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Griffin activated from DL, optioned to Triple-A Nashville; Doolittle moved to 60-day DL to clear space

A.J. Griffin was activated from the disabled list and will pitch for Triple-A Nashville before an expected return to the Oakland rotation.

A.J. Griffin was activated from the disabled list and will pitch for Triple-A Nashville before an expected return to the Oakland rotation.

Just over 13 months after undergoing Tommy John surgery to have a replacement ligament put in his right elbow, A’s starter A.J. Griffin came off the disabled list Saturday.

That doesn’t mean he’ll be joining the A’s, however. He’s be activated and optioned to Triple-A Nashville, the team for whom he started Friday night, throwing 4.1 innings, giving up eight hits and six runs, four of them homers.

The runs and homers notwithstanding, this is a big step for Griffin, who was shut after a March 13, 2014 Cactus League start and operated on April 30 once it became clear that rest wasn’t going to relieve the problem in his elbow.

Friday’s injury rehabilitation start went without any walks, which A’s manager Bob Melvin said was a sign that his command was reasonably good, even if the home runs suggested he was getting too many pitches up in the strike zone.

“His command was good, maybe up in the strike zone a little bit with velo in the 86 range,’’ Melvin said. “The reports that we got weren’t bad, he just gave up a few homers. It was his longest stint, 80 pitches, and I know he felt good, and that’s what we’re looking for right now.

“He’s not ready to be here right now. It’ll take him some time before we’ll potentially get him up here.’’

 

NOTES

–To make room on the 40-man roster for Griffin, the A’s moved closer Sean Doolittle to the 60-day disabled list, the list that Griffin had been on before being activated. Doolittle now doesn’t count against the 40-man roster. And it’s further evidence that the left-hander is likely not to pitch much, if at all, again this season after his shoulder suffered a second strain the last week of May.

–First baseman Ike Davis played five innings at first base Friday for Nashville in the game that Griffin started. It was the first injury rehab assignment for Davis since suffering a left quad strain in May. He went 1-for-3 and Melvin said the reports were that Davis hit the ball hard on all three occasions. He’s scheduled for a seven-inning start Saturday.

–Right fielder Josh Reddick had homers in both Thursday and Friday’s games, but he wasn’t in Saturday’s starting lineup. It was a scheduled day off, tied in part to Reddick’s .143 career batting average against Angels’ starter C.J. Wilson.

–Moving into right field in Reddick’s stead was Sam Fuld, who has struggled all season until getting five hits in his last seven at-bats, including a pinch-hit single Friday. Fuld is that rare lefty hitter whose numbers (.245 batting average, .323 on-base percentage) are better against lefties than against right-handers (.228 and .307). “He’s a guy I look to get in there against lefties,’’ Melvin said.

–Catcher Josh Phegley was in the fifth spot in the Oakland batting order Saturday, the first time this season that’s happened. Phegley has been a something of a rampage with 16 hits in his last 43 at-bats over his last 14 games. Against lefties as a whole he’s hitting .357 with both of his homers, including one Friday. Melvin likes the chance to play Phegley behind the plate and get Stephen Vogt a break – the catcher has been at first base both Friday and Saturday with the Angels throwing lefties – and it’s paid off. His last five hits have included four doubles and Friday’s solo homer.

–The A’s signed nine more picks from this week’s draft, including their third-round pick Dakota Chalmers, once of just five high school (North Forsyth, GA) players taken by the A’s in the draft. Also signing were 1B Chris Ararat (12th, Houston), 2B Ryan Howell (15th, Nevada) , RHP Dustin Hurlbutt (16th, Tabor College), C Brett Sunde (18th, Western Michigan), OF Seth Brown (19th, Lewis & Clark State), LHP Andrew Tomasovich (21st, Charleston Southern), C Jordan Devencenzi (26th, Nevada) and SS Tim Proudfoot (35th Texas Tech). Chalmers was 4-4 with a 1.50 ERA in 12 games, striking out 82 in 51.1 innings without allowing a homer. The A’s have now signed or agreed to terms with 27 of their 40 picks in the draft, including eight of the first 10 and 16 of the first 21.

 

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Chavez giving A’s quality innings with little to show for it

Jesse Chavez does what he can to not get wound up in the fact that he's pitched much better than a 2-6 record.

Jesse Chavez does what he can to not get wound up in the fact that he’s pitched much better than a 2-6 record.

Jesse Chavez deserves better than this. The A’s season being what it is, however, a 2.64 ERA that has resulted in just two wins serves as a microcosm for the Oakland season as a whole.

Chavez came to spring training planning on being in the rotation. The A’s had injuries and departures in the rotation. In their place there were new and untested arms. With Chavez coming off a decent half-season in the rotation in 2014, the notion wasn’t out of the question.

