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Reddick apologizes to Melvin over remarks about lineup; manager says it was his fault for `miscommunication’

Josh Reddick apologized to manager Bob Melvin for remarks he made in a radio interview Thursday.

Josh Reddick apologized to manager Bob Melvin for remarks he made in a radio interview Thursday.

A’s manager Bob Melvin said he took the blame for the lineup change before a game last month that led right fielder Josh Reddick to complain in a Thursday pregame radio interview about front office meddling in how the Oakland lineup is put together.

Asked by broadcaster Ray Fosse about what goes in to getting his left-handed bat into the lineup against a left-handed starter, Reddick said:

“I have no idea. It doesn’t come from anywhere in this clubhouse. Everybody knows what situations our general manager puts up there. I couldn’t tell you what the difference is between me starting against one guy and not starting against another guy. There’s probably so many numbers they could dig into their computers and try to find one just to keep me out of the lineup.’’

Reddick was in the original starting lineup Tuesday against Rockies’ lefty Jorge De La Rosa, but then was told he was not playing, and wasn’t happy about it. That came out in the interview, and the right fielder apologized to Melvin Friday.

Talking Friday about Reddick’s description of the front office having “trumped’’ the lineup Tuesday, Melvin denied, that, then said “It was miscommunication, and it was my fault.’’

“We have a lot of numbers, and there is a metric system that I look at that is basically an optimal lineup vs. the pitcher we’re facing that particular night, and I hadn’t looked at it before,’’ Melvin said. “It’s a useful tool for me. So I changed my mind, and I got back to him and didn’t really explain to him why, and therefore there was a little bit of miscommunication.’’

Melvin said the call to go with Sam Fuld, also a left-hander, over Reddick was his, and not that of General Manager Billy Beane. However, the GM has been known to ask Melvin, and A’s managers before him, to structure lineups in certain ways.

Talking about what came out in the radio interview, Reddick said he and Melvin have talked things out and said he would never want to do anything to throw Melvin under the bus considering they have a good relationship.

However, A’s players current and past are mindful of the front office impact on the lineup.

“That did not come out the way I wanted it to come out,’’ Reddick said. “I talked to Bob, just the two of us. Bob is such a good guy and a good manager. I don’t want to come down on him.’’

Although he’s hitting .152 with one homer against lefties this year, Reddick says he does not want to rest against even the best left-handers, “I don’t care if it’s Dallas Keuchel or Clayton Kershaw.’’ And Melvin said he wants players who feel that way.

Reddick said he hasn’t heard from anyone in the front office and doesn’t know if he will.

 

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A’s solve one lefty, but plenty more where he came from

Josh Phegley one of the keys to A's solving opposing left-handed starters.

Josh Phegley one of the keys to A’s solving opposing left-handed starters.

The A’s spent the off-season adding right-handed hitters.

They signed Billy Butler as a free agent. Trades brought them Brett Lawrie, Marcus Semien and Josh Phegley, and they even worked out a deal that brought them a Rule 5 hitter, Mark Canha, right-handers all.

The idea was that the A’s, who were heavy in left-handers, needed some right-handed pop to be competitive in the American League.

It hasn’t turned out that way. Lawrie has five homers against left-handers and Phegley three, but no one else has more than one.

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Gray back with A’s, but a longshot to start Sunday vs. M’s; disabled list stint could be possible for likely All-Star

Sonny Gray seems unlikely to start Sunday after battling a case of salmonella

Sonny Gray seems unlikely to start Sunday after battling a case of salmonella

The A’s will be very careful with Sonny Gray, who is back with the team after suffering through a case of salmonella that had him in a hospital for two nights, and he is a longshot to be the Oakland starter Sunday in the series finale with the Mariners.

Gray said before Thursday’s game with Seattle that he was back to feeling mostly well for the first time since Sunday when the symptoms of dehydration and fever that first cropped up Saturday became serious.

Manager Bob Melvin and trainer Nick Paparesta both said the club would not be rushing Gray back into the rotation. His spot comes up again Sunday, and as it stands now, Chris Bassitt will start in Gray’s place. Bassitt stepped in as emergency starter Tuesday and allowed Colorado one run in five innings, although he took the loss.

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Vogt, Butler have high hopes for second 81 games

Billy Butler wants to see many more celebrations in second half for A's

Billy Butler wants to see many more celebrations in second half for A’s

The A’s want more than anything to use the second half of the season to show that their first 81 games, a 36-45 performance that has them dead last in the American League West, is a fluke.

Doing so will not be easy. The A’s terrible first half this year comes off a terrible second half last year. In their last 162 games the A’s are 73-89.

The faces are much different, but while the 2014 team had such a good first half that even a 37-44 limp to the finish got them to the wild card game, Oakland now faces playing .600 ball (49-32) just to get in the hunt.

