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A’s who might be traded say they don’t want to leave

Josh Reddick and his teammates don't relish the thought of being traded, even with the A's still in last place.

Josh Reddick and his teammates don’t relish the thought of being traded, even with the A’s still in last place.

It didn’t talk long for the players in the A’s clubhouse to start talking among themselves after news broke that their teammate, Scott Kazmir, had been traded to Houston.

They’d read the speculation, they’d heard the questions and they’d seen their spot in the American League West standings.

More than that, they know how general manager Billy Beane works. They knew that Beane stripped the club down in 2012 when it seemed the club was out of contention. They knew, too, that Beane had made a parcel of moves to bring in top talent last year when the A’s had a leg up on the rest of the West.

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Kazmir to Astros likely just the first step in retooling for A’s

Scott Kazmir is probably just the first domino to fall as A's face reality of being 11 games out in AL West.

Scott Kazmir is probably just the first domino to fall as A’s face reality of being 11 games out in AL West.

The dismantling of the 2015 A’s began Thursday morning when the club traded left-handed pitcher Scott Kazmir to the Houston Astros.

Unable to overcome the hole they dug for themselves when they lost 14 of 16 in May, the A’s looked at their less-than-loft position, 11 games out of first place in the American League West, and bowed to the inevitable.

The A’s got two Class-A players in exchange, including catcher Jacob Nottingham, without whose inclusion general manager Billy Beane said the deal would not have happened. Nottingham, who is hitting .324 with 24 doubles, 14 homers and 60 RBIs in 76 games, and right-handed pitcher Daniel Mengden (6-2, 3.46 at Class-A) will report to the A’s Stockton franchise.

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Crisp wants to play now; A’s not willing to rush him

Coco Crisp is taking batting practice and can't wait to get back into games for A's.

Coco Crisp is taking batting practice and can’t wait to get back into games for A’s.

Coco Crisp said it felt good to get back on the field and take batting practice Tuesday.

How good? Well, he didn’t feel his neck a bit when he was batting from the left side. Didn’t feel it when hitting from the right side, either.

“I feel fine,’’ Crisp said. “I’m just getting back to it.’’

Crisp has spent the better part of two years battling neck pain. He could get surgery, but doctors say that if he was to take that route, he’d have to retire, and Crisp isn’t ready to do that.

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Donaldson says Beane doesn’t need forgiveness for trade; Zobrist continues to wait, watch as trade deadline nears

Josh Donaldson is in a different uniform as he returns to Coliseum for the first time since last September.

Josh Donaldson is in a different uniform as he returns to Coliseum for the first time since last September.

When he got the news in early November that Oakland had traded him to Toronto, Josh Donaldson said he needed “two or three weeks before it really registered.’’

While the third baseman was getting used to life north of the border, he said it never crossed his mind to blame Billy Beane for his changed circumstances, the A’s general manager being the man who had engineered the trade.

“It was never a matter of having to forgive Billy for that.’’ Donaldson said. “I loved playing here and I thought we had the core of a competitive team for a long time. But I never thought in terms of needing to forgive him.

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Chavez can figure on staying in rotation this time around

Jesse Chavez pitched six shutout innings Sunday, suggesting the time he had off helped him.

Jesse Chavez pitched six shutout innings Sunday, suggesting the time he had off helped him.

Jesse Chavez made his last regular start of the 2014 season about 51 weeks ago.

The A’s were afraid Chavez, who had been primarily a reliever before being moved into the rotation last year, was running out of gas.

A couple of days after Chavez’ July 28, 2014 start, a 7-3 loss to the Astros, Oakland traded for Jon Lester and Chavez’s spot in the rotation was forfeit.

The A’s won’t be bringing in a starter for hire this time around, not at eight games under .500 and barely out of last place in the American League West.

That’s why it was particularly good for the A’s to see Chavez begin the second half of the season with six shutout innings in a 14-1 win over the Twins Sunday.

It was the first start for Chavez after a nine-day layoff sandwiched around the All-Star break.

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Rather than go stir-crazy, Doolittle does his bit with stirrups

Sean Doolittle says it's tough mentally to deal with being unable to pitch because of injuries.

