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Coco Crisp has empathy for neck issue that likely will end Prince Fielder’s career

Coco Crisp goes through a little bit of hell every day just to continue playing baseball, but it could be worse. He could have opted for surgery to try and correct bulging disk issues in his neck, the same kind of surgery that apparently will prematurely end the career of Texas Rangers slugger Prince Fielder.

Fielder had cervical fusion surgery in May of 2014 between two disks in his neck and required the same surgery again on July 29 just above the previous surgical area. Fielder, who is signed through 2020 and still owed a ton of money, hasn’t announced his retirement but it appears he will not be able to receive clearance from doctors to play again. A press conference is scheduled for Wednesday in Arlington, Texas, to clarify Fielder’s future.

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Sonny Gray very relieved arm injury isn’t serious, hopes to pitch again before season ends

Sonny Gray was back in the A’s clubhouse Tuesday looking like a very, very relieved man. He got the MRI news on his strained right forearm late Monday night and was ecstatic to learn the test revealed no structural damage. The injury that landed him on the disabled list Sunday is merely inflammation and fluid buildup that should heal on its own with down time.

“Yeah, there’s definitely relief after not knowing for a couple of days what the issue was,” Gray said. “But once you get the news, you can start to put a plan in motion and hopefully it won’t be a significant thing.”

Gray’s just glad the horror stories he’s heard about how elbow injuries requiring surgery often manifest themselves didn’t apply to him.

“I’ve always heard people say you feel something on one pitch and I never had felt that until the other day,” he said. I had no news until last night around 8 p.m. I knew how I felt, but I didn’t know what all the tests were going to say.”
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Bob Melvin shares a special link with Mr. 3,000, Ichiro

Ichiro Suzuki and A's manager Bob Melvin go way back. Ichiro's best year came when Melvin was managing the Mariners in 2004.

Ichiro Suzuki and A’s manager Bob Melvin go way back. Ichiro’s best year came when Melvin was managing the Mariners in 2004.

Ichiro Suzuki got to 3,000 hits Sunday at age 42.

Before turning 27, Ichiro had exactly zero big league hits. To that point, he’d done all his playing in Japan.

When he came to the U.S. as a member of the Seattle Mariners, his first manager was Lou Piniella, who compared him favorable to Brad Pitt in terms of star power.

Ichiro’s second manager was Bob Melvin. The current A’s skipper’s first managerial job was replacing Piniella. Melvin was in Seattle for two seasons, 2003 and 2004. In those two years, he and the right fielder built up a bond while Ichiro was busy hitting – he had 474 hits in those two seasons, part of a 10-year streak in which Ichiro collected at least 200 hits every year.

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Ross Detwiler, Andrew Triggs get this week’s starts for A’s; Oakland opts to wait a while on going younger in rotation

 

Lefty Ross Detwiler, who began the season with Cleveland, will start for the A's Wednesday.

Lefty Ross Detwiler, who began the season with Cleveland, will start for the A’s Wednesday.

While the A’s were awaiting word on the status of ace Sonny Gray’s right arm, they filled the open spots in this week’s rotation, saying left-hander Ross Detwiler and reliever Andrew Triggs will get the starts Wednesday and Thursday against the Orioles.

Gray and second baseman Jed Lowrie (left foot) both had MRIs taken Monday morning and the club is waiting for their doctors’ analysis of the pictures before deciding what comes next.

“The results aren’t back yet,’’ Melvin said of Gray, who came out of Sunday’s start after five innings with pain in his right forearm. The manager said it was too soon to know if the pain Gray felt was abating any.

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Revolving rotation isn’t something specific to the A’s

Replacing Sonny Gray in the A's rotation is a big deal, but teams all over MLB are having to do similar fixes.

Replacing Sonny Gray in the A’s rotation is a big deal, but teams all over MLB are having to do similar fixes.

There are times covering a baseball beat – or, presumably, any beat – when you run the risk of getting so close to the story that it’s hard to see the story.

There’s a saying about forests and trees that applies.

I mention this now because it seems that I’ve spent the entire season writing about A’s players being called up, being sent down and going on the disabled list. Especially going on the disabled list.

And there are some numbers to suggest that my assumption that the A’s are setting records for all this roster rumbling isn’t far off. The A’s 25 uses of the disabled list are the most since the club moved to Oakland in 1968.