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Gray has gastroenteritis, could be out of hospital soon

Sonny Gray was still in the hospital with gastroenteritis Wednesday afternoon, but was expected to get released later in the day or Thursday.

Sonny Gray was still in the hospital with gastroenteritis Wednesday afternoon, but was expected to get released later in the day or Thursday.

Sonny Gray remained in the hospital midday Wednesday with a severe case of bacterial gastroenteritis with the A’s hoping he could be released Wednesday evening or sometime Thursday.

Gray, who was scratched from Tuesday’s start after being hospitalized, would next be scheduled to start Sunday, but the A’s can’t say if he’ll be ready to start then, so Chris Bassitt, who threw five one-run innings after being called up from Triple-A Nashville Tuesday, will be kept around to start if Gray can’t.

The pitcher, who had a high fever that is now under control, is being hydrated and given antibiotics to battle the problem and manager Bob Melvin said Gray was feeling better Wednesday than he had Tuesday.

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The halfway point sell-off looms as A’s stumble once again on crucial homestand

We’re still a couple of weeks from the All-Star break but the A’s will actually reach the 81-game midway point with Wednesday afternoon’s interleague series finale against the Colorado Rockies. Gosh, how time flies when you’re having fun.

At 35-45 through the first 80, the writing is pretty much on the wall for the 2015 A’s and it reads, “Not entirely hopeless, but …” They looked like they had something going when they won five in a row on the road coming into a 10-game homestand. But with four losses in five games at the Coliseum confines, Oakland is on the precipice. A bad weekend against Seattle could set the course of the club’s second half long before anyone anticipated it.

If Billy Beane could get such a strong read on last year’s club at the midway point — the A’s were 51-30 through 81 games in 2014, in case you were wondering — it doesn’t take a mind reader to know what Beane must be thinking right now.

Sell, and sell fast. He has marketable commodities with which he can reap long-term gains and the sooner he can move impending free agents like Scott Kazmir, Ben Zobrist, Tyler Clippard and possibly even Eric O’Flaherty, the more he will likely get in return from clubs in need for the second-half playoff push.

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Top pick Martin agrees to terms, works out with club; Gray in hospital with flu-like symptoms

The A’s agreed to terms with first-round draft pick Richie Martin Tuesday and the 20-year-old shortstop out of the University of Florida worked out and took batting practice with the team before heading out on his summer minor-league assignment.

Martin, the 20th overall pick, will depart Wednesday and begin play with Oakland’s short-season Class A team in Vermont. Before he left, he got the grand tour of the major league clubhouse and met most of the players and staff. His biggest thrill, he said, was the shoes he received from equipment manager Steve Vucinich.

“I actually heard about the white shoes about a week ago and I was pretty pumped about that,” Martin said. “I’ve never worn white shoes in my baseball career.”

Martin said while growing up in Valrico, Fla., he watched A’s players Scott Kazmir and Ben Zobrist when they played with the Tampa Bay Rays. He’d only been to California once before this week, when he was 9, so he doesn’t know a whole lot about Oakland or the A’s organization.

“The only thing I really knew was seeing the movie `Moneyball,’ ” Martin said.

Asked to give a comparison with general manager Billy Beane and actor Brad Pitt, who played Beane in the film, Martin said, “The hair was spot on, and the glasses. But I’d only been around him for an hour, and in the movie, they kind of made him more aggressive and everything was about business. But he was making jokes, and the whole time I was around him, he was smiling. So maybe he’s not like Brad Pitt in that sense.”

Martin, who hit .291 as junior with the Gators with a .399 on-base percentage, said he has drawn comparisons with Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond as a good blend of offensive and defensive skills. He added that he grew up idolizing the great Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.

Martin, who was accompanied by his parents to his signing, also noted that his maternal grandfather, Walter Thomas, played in the Negro Leagues with the Kansas City Monarchs. Thomas actually played parts of four seasons with the Monarchs and in 1945, batted second ahead of future Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson. Satchel Paige also was on that Monarchs team.

Martin isn’t sure how long it will take him to get to Oakland for real.

“Hopefully it will be quick,” he said. “It depends on how I play and nothing but that.”

The A’s have now signed or agree to terms with 31 of their 40 selections from the draft, including each of the first 13 and 19 of the first 21.

Scheduled starter Sonny Gray had to be admitted to the hospital Monday night with flu-like symptoms, and as far as manager Bob Melvin knew, Gray was still there Tuesday afternoon.

“It hit him pretty hard,” Melvin said. “He’s actually been dealing with it for the last couple of days, but last night, it actually got worse. I talked to him this morning and he still sounded pretty weak, but he said he felt a lot better than last night.”

Melvin wasn’t sure how Gray would be slotted back into the rotation, noting that it would depend on how quickly he recovers.