Sean Doolittle says it’s tough mentally to deal with being unable to pitch because of injuries.

There is almost nothing a player on the 60-day disabled list can do to help his team win.

The key word is “almost.’’

Sean Doolittle has gotten more than a little bored during a 2015 season in which shoulder problems have limited him to one game pitched. Saturday night that bored took a sartorial bend when the A’s closer missed up his uniform choices by going with the old-school look of stirrups and socks rather than just socks.

It was a little thing, but when the A’s won 3-2 in 10 innings, Doolittle wasn’t about to discount the stirrups as an omen of good luck.

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As strange as season has been, Billy Burns offers great hope for long-range future

I Believe In Billy Burns. And so does Stephen Vogt.

“He’s been a consistent, solid baseball player all season,” Vogt said Saturday night. “He’s the Rookie of the Year, in my opinion.”

Burns should be the Rookie of the Year in a lot of people’s opinions by now. If he’s not, they’re not paying close enough attention, and that’s entirely possible considering Oakland’s standing in the American League. But the campaign needs to start now, because there is not a better candidate out there, and he may need some public relations to drive home the obvious.

Burns scored the game-winning run in the A’s 3-2 10-inning victory on Vogt’s first-pitch single, and if Rickey Henderson was watching at home, you know he was saying, “Yeah, kid.”

Vogt got the Gatorade shower and the shaving cream pie, but Burns was the true hero of the winning rally. He not only opened the bottom of the 10th with a double in the right-center gap, he boldly bolted for third with nobody out and stole the base. Maybe not the proper play with the meat of the A’s order coming up, but no question, once he made it, the odds increased significantly that Oakland would get him home.

“I tried to time it up to get a good jump and I feel like I did get a good jump, so I just carried through with it,” Burns said. “Sometimes I’ll shut it down but I felt with the timing I had I thought I had a good shot at it, so I just took a chance.”
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Bullpen showing signs of a resurgence at long last

Dan Otero made his return to A's Friday a success with three strikeouts in one scoreless inning.

Dan Otero made his return to A’s Friday a success with three strikeouts in one scoreless inning.

Bright spots were as hard to find in the Coliseum Friday as rain in Northern California, but Oakland did get three innings of shutout pitching from the bullpen, one more sign that the pen finally may be getting its act together.

Dan Otero pitched the seventh, Fernando Abad the eighth and Fernando Rodriguez the ninth after starter Sonny Gray gave up five runs in six innings to the Minnesota Twins.

The last four weeks or so have been good for the Oakland pen. In 21 games, the relievers have allowed one or zero runs 17 times. Since the A’s bottomed out at 16 games under .500 with a loss on May 22 at which the bullpen ERA was 4.82, the relief corps has a 3.36 ERA while Oakland has a 27-21 record.

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Hahn grateful he stopped throwing while UCL was still intact; A’s starter not likely to return before September

Jesse Hahn likely will not pitch for #Athletics until September after diagnosis, but it could be worse.

Jesse Hahn likely will not pitch for #Athletics until September after diagnosis, but it could be worse.

A’s starter Jesse Hahn said he used the All-Star break to decompress and get himself together after learning Monday that he’d be unable to throw a baseball for another month.

The right-hander, 6-6 overall and 4-1 in his last six starts, hasn’t thrown in a game since July 1, so that timetable means he will go about six weeks without throwing.

And that’s if all goes well.

After regrouping mentally, Hahn said the up side is that his UCL (ulnar collateral ligament) in his right elbow is intact, and that if he hadn’t been shut down, it might have been at risk. And as the UCL is the ligament that needs reconstruction in Tommy John surgery, Hahn is delighted not to go there.

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Ken Korach back as the A’s radio voice, but for how long?

Ken Korach, the radio voice of the A’s for 20 seasons, was scheduled to move back behind the microphone on 95.7 The Game, the A’s flagship station for the first time Friday night for Oakland-Minnesota second-half opener.

Korach has been hobbled by pain in his left knee, which he has been rehabbing since suffering an off-season injury. He isn’t pain free, but with the A’s schedule keeping the team in the Bay Area for most of the next three weeks, he, his doctors and the A’s decided to see how it goes.

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