to go, but the A’s put him through a workout in the batting cage to make sure all was well. If not, Melvin said he was prepared to make some changes.

 

NOTES

–Liam Hendriks reportedly felt good after his simulated game with the Stockton Ports. “He was encouraged,’’ Melvin said. “It had been a while since he’d felt really good.’’ Hendriks threw to hitters with extra intensity and came out of the day happy with the progress he’s been making.

–Rotation candidate Henderson Alvarez threw 35 pitches in a bullpen session Saturday. The A’s are mulling over what is next for Alvarez, who is trying to come back after having shoulder surgery last July. It will probably involve him facing hitters, either in a simulated game or on an injury rehab assignment.

–Rich Hill, skipped in the rotation this weekend because of a mild left groin strain, is down to throw a bullpen session Wednesday in Milwaukee, but it’s not clear yet what date next weekend he will return to the rotation in Cincinnati. Because the A’s have off days Monday and Thursday, Melvin and pitching coach have leeway in moving the starters around and assigning extra rest, as needed. The best guess is that he would start Friday so that he and fellow lefty Sean Manaea, due to start next Sunday, wouldn’t be pitching on back-to-back days.

–The A’s were talking 24 hours later about the play Houston left fielder Colby Rasmus made to throw out Jed Lowrie, who was going for a double in the 11th inning Saturday. “When the ball was hit, I thought it would be a double fairly easily,’’ Melvin said. “He was in the right spot, made a great throw. It was a great play.’’

–Much has been made that A’s reliever Ryan Dull has not allowed any of his 21 inherited runners to score, but more than that, hitters are 0-for-32 against him with men in scoring position.

–Reliever Sean Doolittle is on a major streak with one urn allowed in his last 12 games over 11.1 innings. He not only has a 0.79 over that stretch, but he has recorded 20 strikeouts while walking just two, one of those intentional.