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A’s Jesse Hahn surprised, disappointed to be sent down; rainout, doubleheader are factors with club making change

Jesse Hahn got the news he as being sent back to Triple-A for the short term.

Jesse Hahn got the news he as being sent back to Triple-A for the short term.

A’s starter Jesse Hahn was taken by surprise when told he was being sent back down to Triple-A Nashville.

Oakland called up reliever J.B. Wendelken, who was due to arrive at Camden Yards just before the first pitch Sunday afternoon.

Hahn, the losing pitcher in Saturday’s Game 2 with Baltimore claiming a 5-2 win, had only made two starts , and in the first he didn’t allow a run.

It was the weather and the A’s schedule that conspired against Hahn. He and Rich Hill are both due to pitch in five days, which is an off-day Thursday while Oakland is between the Boston and Tampa Bay on this road trip.

“Mostly it’s due to the fact we’re going to need a starter before Jesse pitches again,’’ manager Bob Melvin said. “The rain threw us for a little loop that way. It happens during the course of a season. And we need another arm for today. You can always use an extra arm after a doubleheader.

Hill, who has been on a nice roll, will be held back one day to pitch Friday in Tampa, and if Hahn was kept around, he’d wind up going on six days’ rest next Saturday. The A’s want to keep him going on as regular a schedule as possible, and that worked again Hahn sticking around for the moment.

“I didn’t ask too many questions, but I’m sure the doubleheader had something to do with it,’’ Hahn said. “Obviously I’m not happy about it, but all I can do is keep my head high and hope that the next time I’m here I stick.’’

Meanwhile the A’s still need a starting pitcher for Wednesday, a game that would have belonged to Hill had not Friday’s game been rained out. Left-hander Eric Surkamp remains by far the most likely candidate. The 6-foot-5 veteran made four April starts before being sent down with an 0-2 record, 5.59 ERA and 1.914 WHIP.

The A’s have ruled out inserting right-hander Henderson Alvarez in to the Wednesday slot. On his way back from last July’s shoulder surgery, Alvarez is down to make two more minor league starts, and the A’s aren’t willing to change that.

“We aren’t going to rush him, as much as we liked like to have him back here,’’ Melvin said of Alvarez, a 2014 All-Star while pitching with the Marlins. “There’ll be at least two more rehab starts.’’

 

NOTES

–Wendelken is likely up for just three days and will be sent back to Nashville when the A’s call up Surkamp to make Wednesday’s start. Melvin said it was good to have an extra reliever a day after a doubleheader, but the A’s bullpen is mostly rested.

–Khris Davis got a day off in part because Melvin is looking for ways to get Mark Canha in the lineup. Canha had a big year for the A’s as a rookie with 16 homers and 70 RBI. But he was playing three-quarters of the time in 2015. The current season has seen him play in just 15 of the A’s first 31 games, and only eight of those have been starts. “It’s tough have as quality a player as Mark Canha is sitting around for this long,’’ Melvin said. “He’s a guy who can be impactful for us, and we need to find some games for him.’’

–When Jarrod Parker starts his injury rehabilitation a little later this summer, he may do it in Nashville rather than at the A’s facilities in Arizona. Parker has spent the bulk of the last three seasons since his 2013 Tommy John surgery in Arizona and Melvin said “I think he might be a little tired of that.’’ Parker has recently seen the surgeon who operated on his arm in the spring, Dr. Neal ElAttrache. Melvin said he believed Parker was now out of the post-surgery brace his right arm had been in.

 

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A’s Marcus Semien’s productivity continues to soar

Marcus Semien is providing A's with consistent source of power in No. 9 spot.

Marcus Semien is providing A’s with consistent source of power in No. 9 spot.

Marcus Semien drove in the first run of Game 1 Saturday against the Orioles, then brought in the last two with an eighth-inning homer as the A’s beat Baltimore 8-4.

The home run was the shortstop’s eighth, which not only gives him the team lead but which at least temporarily moves him into the top five in the American League homer derby. Since he finished with 15 in 155 games last year, this is a major upgrade.