There are some numbers, however, that suggest it’s time for me to chill about all this.

The A’s have had nine starting pitchers go on the disabled list this year – Henderson Alvarez, Chris Bassitt, Felix Doubront, the since-traded Rich Hill (twice), Sean Manaea and Jarrod Parker in addition to Sonny Gray, who landed on the DL for the second time Sunday morning.

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A’s scrambling in rotation with Sonny Gray sidelined

Sonny Gray landed on the disabled list Sunday with a forearm strain, leaving the A's scrambling for starting pitching.

Sonny Gray landed on the disabled list Sunday with a forearm strain, leaving the A’s scrambling for starting pitching.

The A’s have lost another starting pitcher to the disabled list, ace Sonny Gray landing there Sunday morning with the A’s calling up right-handed pitcher Chris Smith from Triple-A Nashville.

Gray came out of Saturday’s 4-0 loss to the Cubs after five innings in which he’d allowed two runs on five hits with what was diagnosed as a strained right forearm. It’s the second time on the disabled list this year for the right-hander, who had a flexor injury earlier in what has been his worst season – 5-11 with a Major League-worst 5.74 ERA.

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Coco Crisp shows he can do a little bit of everything

Coco Crisp turned in a complete game Thursday, throwing out a runner, stealing a homer and clubbing a tie-breaking double.

Coco Crisp turned in a complete game Thursday, throwing out a runner, stealing a homer and clubbing a tie-breaking double.

A year ago, Coco Crisp was in the midst of losing his job as a starter with the A’s, a neck injury making him just a fraction of the player he had been.

2016 has been something of a redemption for Crisp. And Thursday’s game in Anaheim had him showing that all his facets are in play.

He singlehandedly shut down the Angels offense in the fifth inning, then put the A’s ahead in the seventh. Although the Angels would rally to force extra innings on an error later, the A’s 8-6 10-inning win wouldn’t have been Oakland’s without Crisp, a player that first baseman Yonder Alonso called “The Natural.’’

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Have the A’s seen the last of starter Rich Hill?

Have the A's seen the last of Rich Hill in the rotation? Maybe. Maybe not.

Have the A’s seen the last of Rich Hill in the rotation? Maybe. Maybe not.

Rich Hill will be making his first start as a Dodger this weekend in Los Angeles, so what he does has no impact on the A’s, his former team.

Except that it might. The left-handed starter is a free agent at the end of the year, and he said Thursday he expects the A’s will be one of the teams calling on him come autumn.

More than that, he will be listening. He and his family enjoyed living in the Bay Area and could see living there again.

“You look at the record there and maybe you don’t see what I see and a lot of people in the game see,’’ Hill said. “The A’s are a team that has a lot of good young talent. I like what they have there. I think they’re going to be good real soon if they can stay healthy.

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A’s Jed Lowrie trying to play through left foot pain

Jed Lowrie is having a tough time walking and running while dealing with left foot problems.

Jed Lowrie is having a tough time walking and running while dealing with left foot problems.

Jed Lowrie isn’t going to ask for a day off, because that’s foreign to the way he plays.

Even so, the A’s second baseman needs something to help him with a chronically sore left foot. With a bunion doing him in, the veteran is hoping that some yet-to-arrive orthotics for his shoes will help keeping him going.

“I’ve been better,’’ Lowrie said wincing at the thought of the pain playing nine innings was likely to bring. “I want to be in there. I’m trying to get through it.’’

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Khris Davis reaches coveted milestone with 27th homer

Khris Davis has been congratulated 27 times after homers by A's third base coach Ron Washington, and there are still two months left in the season.

Khris Davis has been congratulated 27 times after homers by A’s third base coach Ron Washington, and there are still two months left in the season.

A’s slugger Khris Davis has hit four homers in his last six games.

He’s hit eight homers since the All-Star break, one less than Major League-leader Mike Napoli of the Indians, who went deep Wednesday night for the ninth time since the break.

In the process, Davis has reached the 27-homer mark, matching his career-best long ball total of last year with still two months left in the season.

Before Wednesday’s 8-6 loss to the Angels in which he went 1-for-3 with a couple of walks, Davis talked about the personal significance of the accomplishment. Getting to 27 homers and beyond was one of the goals he’d set for himself at the beginning of the season.

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