Otero disappointed to be leaving A’s for Phillies

Dan Otero is moving on, having been claimed on waivers by the Phillies Tuesday.

Dan Otero is moving on, having been claimed on waivers by the Phillies Tuesday.

Reliever Dan Otero, claimed by the Phillies from the A’s Tuesday, had hoped to stay in Oakland.

After having a 2.01 ERA and a 10-2 record in two years and 105 games of relief for Oakland in 2013 and 2014, Otero fell on hard times in 2015, his ERA ballooning to 6.75 as part of the A’s overall tumble into last place in the American League West.

“I was told by (general manager) David Forst this morning,’’ Otero said. “I liked my time in Oakland. The A’s gave me a chance to establish myself in the big leagues. I hope now that this new opportunity is a good one.’’

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Manfred needs to push for more MLB minority hires

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred talked Monday about the need for more diversity in his sport.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred talked Monday about the need for more diversity in his sport.

If it happens that Dusty Baker doesn’t get the open managerial job with the Washington Nationals – he and Bud Black appear to be the final two candidates – the 2016 season likely would be MLB’s first without a black manager since the 1984-87 seasons.

And that empty spot would come after Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred talked Monday in Kansas City about the sport needing to improve minority hiring.

As recently as 2014 there were three black managers but Houston let Bo Porter go after that season and Ron Washington quit the Rangers in September of that year. Five days after the 2015 season ended, Lloyd McClendon was fired by the Mariners. Baker’s last job with the Reds ended in his being fired in 2013.

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Disappointed Venditte will use 2015 as building block

Pat Venditte will not be coming out of the A's bullpen again after the Blue Jays claimed him on waivers Monday.

Pat Venditte will not be coming out of the A’s bullpen again after the Blue Jays claimed him on waivers Monday.

Regardless where the rest of his big league travels take him, Pat Venditte said he will always have a soft spot for the A’s and Oakland.

After a seven-year minor league sojourn, Venditte hooked on with the A’s last winter, got a long look in spring training, throwing from both the left and right sides, then made it to the big leagues for 26 games in which he was 2-2 with a 4.40 ERA and a decent 1.186 ERA.

Now he’s off to Toronto, the Blue Jays having claimed Venditte on waivers from the A’s Monday.

“I am disappointed; I really liked it there,’’ Venditte told this newspaper Monday afternoon. “It means the world to me that the A’s gave me a chance. For them to have run me out there as much as they did in spring training, and then after I’d done well at Triple-A; they gave me a shot at the big-league level.’’

Venditte was called up for a stretch in June in which he pitched four times, then was a regular out of the bullpen, mostly against left-handed hitters, after being recalled in mid-August.

“In the minor leagues, you don’t know how your stuff is going to translate in the big leagues,’’ Venditte said. “I was able to get some of the best hitters in the world out. Obviously sometimes they got me. I like the way I stacked up against them.

“I would have liked to have performed better at certain times, and obviously there were some rough ones, but they allowed me to bounce back. Getting that chance to pitch after getting hit around showed what I can do and it probably led to this other opportunity now.’’

Venditte said the Jays are thinking of using him as the A’s did, mostly against left-handed hitters, but added “it’s up to me to pitch better right-handed to get to the same level from that side.’’

“I’ll use this as a building block,’’ he said. “I have confidence now that I didn’t have 12 months ago. Confidence is the big difference now.’’



Zito makes it official, announces his retirement

Barry Zito announced his retirement from baseball Monday.

Barry Zito announced his retirement from baseball Monday.

Left-handed pitcher Barry Zito, who spent a decade and a half in the starting rotation of both the Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants, announced his retirement Monday.

Writing for the website www.theplayerstribune.com, Zito said “I am retiring today from baseball, but I’ll never be too far away from the game that made me who I am.’’

Zito spent the entire 2015 season pitching in Triple-A Nashville, and thought his career would end with a one-inning relief appearance for the Sounds Sept. 6.

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A’s make first post-season move by firing Waller

Tye Waller has been told he won't be back with A's as first base coach in 2016.

Tye Waller has been told he won’t be back with A’s as first base coach in 2016.

The A’s began reconstruction of their coaching staff for the 2016 season with the firing of first base coach Tye Waller this newspaper has learned.

The A’s haven’t made any coaching announcements yet. But Waller, who had spent the last nine seasons with the A’s, said he’d gotten a call from manager Bob Melvin to let him know Waller wouldn’t be coming back next season.

“I was told the team was going cutting edge when I asked why I was being let go,’’ Waller said. “I know they are making changes, but other than this, I don’t know what else they want to do.’’

Melvin and general manager David Forst weren’t available to address the makeup of the rest of the 2016 coaching staff.

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Reddick, Gray in line for possible contract extensions

Josh Reddick wound up as the A's leader in HR and RBI and could be in line for a contract extension.

Josh Reddick wound up as the A’s leader in HR and RBI and could be in line for a contract extension.

Playing on the reality of a 94-loss season was the reality that unpleasant fantasy in the minds of some Oakland fans that the A’s would opt this off-season to trade the few “name’’ players they have left.

It wasn’t an entirely unreasonable proposition. This, after all, is the team that sent Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Donaldson and Brandon Moss packing in the space of four months last year.

Billy Beane, newly minted as the A’s Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations, said Monday the club wants to keep right fielder Josh Reddick with the team next year and that it makes sense for the team to explore long-term deals with both Reddick and No. 1 starter Sonny Gray.

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Canha proves he’s no run-of-the-mill Rule 5 player

Mark Canha had a breakthrough year for the A's as a Rule 5 player.

Mark Canha had a breakthrough year for the A’s as a Rule 5 player.

For a Rule 5 player, Mark Canha proved to be an amazing find for the Oakland A’s this year.