It didn’t work. He’d faded some late last year with the number of innings he was being asked to throw, and he’d been so reliable in middle relief that the club decided to live him there. That decision evaporated in about three weeks.

He was in the rotation by April 23, and he’s had a 2.90 ERA since then. He’s only give up three homers as a starter and his WHIP of 1.169 has been more than up to the challenge of facing American League hitters.

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Venditte hoping to be back after just 15 days on the DL, says throwing just left-handed wouldn’t let the injury heal

"Oakland Athletics switch-pitcher Patrick Venditte (29) delivers a pitch in the fifth inning of their baseball game against the Texas Rangers held at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Wednesday, June 10, 2015. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)"

“Oakland Athletics switch-pitcher Patrick Venditte (29) delivers a pitch in the fifth inning of their baseball game against the Texas Rangers held at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Wednesday, June 10, 2015. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)”

After climbing the highest peak he’d ever dreamed of just by making it to the Major Leagues, Pat Venditte didn’t get the chance to enjoy it long.

The big league’s only full-time ambidextrous pitcher in over a century, Venditte went on the disabled list Friday with a right shoulder strain just a week after he’d been called up for the first time.

The injury, curiously enough, cropped up when he was pitching left-handed Wednesday. He hoped the pain would ease on its own, but when he tried to throw right-handed on the side Thursday, the pain intensified.

An MRI held both good and bad news, reflecting back to a surgery to repair his right labrum in 2012. That cost him almost all of that season at Triple-A in the Yankee organization.

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Venditte lands on A’s DL after just a week in big leagues

Pat Venditte's ability to throw from both sides has been slowed by a right shoulder strain that has him on the disabled list.

Pat Venditte’s ability to throw from both sides has been slowed by a right shoulder strain that has him on the disabled list.

The A’s brief five-game road trip through Southern California got off to a rough start with the club putting switch-pitcher Pat Venditte on the disabled list with a right shoulder strain.

Venditte, called up just a week ago to become the first full-time ambidextrous pitcher in the big leagues since the 1880s, made for a feel-good story after he spent seven years in the minor leagues trying to show he wasn’t just a novelty act.

He would up pitching in four games, throwing 5.2 innings and didn’t allow a run.

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Reddick has big answer for being lifted for pinch-hitter

Josh Reddick is no fan of being lifted for a pinch-hitter.

Josh Reddick is no fan of being lifted for a pinch-hitter.

After being lifted for  pinch-hitter in the seventh inning of Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to the Rangers, A’s right fielder Josh Reddick was upset enough that he went into manager Bob Melvin’s office Wednesday to complain.

He’s left-handed, and baseball-by-the-book says left-handed hitters get lifted sometimes for righties against left-handed pitching.

“I wasn’t happy about it,’’ Reddick said. “Me and Bob talked about it.’’

Josh Phegley, a right-handed hitter averaging .325 against lefty pitchers, struck out against Texas lefty Ross Detwiler with runners on second and third.

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A’s believe umps missed it on catcher’s interference

The A’s thought they’d gotten Billy Burns on base on catcher’s interference in the eighth inning Wednesday, but they couldn’t get the call.

Manager Bob Melvin asked the umpiring crew to have a look at the non-call by home plate umpire Adrian Johnson.

Melvin said he was told that the call wasn’t on the list of plays that are reviewable, but he was hoping that third base umpire Jim Wolf would have seen things their way. He didn’t.

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Fuld shrugs off 79 futile at-bats to get a hit that matters

Sam Fuld had found hits hard to come by before his ninth-inning single set A's winning rally in motion.

Sam Fuld had found hits hard to come by before his ninth-inning single set A’s winning rally in motion.

This was going to be the year for Sam Fuld.

The 33-year-old journeyman came to spring training with the A’s with Oakland manager Bob Melvin saying he wanted Fuld to share time in center field with Craig Gentry. Fuld, being the left-handed hitter, would get the bulk of the work.

The plan worked for about three weeks. Eighteen games into the season he was playing good defense, he was getting most of the starts, and he was hitting .305.

And then it all just stopped.

First the hitting stopped. Since April 25, he was 7-for-76 coming into Wednesday’s 5-4 win over the Rangers. With the hits drying up, so was the playing time. He’d only had one start in June before Wednesday, and he was in the lineup Wednesday mostly because Eric Sogard hurt his wrist and Ben Zobrist needed to move from left field to play second base with Sogard out.

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Abad wants to pitch, but he’s lost favor in A’s bullpen

A's lefty Fernando Abad has not heard his named called by the A's this month.

A’s lefty Fernando Abad has not heard his named called by the A’s this month.

