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Ken Griffey Jr. goes from opening vs. A’s Dave Stewart in 1989 with double to a date in Cooperstown this summer

Ken Griffey Jr. debuted in 1989 vs. the A's; now he's headed to Cooperstown this summer.

Ken Griffey Jr. debuted in 1989 vs. the A’s; now he’s headed to Cooperstown this summer.

It was no surprise that Ken Griffey Jr. threw out the first pitch before Seattle’s home opener against the A’s Friday night.

Griffey, after all, is the quintessential Mariner and in January was voted into the Hall of Fame by the baseball writers, and he’ll be formally inducted this summer in Cooperstown.

It was just coincidence that the A’s were in town, but it was against Oakland, in the coliseum, that Griffey had his first Major League opening day back on April 3, 1989.

His first at-bat was against Dave Stewart, at that point in the middle of four consecutive 20-win seasons for Oakland. Griffey crushed a double in his first at-bat.

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Gray cures the One-Run Loss Flu in delayed first start

Sonny Gray finally beat the bug that knocked him out of his Opening Day start and made up for lost time against the Chicago White Sox Wednesday night.

Not coincidentally, the A’s also recovered from the One-Run Loss Flu. With Gray allowing just three hits over seven innings and striking out five, Oakland made a meager offensive output stand up in a 2-1 victory over the Sox after two disheartening defeats by a run to open the season.

The A’s ran into a tough pitching customer themselves at the Coliseum in Chicago’s latest left-handed starter, Carlos Rodon (0-1), but Rodon was outpaced by Gray, who other than some slight command rustiness (four walks), only really allowed one hard-hit ball that ultimately became the visitors’ only run.
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Frazier HR haunts A’s in a couple of ways after 5-4 loss

Starter Chris Bassitt, catcher Josh Phegley have differing views on Todd Frazier's key homer in loss to Chicago Tuesday.

Starter Chris Bassitt, catcher Josh Phegley have differing views on Todd Frazier’s key homer in loss to Chicago Tuesday.

Tuesday’s game was decided by Jimmy Rollins’ solo homer in the ninth inning.

But if the A’s could have avoided the three-run bomb off the bat of Chicago’s Todd Frazier in the fifth, that would have done the job, too.

The thing is, the A’s could have avoided it, and and a 5-4 loss, in a couple of ways.

The first would have been not to allow Frazier to get to the plate. That could have been accomplished on a slow Rollins’ grounder to second base. Jed Lowrie fielded the ball and seemed to think he had a play on the runner, Adam Eaton, going from first to second.

Lowrie made the throw, but he didn’t have a play. Eaton was safe, and so was Rollins, beating a return throw from shortstop Marcus Semien.

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Gray feeling better after bout of what he believes was flu; he’ll start Wednesday; Kendall Graveman fighting flu now

Sonny Gray (center) is feeling better after missing Monday's opening day start with what was probably a 24-hour flu bug. He'll start Wednesday for A's.

Sonny Gray (center) is feeling better after missing Monday’s opening day start with what was probably a 24-hour flu bug. He’ll start Wednesday for A’s.

Sonny Gray now doubts it was food poisoning that kept him from a third consecutive Opening Night start Monday. He’s willing to put the blame on a 24-hour flu.

One thing the A’s right-hander does know is that either way he’d just as soon not spend any more time in hospitals getting IV fluids pumped into him.

Gray, who will now start Game 3 of the season against the White Sox Wednesday, would have been willing to pitch regardless, but he said Tuesday in retrospect it was the right call for him to be skipped.

“It’s just one game of 162,’’ he said. “It was upsetting not to start, it really sucked, but there’s nothing you can do about it.’’

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Bullpen holds up its share of the load in opener Monday

Sean Doolittle was back throwing almost as hard as ever in the A's opener Monday.

Sean Doolittle was back throwing almost as hard as ever in the A’s opener Monday.

No area got more off-season attention for the A’s than the Oakland bullpen, and the results were promising on opening night.

The A’s only got 3.2 inning from emergency starter Rich Hill with Sonny Gray out with food poisoning, but the pen more than picked up the slack, contributing 5.1 scoreless innings that would have given the A’s a win if Oakland’s offense had been able to score in any of the final six innings.

“It would have been easy for them to cave,’’ catcher Stephen Vogt said of relievers Fernando Rodriguez, Ryan Dull, John Axford, Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle. “But they got after it and gave us a chance to win.’’

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Gray has outside chance to go Tuesday after missing opener; Doubront gets second opinion on left elbow injury Monday

Sonny Gray has an outside chance to start Tuesday after missing Monday's opener with food poisoning. Rich Hill got the call Monday vs. the White Sox.

Sonny Gray has an outside chance to start Tuesday after missing Monday’s opener with food poisoning. Rich Hill got the call Monday vs. the White Sox.

