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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Dillon Overton to be fifth rookie to make a start for A’s

Lefty Dillon Overton will make his Major League debut Saturday starting against the Angels.

Lefty Dillon Overton will make his Major League debut Saturday starting against the Angels.

Dillon Overton will be the fifth rookie to make his first Major League appearance and start for the A’s this year when he takes the ball for Oakland Saturday against the Angels.

Rookies having already made the jump are Sean Manaea, Daniel Mengden, Andrew Triggs and Zach Neal, although it says something about the A’s mad scramble to find starting pitching in the middle of having an entire starting rotation on the disabled list that Triggs and Neal are seen as relievers and simply got starts because the A’s needed somebody, anybody.

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A’s go with Eric Surkamp Friday; will Dillon Overton be next?


Eric Surkamp moves up from Saturday and will start Friday vs. Angels.

Eric Surkamp moves up from Saturday and will start Friday vs. Angels.

The A’s will move up Eric Surkamp from Saturday to Friday to start against the Angels, for the moment leaving the starting slot Saturday open.

Oakland is expected to go with rookie Dillon Overton, who is 7-0 with a 1.40 ERA in his last seven starts. The left-hander’s regular day to pitch would be Saturday, and Surkamp’s fifth day would be Friday.

Manager Bob Melvin said the club would have an official announcement after Thursday’s game.

If Overton, who is 8-4, 3.01 with 1.28 WHIP in 14 games, 13 starts, for the Sounds, he will be the fifth rookie to make his first Major League start for the A’s this season, joining Sean Manaea, Daniel Mengden, Andrew Triggs and Zach Neal.

Like Manaea and Mengden, Overton is one of the A’s highly touted prospects, being the second-round pick of the club in the 2013 draft. He didn’t pitch above Class A until the middle of last year, but ever since he’s been on a special trajectory.

And like Manaea and Mengden, Overton is a pitcher the A’s didn’t plan on having join them this season. He’s only had half a season at Double-A and the same at Triple-A, and at 24, perhaps could use more time working on his game.

If the A’s decide to go with Neal or recalled Jesse Hahn to make the start instead, it will be because they don’t want to have Overton up for just a start or two knowing that Rich Hill and Manaea are due off the disabled list in the next 10 days or so.



–Henderson Alvarez met with orthopedist Dr. James Andrews for a second day Thursday. Twice Alvarez has been one start away from rejoining the A’s rotation, and twice shoulder problems have cropped up. Alvarez reportedly is feeling good again, but the two previous shutdowns suggest something is going on in his shoulder. “It’s a confusing situation,’’ Melvin said.

–Max Muncy got the start as the No. 2 hitter in the lineup. “We just trying to shake it up a bit right now,’’ Melvin said. “We’ve been a little stagnant offensively.’’ Muncy is hitting .250 in just 24 at-bats, but has impressed Melvin both offensively and defensively. Muncy said he spent the majority of his time at Triple-A batting second, so while this will be his first time there this year “it’s not like I have to learn a new approach.’’

–Hill will throw a bullpen Friday, then is down to throw Monday for Stockton in Modesto, after which he hopes to be back in the rotation. “I’m feeling as good as ever,’’ Hill said, his groin injury a distant memory. He still has hopes of an All-Star Game call, being that his’ 8-3 and with a 2.25 ERA. He’s tied for fifth in the league in wins and would rank third in the AL in ERA if he had enough innings to qualify. He could get three more starts before the All-Star Game, and “that would be a dream,’’ he said.

–Getting his first start with the A’s Thursday was Arismendy Alcantara, who played both infield and outfield in the minor leagues and got the start at second base a day after stealing a base as a pinch-running Wednesday. “What we saw was a blur,’’ Melvin said. “He couldn’t wait to run. We actually had a hold on him for a little bit.’’ Alcantara was 26-for-26 as the leading Pacific Coast League base stealer before getting called up.

–Right fielder Josh Reddick played in one of two Nashville games in a Thursday doubleheader and is on track to return to the A’s Monday in San Francisco.