“I’ve been hitting a little more than maybe I would have hit in the first couple of months last year,’’ Semien said of his homer production after Game 1. “It’s great. I just want to continue to get hits when they count, because those are the ones that help us win.’’

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Rich Hill pitches A’s skipper Bob Melvin to 900th career win; left-hander now 4-0, 1.09 in four starts on the road

Rich Hill improved to 4-0 on road for A's in 8-4 win over Orioles.

Rich Hill improved to 4-0 on road for A’s in 8-4 win over Orioles.

Rich Hill and the A’s continued their road dominance Saturday in the early game of a day/night doubleheader in Camden Yards with an 8-4 win over the Orioles that brought a four-game losing streak to an end.

The rain that had forced the doubleheader was forecast to return, but after some early ominous clouds, the game was mostly played in the sun in front of a sparse crowd of 15,110.

The left-hander allowed just one run and two hits in 5.2 innings in stretching his record away from the Coliseum to 4-0 with a 1.09 ERA. The A’s as a group are 9-5 on the road.

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A’s likely to promote Andrew Triggs for doubleheader; Henderson Alvarez longshot option for Wednesday start

The rainout between the A’s and the Orioles in Camden Yards Friday was interesting in that it stopped raining just a little after the postponement was announced.

The weather map looked grim, to be sure, and the outfield was drenched, but it wasn’t raining much at all between 7 p.m. and at least 8:45 p.m. EDT.

The Oakland roster is going to be impacted by this in a couple of ways. For one, the A’s will be able to call up a 26th player for the second game of Saturday’s day/night doubleheader.

It’s likely to be Andrew Triggs, who has been up briefly twice before. Normally a player needs to be in the minor leagues for 10 days before being recalled, but the rules for a 26th player are somewhat different, and one of the difference is that for the one game the 10-day rule is waived.

Since Triggs didn’t pitch on Thursday, he would be well-rested. And teams almost always use the 26th player rule to add pitching because of the fear of burning through the bullpen in the space of 18 innings in a single day. So the possibility of bringing back a position player like infielder/outfielder Tyler Ladendorf seems remote.

Manager Bob Melvin said Friday night the club was still mulling its options.

After they get through with that decision, they are going to have to get to work on deciding on a pitcher for Wednesday in the series finale in Boston. Because the A’s are using two starters, Rich Hill and Jesse Hahn, Saturday, five days later they won’t have a fully rested pitcher.

If Hill or Hahn has an especially short outing, then that pitcher might be able to come back on three days’ rest. Otherwise, the A’s will have to bring up someone from the minor leagues.

That someone could be left-hander Dillon Overton, who was scheduled to start Friday for Triple-A Nashville, who is 1-2 with a 3.38 heading into that start and who would be starting on a regular five days’ rest. Or it could be lefty Eric Surkamp, who threw Wednesday, could be asked to start on seven days’ rest.

The easy call is Surkamp, because Overton isn’t on the current 40-man roster, although moving Chris Bassitt to the 60-day disabled list would create an opening.

But there is another option. Henderson Alvarez, 10 months out from shoulder surgery, is supposed to have two more starts on an injury rehabilitation assignment before joining the A’s rotation. He is scheduled for five innings and 75 pitches scheduled for Tuesday. The A’s could hold him back an extra day and hope he can give them five solid innings before turning the Wednesday game over to the bullpen.

The A’s aren’t going to force the issue on Alvarez, but all the reports about his health are good, and having him strong and stretched out is all that’s left before he’s back could be a possibility.

It’s at least a concept the A’s will have to look at.

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Henderson Alvarez closing in on a spot in A’s rotation

Starter Henderson Alvarez is probably two more minor league starts from being in the A’s rotation.

Alvarez threw 4.2 innings for Triple-A Nashville, giving up one run on three hits and three walks. The control wasn’t quite what the A’s had been looking for, but Oakland manager Bob Melvin said the reports he got were that the strike zone was tight.