The A’s will go with their understudy, Rich Hill, for scheduled opening day starter Sonny Gray Monday night against the Chicago White Sox after Gray came down with food poisoning.

Gray, who has started the last two openers for the A’s, has been through a similar issue in the past, missing about a week midseason 2015 after coming down with salmonella poisoning. This doesn’t seem to be nearly of that level, although he needed three liters of IV fluids and anti-vomiting medicines Monday morning in a visit to an East Bay hospital.

Trainer Nick Paparesta and manager Bob Melvin both said that if Gray feels up to it, he could start Game 2 on Tuesday. More likely, however, would see the club moving Chris Bassitt up a day, leaving Gray to go Wednesday. Because of Sunday’s day off, Hill and Bassitt would be pitching on their fifth day, which is standard.

“I think there’s an outside chance that he could be ready to pitch tomorrow,’’ Paparesta said. “The smartest thing is to err on the side of caution here. You don’t want to send someone out there with an empty stomach who hasn’t been able to keep anything down for 24 hours and expect him to perform. And obviously fatigue is the precursor to potential further injury.’’

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Food poisoning sidelines Sonny Gray; Rich Hill to start opener

Scheduled opening day starter Sonny Gray has been scratched after coming down with food poisoning. Rich Hill starts in his place.

Scheduled opening day starter Sonny Gray has been scratched after coming down with food poisoning. Rich Hill starts in his place.

The A’s will go with their understudy, Rich Hill, instead of scheduled opening day starter Sonny Gray Monday night against the Chicago White Sox after Gray came down with food poisoning.

Gray, who has started the last two openers for the A’s, has been through a similar issue in the past, missing about a week midseason 2015 after coming down with salmonella poisoning.

Hill, 36, has never started an opener but becomes the A’s 10th different opening day starter in the last 11 seasons. He will be the fourth-oldest pitcher to start an opener for the A’s behind Tom Candiotti in 1998, Dave Stewart in 1995 and Bob Welch in 1993.

The A’s signed Hill in the offseason, enticed by a four-start stint with the Boston Red Sox in which he was 2-1 with a 1.55 ERA after reinventing his delivery. His numbers this spring, 0-2 with an 11.25 ERA, weren’t good, but he left his last start with no runs allowed, although two of the runners he’d put on base did come around to score.

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Doubront heads to DL with sprained elbow; Lambo up; Friday’s start in Seattle likely between Hahn and Surkamp

 

Felix Doubront will miss Friday's start against Seattle after going on the DL with a sprained left elbow.

Felix Doubront will miss Friday’s start against Seattle after going on the DL with a sprained left elbow.

Felix Doubront has been diagnosed with a sprained left elbow and has been placed on the disabled list by the A’s, meaning Oakland will need someone else to start Friday’s game in Seattle.

To take Doubront’s place on the roster for the moment, outfielder Andrew Lambo was recalled from Triple-A Nashville less than 48 hours after being told he hadn’t made the club.

A’s primary options for the Friday start would be either right-hander Jesse Hahn or left-hander Eric Surkamp.

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From high school quarterback and shortstop, A’s versatile Sonny Gray has morphed into an ace and Opening Day staple

Sonny Gray gets the ball for his third consecutive Opening Day start Monday in the Coliseum against the White Sox.

Sonny Gray gets the ball for his third consecutive Opening Day start Monday in the Coliseum against the White Sox.

It is perhaps a fluke that Sonny Gray is the A’s starting pitcher Monday against the White Sox.

There was a time when it wasn’t preordained that Gray would be a pitcher, much less one of the best in the Major Leagues.

And he remembers well the day he went from versatile athlete to somebody with the idea of being a big league pitcher. He was a freshman in high school, a quarterback when playing football and a shortstop all the time on the baseball field except when he was pitching.

“I was enough of an athlete that I could play most positions,’’ Gray said. “I pitched but I didn’t know if I was really any good.’’

He was about to find out. Smyrna High was playing a game against nearby Good Pasture High, a team with a good senior pitcher that the Vanderbilt University baseball coaching staff was attempting to recruit. As it happened, Gray was scheduled to pitch that day.

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Reddick, Axford, Bassitt star in A’s morning shootaround

The A’s got their collective minds off baseball Saturday morning with a trip next door to the Arena, where they had a team free throw and 3-point shooting competition.

There were some serious highlights to be had, including Josh Reddick pulling off a Steph Curry shot from the tunnel leading to the Warriors’ locker room and John Axford channeling his inner Rick Barry with an underhanded bomb from the lower stands.

Forewarning of the competition, an idea proposed by visiting clubhouse manager Mike Thalblum, was given to the A’s earlier in the week by manager Bob Melvin, who threatened to compete in it himself – “I could dunk when I was a sophomore in high school,’’ the skipper said – but ultimately bowed out.

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