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.



Teammates happy for Coco Crisp, but sad to see him go

His A's teammates are sorry to see Coco Crisp leave, but happy he'll be in a pennant race with Indians.

His A’s teammates are sorry to see Coco Crisp leave, but happy he’ll be in a pennant race with Indians.

The official announcement of the trade of Coco Crisp to the Indians will come down Wednesday morning.

For the A’s, it came Tuesday night as his now former teammates said their goodbyes before Crisp packed up and left, there being no need for him to watch an Oakland 3-1 loss to Houston. It was the A’s 75th loss against 57 wins, a record that screams out for roster shakeups.

The A’s are packaging a bunch of cash to go with Crisp to the Indians, and Cleveland will send a mid-level prospect or two to the A’s in return. Whoever it is the A’s get, he won’t join Oakland as Crisp’s replacement. That will be Triple-A second baseman Joey Wendel, who should be in Houston in time for Wednesday’s series finale.

“Coco was great; he did a lot here in Oakland on the field and with fans and he was a great teammate,’’ Kendall Graveman said in the wake of pitching seven innings and taking his ninth loss of the season. “We played one last game of cards and I won; I told him `you can’t leave me a loser’. I think maybe he let me win.

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Coco Crisp trade to Indians will come down Wednesday


Coco Crisp will be joining the Cleveland Indians for the pennant drive.

Coco Crisp will be joining the Cleveland Indians for the pennant drive.

Coco Crisp has been traded to the Cleveland Indians by the A’s, with an official announcement about the deal’s particulars due Wednesday.

According to someone close to the outfielder, Crisp waived his no-trade 10-and-5 rights (10 years in the big leagues and the last five with the same team) on Tuesday to facilitate a trade to the team with which he debuted in 2002.

Crisp wasn’t in the A’s starting lineup, which manager Bob Melvin said was “always scheduled as a day off,’’ but the 36-year-old switch hitter packed up and left the Oakland clubhouse at Minute Maid Field about an hour before the start of the game.

The A’s will be sending cash to the Indians and could wind up getting some mid-grade prospects in return.

After being limited to just 44 games by head and neck problems last year, Crisp has been one of the few Oakland players to avoid the disabled list all year. He’s played in 102 of the 132 games the A’s have played this year with a slash line of .234/.299/.399. He’s mostly been used by the A’s against right-handed pitching, where he’s hit .239 (.217 against lefties).

Crisp, who came to the A’s in 2010, leads the Major Leagues with a .424 batting average with runners in scoring position.

The Indians, 74-56 and in the lead by 4.5 games over Detroit in the American League Central, has been trying to cover for the loss to injury of outfielder Michael Brantley. Crisp doesn’t necessarily figure to play every day, but he could wind up starting against most right-handed starting pitchers as Cleveland pushes toward the post-season.

His contract with the A’s calls for $11.75 million this year and has an option for $13 million that vests if he reaches 130 games played. He would need to play in 28 more games, and the Indians only have 31 games left after Tuesday.



Ryon Healy confident after bummer of a day defensively

Ryon Healy will have to prove to the A's that he can handle third base defensively heading forward.

Ryon Healy will have to prove to the A’s that he can handle third base defensively heading forward.

The second inning Monday scarcely could have gone worse for Ryon Healy.

The A’s rookie third baseman had the first play of the bottom of the second come his way. Houston’s Yuli Gurriel’s slow roller was going to be a difficult third out of the inning, Healy got to the ball, and bounced a throw to first base. Gurriel had a hit, and short of a laser throw on the fly from Healy, he would have had a single, no matter what.

Marwin Gonzalez followed with an inning-ending grounder, or it would have been inning-ending if Healy hadn’t muffed the pickup. Now the Astros had two men on with two out and Teoscar Hernandez at the plate.

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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.



–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.


A’s ship Marc Rzepczynski to Nationals for minor leaguer

The A's traded lefty reliever Marc Rzepczynski to the Nationals Thursday for a minor league infielder, Max Schrock.

The A’s traded lefty reliever Marc Rzepczynski to the Nationals Thursday for a minor league infielder, Max Schrock.

The A’s dealt left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski to the Washington Nationals Thursday morning, getting a minor league infielder, Max Schrock, in return.

The A’s also sent $500,000 to the Nationals to complete the trade.

Oakland, which flies to St. Louis Thursday to begin a three-game series against the Cardinals starting on Friday, will have to make a roster move to fill in with Rzepczynski’s departure.

Rzepczynski began the season as the A’s lefty-on-lefty reliever out of the bullpen and had pitched in 56 of the A’s 127 game with a 1-0 record and 3.00 ERA. His ground-ball rate has been the second-best in the majors behind Orioles’ closer Zach Britton.

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Kendall Graveman moves in as ace of A’s rotation

Kendall Graveman served up a 5-1 win over the Indians Wednesday.

Kendall Graveman served up a 5-1 win over the Indians Wednesday.

How does a pitcher who began the season with a 1-6 record and 5.48 ERA morph into becoming the ace of his team’s rotation?

The answer, if you are Kendall Graveman, is to rediscover the best qualities of his sinker while pitching for an A’s team that lost one starter, Rich Hill, to a trade while seeing another ace, Sonny Gray, on and off the disabled list in the midst of his worst big league season.

Graveman stretched his record to 10-8 Wednesday with his ninth win in his last 11 decisions. He threw a shutout his last time out against the White Sox and had Cleveland, the team with the American League’s best record, blanked for 6.2 innings of a 5-1 Oakland win.

He is, in fact, the A’s ace.

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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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Billy Butler apologies to teammates for his role in fight

Billy Butler and Danny Valencia may be in the process of putting their fight behind them.

Billy Butler and Danny Valencia may be in the process of putting their fight behind them.

A’s designated hitter Billy Butler, on the seven-day concussion disabled list, addressed the media Wednesday morning to apologize for his role in the fight with teammate Danny Valencia Friday in Chicago that led to the concussion.

Butler, who said he’d never been on the disabled list in his decade in the big leagues, said he talked individually with his teammates Tuesday to apologize and planned on sitting with Valencia Wednesday to do the same.

“I want to say just to my teammates, I would like to apologize to them for putting them through this,’’ Butler said with what seemed to be genuine contrition. “They did not deserve this. It was an issue between me and Danny. And to be fair to them, they didn’t deserve this.

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For the A’s Jake Smolinski, the fun starts in center field

Jake Smolinski has been putting on a defensive show in center since getting the chance from the A's.

Jake Smolinski has been putting on a defensive show in center since getting the chance from the A’s.

Jake Smolinski can’t fly, but as he showed Tuesday night in the Coliseum, he can put on a good impression.

He did it in the eighth inning Tuesday, racing into the right center field gap to chase down a rocket off the bat of pinch-hitter Lonnie Chisenhall.

It was, to say the least, jaw-dropping.

“That was a fun game out there tonight,” Smolinski said. “Everybody played a big part in this one. Those are fun games to play.”

There have been entirely too few of those for Oakland this year. But the A’s got terrific starting pitching from Sean Manaea, the bullpen turned the Indians away, and the offense scored nine times, just the sixth time Oakland has scored as many as nine runs in a game.

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