Rule 5 players are those left off the winter 40-man rosters and left exposed to a draft at the winter meetings in December.

The A’s liked Canha, not just because he was a local kid from San Jose and Cal, but because there was some thunder in his bat – a .303 average, 20 homers and 82 RBI last year while playing Triple-A ball in the Miami organization.

When the Marlins didn’t put him on the 40, the A’s made a deal with the Rockies, who had the second pick in the Rule 5 draft, to pick him. The A’s sent minor league pitcher Austin House and cash to Colorado to complete the deal.

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Melvin likes the way Venditte finished up for A’s

Pat Venditte got a major thumbs-up from manager Bob Melvin after his three perfect innings Saturday.

Pat Venditte got a major thumbs-up from manager Bob Melvin after his three perfect innings Saturday.

Pat Venditte said he wasn’t willing to say that Saturday three perfect innings of relief was it for his 2015 season in which he became the first full-time switch pitcher in baseball history.

He held out hope that he would be available for Sunday’s season finale with the Mariners.

A’s manager Bob Melvin saw it a little differently. The manager seems content that in picking up his second big league win, Venditte had perfectly punctuated his rise from obscurity in the minor leagues to big league reliever.

“As a confidence factor for him, having an outing like that to end the season goes a long way,’’ Melvin said. “It’s a little feather in his cap to end the season like he did.’’

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If Venditte is done for the season, he finished up a winner; Semien sets error record, but delivers game-winning homer

If Pat Venditte doesn't pitch in Sunday's season finale, his last 2015 game was a winner.

If Pat Venditte doesn’t pitch in Sunday’s season finale, his last 2015 game was a winner.

If Pat Venditte’s relief appearance Saturday was his last appearance of the year for the A’s – and given that it was three innings in Oakland’s 13-inning, 7-5 win over Seattle it should be – then he’s going out on a major high note.

After a seven-year career in the minor leagues, Venditte made it to the big leagues with the A’s as baseball’s first full-time switch pitcher. And he went out on three perfect innings of relief, getting the win on Marcus Semien’s two-run homer in the 13th.

“I’m not ready to assume that’s my last game just yet,’’ Venditte said. “But it was nice to go out and give the guys a chance to win. You know the game is over if you are not making pitches. It’s your job to go out and give the offense a chance, and however long that was going to be, that was my goal.’’

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Pomeranz mulling over having shoulder surgery

Drew Pomeranz is considering whether or not he'll have arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder this winter.

Drew Pomeranz is considering whether or not he’ll have arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder this winter.

A’s reliever Drew Pomeranz has heard the recommendation that he should have clavicle resection procedure to clear up problems in his left shoulder.

Oakland shut Pomeranz down the last week of with AC joint problems in his left shoulder. A similar issue sent him to the disabled list for .two weeks in May.

After reviewing an MRI on the shoulder, A’s associate team orthopedist Dr. Will Workman recommended to Pomeranz that he have some work done on his shoulder where he is dealing with some arthritic conditions.

“Drew is going to see some other opinions,’’ A’s trainer Nick Paparesta said Saturday. “He’ll sit down and determine if this is something he wants to do at this stage or if he just wants to let (the shoulder) calm down.’’

Recovery time on the procedure, which Yankees’ closer Mariano Rivera once had on his right shoulder, is about six weeks.

“Usually when you think shoulder surgery, you think bad things, a year or whatever,’’ manager Bob Melvin said. “What we’re being told now, it’s not that. If he does have this done, he should be fine come spring training.’’


–Elsewhere on the injury front as the season runs into its final weekend, the A’s are getting some positive results looking toward the 2016 season.

Starter Jarrod Parker continues to throw after having missed the last two seasons following 2013’s Tommy John surgery. The A’s had hoped to have him back mid-season, but as he was tuning up in the minor leagues he hurt his right elbow and needed surgery to mend a medial epicondyle fracture. The A’s don’t know if he will be available come spring training.

Starter A.J. Griffin, on the other hand, should be good to go next February in Mesa, Ariz. Like Parker, he’s coming back from missing two years after Tommy John surgery. He’s shut down now because of some tendinitis in his right shoulder. “I think Griffin hopefully should be a full-go once he gets to spring,’’ Melvin said.

Starter Jesse Hahn missed the second half of the season with a right forearm strain. He’s throwing now, still relatively softly and not to a great distance, but the A’s are optimistic that he will be good to go come spring training.

Catcher Josh Phegley, sidelined by a concussion late in September, didn’t travels with the A’s to Anaheim and Seattle on the final road trip. If he had, he might have played some, because he’s feeling exponentially better. “He’s good to the point if he was here with us now, he might be able to play one of these last couple of games,’’ Melvin said. “He’s made significant strides in how he feels;’’

First baseman Ike Davis had successful hip surgery in August and has been doing his rehab work in Arizona.



–36 players flew with the A’s on this last road trip, but only 15 will be flying back to Oakland. The other 21 are heading home from Seattle. The ones living in the Eastern Time Zone have time to kill Sunday and some are opting to watch the Seattle Sounders host the LA Galaxy at Century Link Field across the street from Safeco Field. Others are opting to watch Neil Young at the WaMu Theater downtown at the convention center.

–Big league clubs were given the option to use iPads (with their wireless functions disabled) in the dugouts the last week of the season as an experiment. Melvin said he’d prefer to wait to test the digital approach until spring training. “We’re kind of set on what we do in the dugout right now,’’ he said. “It seems like more of a spring training thing.’’

–A’s pitcher have allowed 83 homers in the last 52 games after having allowed just 87 in the first 108 games. The total of 170 homers given up is the seventh-highest total in Oakland history and the most by an A’s team since the 1998 squad allowed 179.