“He felt good,’’ Melvin said. “It’ll be five days and 75 pitches, and then after seven and 90. Maybe those will be his last two.’’

After that, the 2014 National League All-Star with the Marlins could fit nicely into a rotation that has seen three potential starting pitchers, Jarrod Parker, Felix Doubront and Chris Bassitt, out for the season needing surgery.  Alvarez is becoming available 10 months after having shoulder surgery.

The most recent is Bassitt, who underwent Tommy John surgery in Cincinnati Friday morning and he came out of it pleased.

“Surgery was a success,’’ Bassitt said in a tweet. “Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers.’’

The surgery, performed by Dr. Timothy Kremchek, involved an ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction with an ipsilateral palmaris longus graft, the ipsilateral palmaris longus being a small tendon near the flexor carpi.

A statement put out by the A’s said Dr. Kremchek was pleased with the surgery and the outcome of the procedure. Bassitt will return to Oakland on Sunday and his rehab is due to start Monday.

Bassitt began the season in the A’s rotation, where he spent about half of the 2015 season. He was 0-2 with a 6.11 ERA and .294 opponents’ batting average, but before his right elbow started to trouble him he’d been effective, 0-0 but with a 2.79 ERA and .213 opponents’ batting average.

 

–Saying that at this point in the season “no one is 100 percent healthy,’’ Danny Valencia is back on the A’s roster and in the starting lineup for Friday.

With heavy rains having inundated Baltimore for most of the day, the Camden Yards infield doesn’t figure to be in prime shape, but Valencia, back after missing 15 days on the disabled list thanks to a hamstring issue, isn’t concerned for the extra strain the wet grounds might put on a not-quite-perfectly healthy left hamstring.

Valencia said “you can’t go out and play’’ with concerns like that on his mind, and said he’s ready to go after playing games with Class-A Stockton Monday and Wednesday as part of an injury rehabilitation assignment.

“We’ve have all played in the rain before,’’ Valencia said. “Nothing is going to stop me.’’

He said he’s anxious to see if he can help turn around the fortunes for the A’s, who come into the series having lost a season-high four consecutive games.

Melvin had him in the lineup batting seventh both because Khris Davis has hit well lately in the cleanup spot but because the manager wants to ease Valencia back in.

 

NOTES

–Coco Crisp is back with the A’s after missing Wednesday’s game while visiting a doctor for a non-baseball issue. The time off has given his heel injury time to clear up, although Melvin said he would have liked to have had Crisp have dry grounds to he could do some pregame running.

–Billy Butler got hit second consecutive start against a right-handed pitcher Friday. He had two RBI Wednesday in a game started by Felix Hernandez, and he was in Friday because in 35 plate appearances against the Orioles Ubaldo Jimenez he has 10 hits and six walks, good for a .457 on-base percentage. It’s just the fifth start against a right-hander for the right-handed Butler this year but “we are trying to get our best matchups,’’ Melvin said.

–The A’s were among the approximately two dozen teams taking a look at Tim Lincecum as the free agent pitcher had a Friday showcase. Melvin said he’d seen Lincecum at his best when he pitched for the Giants against Melvin’s Arizona Diamondbacks and said depending on what kind of velocity he shows, the right-hander “could be very impactful. Being from the Bay Area, you can’t help but pull for a guy like that.’’

–The day off for Chris Coghlan was his first non-start since April 16. He’d taken over for Valencia at third base while he was on the disabled list.

 

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Chris Bassitt’s Tommy John surgery deemed a success

Chris Bassitt won't pitch again this year after Friday's Tommy John surgery.

Chris Bassitt won’t pitch again this year after Friday’s Tommy John surgery.

A’s starting pitcher Chris Bassitt underwent Tommy John surgery in Cincinnati Friday morning and he called it a success.

“Surgery was a success,’’ Bassitt said in a tweet. “Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers.’’

The surgery, performed by Dr. Timothy Kremchek, involved an ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction with an ipsilateral palmaris longus graft, the ipsilateral palmaris longus being a small tendon near the flexor carpi.

