The homer that wasn’t still a topic of conversation

As most of you know, before I took over covering the A’s this year, I used to cover the Mariners.

Before covering the Mariners, I covered the A’s way back when, but that’s not the issue in front of us.

The thing is, there were plenty of friendly faces when I made a quick pass through the Seattle clubhouse before Friday’s series opener.

Guess what they wanted to talk about? The home run that was denied the A’s Adam Rosales Wednesday night in Cleveland when video replay inexplicably went against him in the form of acting crew chief Angel Hernandez.

Now the Mariners didn’t want to go on the record. They don’t want to pay a penalty for speaking truth to power. There is an uneasy coexistence between players and umpires, and tilting the balance isn’t productive.

But they were plenty willing to talk about the play, which some of them saw live on a flight back to Seattle from Toronto.

“Man, what was that all about?’’ one player said. “That call was as bad as I’ve ever seen.’’

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MLB is on the case, so count on nothing changing

I mentioned in this space last night that A’s manager Bob Melvin earlier this season had been hyping the idea of addition video replay for baseball, specifically “boundary calls,’’ fair or foul down the lines.

It’s safe to say he’s backing off that in the wake of Wednesday’ video denial by the umpiring crew of a game-tying Adam Rosales home run that was clear to anyone with video access hit off the railing above the left field wall.

The umpires said the video was inconclusive, ruled Rosales had only a double and instead of a 4-4 tie, the A’s wound up with a 4-3 loss.

Asked about expanding replay Thursday morning, Melvin was preaching a different sermon.

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Blown homer call by umpiring crew in Cleveland renders all other facets of game meaningless

Earlier this year, A’s manager Bob Melvin was talking about the need for more instant replay in games, including “boundary calls,’’ fair or foul down the lines, to be included in elements that could be reviewed.

You have to wonder what the point of expanding replay is is when reviews go awry as often as they seem to when all umpires are asked to review are home run calls.

The A’s lost what seemed to be a self-evident game-tying ninth-inning homer when the umpiring crew in Progressive Field watched video and somehow didn’t see what everybody in the ballpark – including the Indians – took as gospel, that Adam Rosales ball carried over the left field wall.

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Count on Jaso to be looking when he’s leading off

At some level A’s manager Bob Melvin seems to have made a wise choice in having John Jaso get most of the starts in the leadoff spot with Coco Crisp on the disabled list.

You want the leadoff hitter to get one base, and Jaso has done that. His on-base percentage coming into Tuesday when in the leadoff slot was .462. He doesn’t have great speed, but getting on is the name of the game.

Jaso has been all over the lineup the last season-plus in Seattle and Oakland, and he doesn’t change his work habits just because of where he’s situated in the lineup.

Except …

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Game 31 wrapup: Jaso’s friendship with Ichiro tested by catch; Reddick searching but still patient

A’s catcher John Jaso thought he’d done on Saturday what Adam Rosales did on Friday, hitting a homer as the first man to bat for the A’s against the Yankees.

The ball was long enough, but it was pulled back into the Yankee stadium playing grounds by Ichiro Suzuki, the Yankee right fielder with home Jaso was a teammate in Seattle last season.

When Ichiro came up to the plate in the second inning for the first time, Jaso said he had some choice words for him.

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Game 30 wrapup: Rosales listens to Young, then homers; Doolittle gets redemption in the Bronx

The last time Adam Rosales had done any serious work as the leadoff hitter anywhere was in 2007 when he was playing in Double-A for Chattanooga.

What worked back then was to “attack the first or second pitch,’’ the A’s shortstop said.

“Generally, those were the best pitches I was going to see all day,’’ he explained.

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Game 24 wrapup: Lowrie could be looking shuttling between shortstop and second base

Jed Lowrie was confronted with something odd Friday.

He came to the Coliseum and saw his name in the lineup, as usual.

He was listed as the second baseman, which was anything but usual. He was a semi-regular second baseman with the Red Sox back in 2010, but he’d only played one game there since, that in 2011.