It’s almost like Fernando Abad doesn’t pitch for the A’s any more.

He hasn’t appeared in a game since May 30, and he says he doesn’t know why.

It’s not because he’s hurt. He goes through his same throwing routine every day, but when it comes time for the A’s to go to a left-hander, manager Bob Melvin goes to someone else.

“I don’t know,’’ Abad said Wednesday. “I come to the park hoping to play every day. I’m healthy. I’m just waiting for them to call my name.’’

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Parker on the mend, but he won’t be pitching again in 2015

Jarrod Parker is back with the A's about three weeks after having surgery on his right elbow that will keep him out the rest of the season.

Jarrod Parker is back with the A’s about three weeks after having surgery on his right elbow that will keep him out the rest of the season.

Disabled starter Jarrod Parker won’t be pitching for the A’s again this year, and he’s come to terms with that.

Parker, whose journey back from Tommy John surgery 15 months ago was derailed when he fractured the medial epicondyle in his right elbow, was back with the team Wednesday for the first time since his surgery to have the bone mended May 19.

His right arm spends most of its time in a removable cast that looks like something a droid would wear in Star Wars, positioning his elbow at a 90-degree angle. When he suffered the injury he was about 10 days away from rejoining the A’s rotation. That plan was scrapped the minute Parker felt his arm blow up while pitching for the Nashville Sounds.

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A’s go for a pair of SEC shortstops in Day 1 of MLB draft; Martin has the pedigree, White has the legit power swing

Richie Martin’s maternal grandfather, Cornelius Thomas, played in the Negro Leagues.

Chet Lemon, Martin’s coach since he was 11, played in the big leagues for 16 seasons, split between the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers.

  1. Timothy Gallwey, the San Francisco-born author of “The Inner Game of Tennis,’’ never played much baseball at all.

But the three of them, together with Richard Martin Sr., have been instrumental in the development of University of Florida product Martin, the A’s first-round pick in the June draft.

Oakland made one other pick on the first day of the three-day draft, picking another shortstop, Mikey White from the University of Alabama with the 63 pick.

Thomas died before Martin was able to meet him, but the genetics are clearly there. Lemon was an All-Star center fielder with the White Sox twice and the Tigers once who has been a major impact on Martin’s Thomas. And Gallwey’s book which deals more with the mental approach to tennis, and Martin has found it valuable.

“It sounds crazy,’’ Martin said of the Gallwey book. “It’s not too much about tennis. It’s about the mental part. It’s overlooked.’’

The A’s are hoping Martin won’t be overlooked. The 6-foot, 185-pound shortstop hit .292 this year with five homers and 33 RBIs in 65 games with Florida and, with the help of being hit by pitches 16 times, he owns an on-base percentage of .404. A right-handed hitter, he leads the Gators in runs scored, walked, steals and hit by pitches.

A’s director of scouting Eric Kubota described Martin as “a baseball rat.’’

“He can maximize his ability, he’s a team leader, he plays the position well,’’ Kubota said. “First and foremost, he has the tools and the athleticism. He and really runs and really throw, and his defense ability has a chance to be special.’’

Martin is just 20, so Kubota said he’s the equivalent of the age of most college sophomores, so the A’s believe he has the chance to grow some.

“He’s an outstanding athleticism and that translates into big range,’’ Kubota said. ` He has the ability to make the routine play, and the arm strength to make all the throws.’’

Unlike some of the six shortstops taken in the first 20 picks of the draft, Martin is projected by scouts to remain at shortstop. He has above-average credentials in both range and arm strength.

And he has that baseball pedigree that most players don’t have.

“Coach Chet came around when I was 11 years,’’ Martin said. “We have a very nice relationship. I’ve played for his travel team (Chet Lemon’s Juice). Other than my dad, he’s had the biggest impact on me in baseball.

“We have a pretty close relationship. I got to speak with him today. He told me to take it all in, then when the time comes, get to work and play some baseball.’’

Martin, who was drafted out of high school by the Mariners, broke into the upper reaches of draft prospects with a slash line of .364/.432/.469 with Bourne, where he was the league’s second-leading hitter.

The A’s other SEC addition, White, hit .339 with 19 doubles, six triples, four homers and 35 RBIs with Alabama. He had 31 walks and was hit by pitches 16 times for an on-base percentage of .444 that the A’s found attractive.

Scouts see White, a 6-foot-1, 195 pound right-hander, as a possibility to be moved to second base or third base even though he started all 184 games with a .308 career average.

The A’s aren’t willing to go that way, not yet.

“We think he has ability to play shortstop,’’ Kubota said. “We have guys who are very positive about that. That stuff will shake itself out as time goes on.’’