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Vogt out after cortisone shot, Venditte could be throwing by end of the week

Stephen Vogt is out of the lineup Tuesday after getting a cortisone shot in his left elbow. ( (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

Stephen Vogt is out of the lineup Tuesday after getting a cortisone shot in his left elbow. ( (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

A’s catcher Stephen Vogt had a cortisone shot in his left elbow and is not in the lineup Tuesday for the opener of a brief three-game road trip to Texas.

Vogt had the cortisone shot on Sunday to relieve what was diagnosed as “tennis elbow” and manager Bob Melvin expects him to be in the lineup Wednesday night against the Rangers. His availability to pinch-hit Tuesday will be determined based on how Vogt feels once the game is underway.

“He’s been dealing with it,” Melvin said of the elbow. “I think once he gets into the batter’s box, he doesn’t think too much about it. Yet, there’s some days that it’s worse than others. Some swings are worse than others.” Continue Reading

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Ron Washington returns to Texas, tells Rangers fans “I love them”

IMG_5758ARLINGTON, TEXAS — Ron Washington was greeted everywhere he went Tuesday when he returned to the stadium where he managed for eight years.

“I parked in the parking lot upstairs and the fans greeted me coming in, then the security guards and all the guys riding around through the tunnel on the carts,” Washington said, “and then I finally made it to the clubhouse.”

Cameras followed Washington as he worked with infielders early before Tuesday’s A’s game with the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park. It’s the first time Washington, now an A’s coach, has been back at his former home stadium since resigning in September 2014 citing personal issues that he later revealed involved infidelity. Continue Reading

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Lawrie shrugs off bad call at third base to get A’s going

Brett Lawrie thought he was safe on this attempted steal of third base. After replay review, the out call against him stood.

Brett Lawrie thought he was safe on this attempted steal of third base. After replay review, the out call against him stood.

No one has yet convinced Brett Lawrie that he was out on his attempted steal of third base in the second inning Sunday.

No one has yet completely convinced A’s manager Bob Melvin that he should have had to forfeit his replay challenge when the replay did not go the A’s way, either.

Lawrie tried to take advantage of Angels’ third baseman David Freese setting up close to the shortstop spot as the Angels shifted weigh Ike Davis at the plate.

He seemed to beat the throw from pitcher Garrett Richards, getting a “safe’’ call from ump Greg Gibson before Gibson called him out for over-sliding the bag.

“I was safe,’’ Lawrie said. “I haven’t watched the video, but I’m 100 percent sure of that.’’

The A’s challenged the call on the over-slide. After a horrifically long delay of five minutes, 14 seconds, the out was confirmed – not on the over-slide, but on the original safe call.

The ruling was that Lawrie had been tagged by Freese on the right shoulder, a ruling that wasn’t immediately obvious on watching the replay.

Because he hadn’t challenged that part of the play, Melvin argued that he shouldn’t be penalized the loss of his right to challenge.

“There is probably still some debate on whether he got him or not,’’ Melvin said of the Freese tag of Lawrie. “The debate went on for a few innings. I wanted to see if I could get my challenge back. The (umpiring) crew is terrific. They did everything they could; they called back to New York. There has never been that precedent before. I credit them.

“I think what they are saying is that no matter what the challenge is, it’s the whole play (that gets reviewed). I did not get the challenge back. If I did, I would have brought it here with me (to the interview room.’’

Melvin had no problem with Lawrie’s decision on his own to try at steal third.

“It’s a pretty heady play,’’ the manager said. “No one is paying attention to him and the third baseman is quite a ways away. It took an absolutely perfect throw to get him. And then there is probably still some debate on whether he got him or not.’’

It was a big day for Lawrie, who made a tumbling catch on the bullpen mound in the fourth inning, and who singled to drive in the first of two Oakland add-on runs in the sixth inning. After a slow start to the season, his overall average is up to .291 after averaging .365 so far in June, 23-for-63.

“He was huge for us today,’’ catcher Stephen Vogt said of Lawrie. “With that unbelievable catch there, he’s the player of the game for us today. This whole year, Brett Lawrie’s been the same guy. Nothing has changed. Whether it’s four punch outs or hitting like he has been lately, he shows that intensity, always plays hard.’’