A statement put out by the A’s said Dr. Kremchek was pleased with the surgery and the outcome of the procedure.

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A’s Billy Butler in search of playing time and RBI production

Billy Butler has little playing time and little production; he wants to change that.

Billy Butler has little playing time and little production; he wants to change that.

It was 22 games into the 2016 season that Billy Butler drove in his first run for the A’s.

As Oakland prepares to play its 30th game of the season Friday night in Camden Yards against the Orioles, he has three RBI. Three.

Needless to say, that’s not what the A’s were hoping for when they signed him as a free agent two years ago and nothing at all like what Butler expects from himself.

It’s becomes a little easier to swallow in that two of the three RBI have come against former Cy Young Award winners Justin Verlander and Felix Hernandez.  But when we say “little,’’ that understates it. Miniscule or even molecular might be closer to the point. After all, Butler had averaged 80 RBI per season over his last four years in Kansas City before heading west.

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A’s give Rich Hill more options on upcoming road trip; veteran left-hander could get as many as three starts

Rich Hill could start as many as three times on A's upcoming road trip. He's 3-0, 0.95 on the road.

Rich Hill could start as many as three times on A’s upcoming road trip. He’s 3-0, 0.95 on the road.

The A’s will make a minor alteration to their starting rotation heading into a weekend series in Baltimore against the Orioles.

Rich Hill will start Friday and Jesse Hahn Saturday, changing the order in which the two pitched on the homestand. This keeps the 36-year-old Hill on an every-fifth day rotation and gives an extra day off for Hahn, who isn’t fully stretched out yet.

Although manager Bob Melvin didn’t say so, the chance gives the A’s the possibility of throwing Hill three times on Oakland’s upcoming road trip through Baltimore, Boston and Tampa Bay.

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Weirdness continues for A’s starter Sonny Gray vs. Mariners

Sonny Gray says he's feeling good, but the results have been, in his words a little weird.

Sonny Gray says he’s feeling good, but the results have been, in his words, “really weird.”

It says something that Sonny Gray gave up seven earned runs in seven-plus innings Tuesday and said afterward “this was the best I felt this year.’’

What exactly it says is a little bit of a cypher. Gray has stumbled out of the starting blocks in 2016, going 3-3 with a 4.84 ERA in six starts.

That’s his highest ERA at any point in the three-plus seasons Gray has been a big league starting pitcher. And the seven earned runs matched his career high, set on Aug. 6, 2014 against the Rays and again on Sept. 14, 2015 against the White Sox.

Tuesday night was, Gray said, “a weird game.’’

“You pitch into the eighth inning and you come out with a bad start,’’ Gray said. “It’s a really weird game tonight.

“I thought I threw the ball well. That’s definitely the best I’ve felt all year. It was really unfortunate the way it turned out.’’

The A’s were more-or-less within striking distance after seven innings, down 4-1. But the Mariners opened the eighth with a double and two singles, knocking Gray out of the game. And reliever Marc Rzepczynski was clobbered Kyle Seager, who took all the mystery out of the game with a three-run homer.

“It’s important to get to the eighth inning,’’ Gray said. “But you look back, and I didn’t really do my job. I didn’t put us in with a good chance to win. Pitching into the eighth is good and all, but not when you give up seven runs. It’s just a weird game.’’

The early homers were something of an anomaly. Gray hadn’t given up more than one homer in a game in eight consecutive starts dating back to last year, when he allowed 17 in the entire season. He’s allowed five with five months of the season yet to play.

“I hung a curveball a little in, and he turned on it,’’ Gray said in describing the first homer from Leonys Martin in the second inning. Robinson Cano went deep to open the third.

“The second one, I had a feeling he was going to swing. I left it up, and he got it. I felt great. They got those two big home runs, then they added on in the eighth.

In my other starts, I was a little sporadic with location and I was not throwing strikes. Tonight I felt great. I didn’t feel any different than I felt the previous two years. It’s just not really going my way.’’