–Jim Eppard, the minor league hitting coordinator, joined the club Thursday for the Angels series. He hasn’t seen the club since spring training, so Melvin will wait to hear what Eppard sees happening. “It’s nice to get feedback,’’ Melvin said. “He’s a guy who saw us when we left. When you are part of it each and every day, sometimes you don’t see what someone who hasn’t been here for a while.’’



Sonny Gray seems to be closing in on an elusive win

Sonny Gray (center) hasn't won a game since April, but he says he's getting that winning feeling back.

Sonny Gray (center) hasn’t won a game since April, but he says he’s getting that winning feeling back.

It’s been nine starts for Sonny Gray without getting a win.

And that doesn’t include the 15 days he spent on the disabled list.

You have to go back to April 22 when Gray beat Toronto to improve to 3-1 that he last put up a win. He didn’t get the win his last time out against Texas, and he didn’t get the win Tuesday against the Brewers.

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Alcantara latest burst of versatility to join A’s

Arismendy Alcantara was called up by the A's for the first time Tuesday.

Arismendy Alcantara was called up by the A’s for the first time Tuesday.

The A’s took another dip into their minor league system Tuesday, calling up infielder/outfielder Arismendy Alcantara from Triple-A Nashville to bring the club more versatility.

Originally signed by the Cubs out of the Dominican Republic in 2008, the 24-year-old Alcantara was picked up by the A’s about two weeks ago in a trade that sent Chris Coghlan to Chicago. He’s the current Pacific Coast League leader in steals, perfect on all 26 of his attempts.

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Billy Beane trying to find a fix for A’s injury woes

Billy Beane has his hands full looking for solutions to the A's injury epidemic.

Billy Beane has his hands full looking for solutions to the A’s injury epidemic.

It’s a given that medical dramas will always have a strong appeal to television viewers.

It’s less so for watchers of baseball. Hospital trips get in the way of plot lines rather than sustaining them. The injured party may be the center of attention on the small screen, but the player is simply out of the picture in baseball.

Nowhere is that more evident than in Oakland, where the A’s are in the words of executive vice president Billy Beane “living under the shadow of this injury epidemic.’’

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Henderson Alvarez shoulder problems crop up again; A’s shut down his rehabilitation assignment for second time

Henderson Alvarez had hoped to join A's rotation this week. He won't.

Henderson Alvarez had hoped to join A’s rotation this week. He won’t.

The riddle that is Henderson Alvarez’s right shoulder jumped back into the forefront with the A’s Sunday with the news that he had more shoulder pain during what was supposed to be his final injury rehabilitation assignment start Saturday night in Nashville.

After pitching three innings without difficulty, Alvarez went out to start the fourth inning against Round Rock and felt a recurrence of the shoulder pain that has plagued him off and on. He had shoulder surgery last July and then in what was supposed to be his last rehab start May 15 had to be shut down after five innings.

“He was feeling some pain,’’ manager Bob Melvin said. “We’ve shut him down. Unfortunately when we have him right on the verge of getting him back here, something pops up.

“It’s a setback. Is it worse? That’s tough to tell. He said there was pain in the shoulder. He was aware enough to stop. But where we go from here, we’re not sure yet.’’

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A’s cannot ‘solve’ Tim Lincecum, lose to Angels 7-1

Los Angeles Angels' Tim Lincecum pitches against the Oakland Athletics in the second inning at Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Saturday, June 18, 2016. (Jim Gensheimer/Bay Area News Group)

Tim Lincecum allows one run over six innings in his Angels debut on Saturday at the Coliseum. (Jim Gensheimer/Bay Area News Group)

OAKLAND — A’s manager Bob Melvin countered Tim Lincecum’s season debut with an assembly line of pitchers Saturday.

But, collectively, they were no match for the newest Angel.

Solo home runs by Mike Trout and Johnny Giavotella erased an A’s lead in the fourth inning, and the Angels erupted for five runs in the sixth on their way to a 7-1 victory before an announced crowd of 25,078 at the Coliseum.

Lincecum, who generated plenty of cheers from a mix of Angels and Giants fans, allowed one run and four hits over six innings in his first big league game not in orange and black.

“We couldn’t solve him,” Melvin said. “Give him credit.”

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