Lawrie wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I make a conscious effort for it to be that way,’’ Lawrie said. “There’s just so much baseball, so much time. Yesterday is one day, but today’s another day. I can’t let it bother me.

“I’ve been playing this game for a little while now. Stuff will bother you, but to let it linger, that’s something I’ve been working hard on. Every day is a new day and it’s just good to come each day into a clubhouse of fresh energy.’’

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Vogt makes his pitch for All-Star inclusion with his bat

Stephen Vogt is making a strong case for inclusion on the AL All-Star team.

Stephen Vogt is making a strong case for inclusion on the AL All-Star team.

Stephen Vogt, All-Star. Has a nice ring to it.

Vogt is making a very strong case for himself to get a berth in next month’s showcase game in Cincinnati, including three more hits Saturday and an RBI, his 51st, moving him at least temporarily into a tie with the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera for the American League RBI lead.

Vogt said he doesn’t allow his focus to drift in that direction, but he’s heard the talk.

“It’s awesome to be in that conversation,’’ he said. “I don’t think about it much, but obviously it’s an honor as a major league baseball player. It’s pretty special.’’

Manager Bob Melvin said that Vogt, hitting .293 with 13 homers, along with starting pitcher Sonny Gray and right fielder Josh Reddick, need to be in the conversation. As for Vogt specifically, Melvin can’t sing his catcher’s praises enough, even when Vogt is the DH, as was the case Saturday.

“He’s been as consistent a performer, not only for us, but for anybody in the American League,’’ the manager said. “You try to find ways to get him in there. Today was at DH. He’s hitting lefties; he’s getting big hits for you. You look at his body of work and he’s played as well as anybody in the league.’’

The 51 RBI is not only a single-season high, it matches his previous career total spread over parts of the previous three season with Tampa Bay and, since 2013, with Oakland.

Vogt said it’s just a matter of being the right bat in the right spot.

“I’ve just been feeling good at the plate,’’ he said. “I’ve been hitting behind a lot of guys who are getting on base this year. A lot of guys in this lineup are having great years. I’ve been fortunate to hit behind them.’’

Melvin hasn’t pitched his case yet with AL All-Star manager Ned Yost yet, but it’s likely the subject may come up next weekend with the Royals in town.

“If I feel like I need some input, I’ve done that before,’’ Melvin said about approaching the All-Star skipper, who does get some picks after the fans and the players have their choices. “I think a lot of our guys, the numbers speak for themselves.’’

That would be particularly true of Gray, who continues to lead the AL in ERA at 1.95 despite having his poorest start of the season Friday, giving up six runs (five earned) in six-plus innings. Melvin sees Gray on the short list of candidates to start for the AL.

“There is no question about Sonny,’’ he said. “There are other guys in the conversation, but he certainly has to be there.’’

 

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Melvin pushes Gray as strong candidate for All-Star start, sees Vogt and Reddick as worthy of inclusion on AL roster

Sonny Gray should be a strong candidate to start All-Star Game, manager Bob Melvin says.

Sonny Gray should be a strong candidate to start All-Star Game, manager Bob Melvin says.

When Major League Commissioner Rob Manfred stopped by the Coliseum Friday, he said that even with fans in Kansas City making a strong effort to stack the vote for the All-Star Game, he was satisfied for the most part with the selection process for the mid-summer showcase.

A’s manager Bob Melvin agrees with that, but as the manager of a last-place team with at least three men he sees as potential All-Stars – catcher Stephen Vogt, starter Sonny Gray and right fielder Josh Reddick – he also realizes the system isn’t the A’s friend.

Teams with the worst record in the league traditionally have trouble getting multiple representatives. Even teams better than dead last have problems, In the eight seasons between 2005 and 2012, the A’s had more than one player on the team just once.

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Error-per-game defense has become almost unwatchable

Brett Lawrie's fourth-inning error led to second of Angels' runs Friday.

Brett Lawrie’s fourth-inning error led to second of Angels’ runs Friday.

To watch the A’s play defense this year is a study in the macabre.