Chris Bassitt was called up from Triple-A Nashville to take Gray’s start, and infielder Max Muncy was optioned.

Elsewhere, just an off day for outfielder Josh Reddick against a left-handed starter. He’s available, and will start on Wednesday.

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Graveman winning many fans in clubhouse since his return

Kendall Graveman threw seven scoreless innings in leading A's past Rockies 7-1 Monday, ending a three-game Oakland losing streak.

Kendall Graveman threw seven scoreless innings in leading A’s past Rockies 7-1 Monday, ending a three-game Oakland losing streak.

Billy Butler saw something unusual in Kendall Graveman this spring.

“I saw a bulldog,’’ Butler said.

It was unexpected, because Graveman was a rookie who just 12 months earlier was pitching in Class-A for Toronto. He went out during spring training for the A’s, however, and was simply dominant.

That’s not supposed to happen. But when other rookies were taking their lumps, Graveman was leading the Cactus League in ERA.

Then the season began. He opened in the A’s starting rotation, but it took just four starts and an 8.27 ERA to convince the A’s he wasn’t ready. He was sent back to Triple-A Nashville for some work.

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Lew Wolff says one more time A’s `absolutely’ not for sale

A's owner Lew Wolff, seen here with club president Mike Crowley, says A's "absolutely are note for sale."

A’s owner Lew Wolff, seen here with club president Mike Crowley, says A’s “absolutely are not for sale.”

Suggestions that Warriors’ owner Joe Lacob is interested in buying the A’s quickly reached the ear of A’s co-owner Lew Wolff Monday.

His basic response to the suggestion in the San Francisco Chronicle of Lacob’s interest was that interested or not, Lacob won’t be buying the franchise for the simple reason that the A’s aren’t for sale.

“This has come up before,’’ Wolff said. “The club is absolutely not for sale. I haven’t talked to him about it. And if I did, it would be a short conversation.’’

The Oakland Raiders are trying to put together a package where they would build a new football-only stadium on the current site of the Coliseum, but the NFL team is also looking at sharing a facility in suburban Los Angeles with the San Diego Chargers.

Should the Raiders stay in Oakland, the A’s would have to find another home. Plans would call the Raiders to play elsewhere while the Coliseum is leveled and a new stadium football-only rises from its ashes.

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Muncy’s playing time limitations aren’t good for him, A’s

Max Muncy is getting almost no playing time these days, and on Sunday it showed.

Max Muncy is getting almost no playing time these days, and on Sunday it showed.

Ten days ago, when bringing first baseman Ike Davis and right-handed reliever Edward Mujica off the disabled list, the A’s had a choice to make.

They could keep infielder Andy Parrino, who is a good glove wherever he plays in the infield, or they could keep first baseman/third baseman Max Muncy.

The decision was to go with Muncy, which wasn’t perhaps the obvious choice. He’s left-handed, and so is Davis, so at-bats that Muncy had been getting with Davis on the disabled list were now gone.

And it’s not like Brett Lawrie, the third baseman, takes many day off. So where was the playing time going to come from for Muncy, who is someone the A’s see as an impact bat before his career is done?

On the other side there was Parrino. He is the best defensive shortstop the A’s have, and he’d been getting regular work taking over late in games for Marcus Semien. It could be argued that Semien, seen as the long-term shortstop for Oakland, needs to stay on the field to keep his learning curve high, but with the A’s starting to make a push – they’d won four in a row and six of eight on the day the move was made – a little late-inning defense might make for an extra win here or there.

So how has it turned out? Muncy had gotten into one game in the last 10 days since Davis and Mujica were activated. He hadn’t had an at-bat before getting Sunday’s start. It’s tough to have any offensive or defensive rhythm with that little time on the field, and it showed Sunday.

It was Muncy’s throwing error that led the way to a three-run sixth inning for Kansas City, and inning that proved decisive as the A’s lost for the third consecutive day to the Royals.

At the plate Muncy never got the ball out of the infield in four plate trips. He struck out twice and fouled out in the eighth inning, batting with a runner at second base. After all that time off, it wasn’t a fair test of his competitive ability, and the A’s know that.

Most scouts would say Muncy needs to be playing every day at Triple-A if the A’s don’t have room to play him now, and they don’t.

Muncy wants to be in Oakland, of course, and he refused to hide behind the lack of playing time for his throwing error.

“Not playing every day is no excuse,’’ he said. “When your name is called, you have to make the play. And I didn’t.’’

That response speaks well to Muncy’s maturity level. But if he’s going to be the player the A’s hope he will be, he can’t be sitting and rusting the way he has been. Oakland manager Bob Melvin doesn’t have room in his lineup the way the roster is currently constituted to give Muncy more than a token day here or there.

How is that helping the A’s? How is that helping Muncy?

The answer to both questions is, it’s not.