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Game 13 wrapup: Cooler heads prevail after Fielder HBP; A’s strikeouts high, but lower; Crisp possible for Monday

One of the undercurrents of the first two weeks of the Major League season is how fragile Major League tempers and Major League bodies are.

The Dodgers are having to make do without Zack Greinke thanks to the broken collarbone he suffered when he and the Padres’ Carlos Quintana got into a scuffle after Greinke hit Quintana with a pitch the other day.

Nothing like that happened Sunday in Oakland in Detroit’s 10-1 win over the A’s, but it could have.

Tigers’ first baseman Prince Fielder, who is a giant of a man, didn’t take kindly to being hit by a pitch thrown by Jarrod Parker. Fielder made his displeasure known to A’s catcher Derek Norris.

“He told me it was `a little high for my liking,’ ’’ Norris said after the game. “I told him it was a pitch that got away from (pitcher Jarrod Parker) coming up. He said OK and went to first base.’’

You have to think that’s Fielder’s approach is the better one than Quentin’s. Charging the mound in righteous fury is may be good for the soul in the short-term, but it’s bad for the body (see Greinke) and it’s bad for the wallet (see the eight-day suspension slapped on Quentin).


–The A’s won the American League West last year despite Oakland batters leading the league in strikeouts.

And strikeouts are an item to look at now, 13 games into the season, with the A’s having fanned 38 times in the last three games, eight of those Sunday.

Even at that, the A’s are much improved in the strikeout wars, down to 7.31 strikeouts per game now from last year’s 8.56 per game.

“I think you have to look at it that the Tigers have strikeout pitchers,’’ Norris said. “They are paid millions and millions to get those strikeouts. There are times they’ll make you swing and miss.’’

Oakland manager Bob Melvin has been dealing with the high rate of Oakland strikeouts almost from the time he took the job, and it doesn’t seem to be keeping him up nights.

“I don’t know how we could have been swinging much better than we had been coming into this series,’’ Melvin said. “We had good at-bats in winning the game Friday.

“We’re somewhere in between (where they were last year and where they want to be in terms of strikeouts). But I think we’re still a good offense.’’


–Center fielder Coco Crisp missed his second successive start Sunday thanks to a groin injury, but he was noticeably improved from Saturday. He might play Monday. “It will be a game-time decision,’’ Melvin said. “There’s a chance. He’s feeling better, but there are  no guarantees.’’


–Injured infielder Adam Rosales may be close to coming off the disabled list and going out on an injury rehabilitation assignment.

Rosales, sidelined by sore ribs, has been taking batting practice before games over the weekend, and manager Bob Melvin said Rosales will be ready to play once he can play defense without pain.

“He needs to turn the double play and make an aggressive throw,’’ Melvin said. “That’s how he hurt it in the first place.’’


–Josh Donaldson had built his one-struggling average up from the depth of .120 to .277 with five consecutive multiple-hit games, but that streak came to an end Sunday.

Still, Donaldson said he’s feeling better at the plate and his manager said the third baseman has been one of the vital cogs in the A’s offense.


–Brandon Moss is going in the other direction.

The first baseman went 0-for-2 with a walk Sunday and his hitless streak has stretched to 16 at-bats.

That’s one at-bat shy of his career longest hitless streak of 0-for-17, which ran from September 10-29, 2010 when he was with the Pirates.


–Melvin said that shortstop Hiro Nakajima, slowed by a late spring hamstring injury, will not be heading out on an injury rehab assignment as quickly as Rosales.

“Rosales is further along than Hiro,’’ the manager said before the game.

The A’s want to see Nakajima be able to make full-out sprints and to be able to break from side-to-side on defense before they start his clock on the injury rehabilitation assignment.


News on Cespedes good; updates on Nakajima, Rosales; spreading out mound time for the rotation

The news out of the clubhouse this morning concerning left fielder and cleanup hitter Yoenis Cespedes is good.

He doesn’t have much pain in his left elbow after having felt some there Saturday night and is getting Sunday off, at least mostly.

“There’s a good chance you could see him pinch-hit if we need him to,’’ manager Bob Melvin said. “He’s not swinging the bat as well as he normally does, and with a day off (Monday), that should help.’’

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