With Friday’s four errors in a 12-7 loss to the Angels, Oakland has made 69 errors in 70 games and is on a pace for 160 errors this season.

It wouldn’t be a club record – from 1977-79, three of the worst clubs in Oakland history averaged 182 errors – and the 1982 team, the last of the Billy Martin “BillyBall’’ teams, committed 160 on the nose.

Still it’s been three decades since the A’s made that many, and this team, the numbers notwithstanding, should be better defensively than it is.

Brett Lawrie’s inability to grab a hard grounder hit to third base by Albert Pujols in the fourth inning led to a run.

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Familiarity with Sonny Gray breeds Angels’ respect

Sonny Gray has been as tough on the Angels as anyone in baseball.

Sonny Gray has been as tough on the Angels as anyone in baseball.

Friday night was the A’s 70th game of the year and the 15th start of the season for Sonny Gray.

It was the fourth of those 15 in which Gray had been matched against the Angels, and while that may just be a schedule fluke for most, it’s a major impediment to the Angels, who are 0-3 against Gray, scoring just four runs (three earned) in 22.2 innings.

Angels’ slugger Mike Trout is an MVP candidate year-in and year-out, but against Gray he’s been amazingly ordinary, just four hits in 22 at-bats (.182) coming into Friday. Seeing lots of Gray he hopes will at some point show some benefit.

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Manfred says A’s stadium important, but still seems stalled; San Jose seems stuck on legal back burner

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said the current Coliseum and Arena site would be the best spot for a new baseball-only stadium for the A's.

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said the current Coliseum and Arena site would be the best spot for a new baseball-only stadium for the A’s.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said the best possible solution for the A’s ongoing quest for a new home would be to build a new baseball-only stadium at the site of the current Coliseum and Arena facility.

At the same time, Manfred all but ruled out the A’s staying in Oakland at the current site if the Raiders were to go ahead and attempt to build a stadium at the facility off I-880 between Hegenberger Road and 66th Ave.

And any A’s move to San Jose is on permanent hiatus until the lawsuit between San Jose and MLB over the A’s inability to relocate is settled by the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Reddick, Burns survive collision in right-center

Billy Burns (left) and Josh Reddick collide in pursuit of a Melvin Upton Jr. fly ball in right-center Thursday.  Upton got a triple, and both A's outfielder remained in the game.

Billy Burns (left) and Josh Reddick collide in pursuit of a Melvin Upton Jr. fly ball in right-center Thursday. Upton got a triple, and both A’s outfielder remained in the game.

Most pictures may be worth a thousand words, but a shot of the collision of Josh Reddick and Billy Burns at the right field wall could be boiled down to just six: “Man, that has got to hurt.’’

And it did, although not nearly as much as the A’s first feared. Assistant trainer Walt Horn ran out with manager Bob Melvin to check Reddick out, but left him in once he’d shaken off the worst of it.

Reddick was hit in the head by Burns’ left elbow and in the groin by Burn’s knee. Burns said he had the wind knocked out of him after the collision, which came while both men were in pursuit of a ball hit to the wall by Melvin (formerly B.J.) Upton Jr.

“It wasn’t as bad as everybody anticipated,’’ Reddick said. “It was just a knee to the wrong section of the body. No doubt that I was going to stay in. I just needed some time.’’

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Warriors make the logistics Friday work better for us all

It would have been a crush Friday at the Coliseum and Arena if the Warriors and A's both wound up playing. Now the Warriors will have an NBA championship parade instead.

It would have been a crush Friday at the Coliseum and Arena if the Warriors and A’s both wound up playing. Now the Warriors will have an NBA championship parade instead.

As the Warriors have their championship parade Friday in Oakland, we’re left to think what might have been had not Golden State closed out their NBA title run in Cleveland Tuesday.

Game 7 would have been set for Friday at 6 p.m. in the Arena. The A’s were set for a 6:35 p.m. start across the way in the Coliseum against the Angels, and as it is the A’s second fireworks night of the season, that wasn’t going to be changed.

So the transit situation had every chance to be a logistical nightmare, particularly with national television trucks due to eat into some of the park on the south side of the Coliseum and Arena complex.

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