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Hahn wants to steal a little something from Gray’s playbook plus assorted opening notes from A’s opener with Rangers

Jesse Hahn will watch Monday's game with an idea of seeing what works for Sonny Gray against the Rangers.

Jesse Hahn will watch Monday’s game with an idea of seeing what works for Sonny Gray against the Rangers.

Jesse Hahn will be watching Sonny Gray tonight with a more discerning eye than most.

Hahn is starting the season’s second game Tuesday against the Rangers for Oakland, and he wants to see how A’s opening day starter Gray gets it done to take what he can from the performance.

Both are right-handed, but where Gray goes to his fastball first, Hahn is a sinker specialist. That doesn’t mean there isn’t something to learn.

“I’ll be looking to see what works for him,’’ Hahn said before Monday’s opener. “There are a lot of differences between us and the way we throw, but we are both aggressive and try to get outs early in the count by attacking hitters.

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Crisp tests elbow, still isn’t sure about playing in opener

Coco Crisp played four innings in a camp game and went 0-for-3 with a walk. Jury is out on his availability for Opening Day.

Coco Crisp played four innings in a camp game Tuesday and went 0-for-3 with a walk. Jury is out on his availability for Opening Day.

Coco Crisp tested his right elbow in a camp game at the A’s Fitch Park facility down the street from Hohokam Stadium, and the results for the Oakland left fielder were, to say the least, mixed.

It wasn’t so much that Crisp went 0-for-3 with a walk, a grounder, a called third strike and a soft liner. It’s that when he left after his scheduled four at-bats he offered this when asked if he thought he’d be ready for opening day:

“I don’t know,’’ he said. He only played four innings, leading off the top of each inning in a completely informal game designed for Crisp and relievers Dan Otero and Eric O’Flaherty to get some work in.

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Burns tearing up Cactus League in bid to make A’s roster

Billy Burns is hitting .441 this spring as the switch-hitter bids to buck the odds and make the A's roster.

Billy Burns is hitting .441 this spring as the switch-hitter bids to buck the odds and make the A’s roster.

One way to beat the odds is to beat up opposing pitchers, and A’s outfielder Billy Burns is doing just that.

He had two more hits and a sacrifice fly Sunday in the A’s 5-2 win over the Brewers in Maryvale Park. That leaves him with a .441 batting average and a team-best 10 runs scored.

The starting outfield is filled with Coco Crisp in left, Josh Reddick, assuming he’s healthy by opening day, in right and Sam Fuld and Craig Gentry splitting time in center field.

Should the A’s need a fifth outfielder, they’d likely go to Mark Canha, who is a Rule 5 player who will have to be offered back to the Marlin if Oakland doesn’t keep him on the 25-man roster all season.

Against that Burns has just been at ease. The switch-hitter lead the club in games played, at-bats, hits (15) and batting average. And Burns, who converted to switch-hitting only after turning pro four years ago, is being noticed.

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Reddick hoping right oblique strain only a 3-4 day event

Josh Reddick will miss three or four days at a minimum after having felt some right oblique pain.

Josh Reddick will miss three or four days at a minimum after having felt some right oblique pain.

A’s right fielder Josh Reddick is hoping that the pain in his right oblique felt Friday morning during a defensive drill is minor and won’t keep him out of action more than three or four days.

But oblique injuries can be tricky. He had a left oblique stain back in 2009 and he wound up missing two months of what would become his rookie season with Boston. That time he hurt himself with a hard swing and couldn’t breathe, sneeze or cough without pain.

“I felt like somebody stabbed me with a knife,’’ he said recalling his last go-around with an oblique injury. “This isn’t like that. I felt it pop, but I can walk and breathe without pain.

“There is a little pain when I sneeze or rotate, but I’m hoping three or four days should do it.’’

Reddick said he was taking part in the A’s stretching and Yoga session at Hohokam Stadium early Friday and “I couldn’t believe how good the back and the oblique felt.’’ He went so far to remark about how upset he’d be if he were to have another oblique injury this season, and it wasn’t two hours later that he felt it.

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A’s did well to get to post-season given their injury issues

Sean Doolittle's intercostal strain, putting him out for 18 games in August and September, rattled the A's bullpen.

Sean Doolittle’s intercostal strain, putting him out for 18 games in August and September, rattled the A’s bullpen.

Had they advanced to the American League Division Series against the Angels, the A’s likely would have been heavy underdogs.

That has nothing to do with how the A’s played the Angels this season, but because of the personnel Oakland would be able to put on the field.

Center fielder Coco Crisp suffered a hamstring injury not long before the A’s suffered a 9-8, 12-inning loss to the Royals in Kansas City. Catcher Geovany Soto jammed his thumb in the first inning and had to come out of the game in the third.

Manager Bob Melvin said Wednesday the injuries were not short-term.

“We would have had to go without Coco and without Soto in the next round if we’d gotten that far,’’ Melvin said.

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A’s: Burns’ spring training trial could be ready to pay off

Billy Burns went from Double-A to the big leagues Monday, joining the A's in Houston.

Billy Burns went from Double-A to the big leagues Monday, joining the A’s in Houston.

Billy Burns was almost out the hotel door, heading to the ballpark in Frisco, Texas, where he’d be the center fielder Monday night for the Midland Rockhounds, the same as the day before and the day before that.

His manager, Aaron Nieckula, changed everything with one phone call. Pack your bags and come to the park, Nieckula said. An explanation would be awaiting.

It was, but Burns didn’t need it. Shortly after the first call he got another, this one from A’s traveling secretary Mickey Morabito, on the line to arranging a quick flight to Houston, where Burns would be joining the A’s. Oakland was down two center fielders, Coco Crisp out for at least a few days with a neck injury and Craig Gentry out possibly a couple of weeks or more with a broken right hand.

Before the night was over, Burns would go from being a .250 hitter at Double-A unhappy with the level of offense he was putting out, to being up two levels and getting his first big league at-bat. He flew out to right as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning of a 7-3 loss to Houston.

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Freiman, Lindblom, Leon cut, but Burns earns Bay Area trip

Athletics first baseman Nate Freiman celebrates two-run homer vs. Astros Aug. 15, 2013

Athletics first baseman Nate Freiman celebrates two-run homer vs. Astros Aug. 15, 2013

The A’s made what are likely their last roster trims in Arizona Sunday when they optioned first baseman Nate Freiman and pitchers Josh Lindblom and Arnold Leon to Triple-A Sacramento.

Lindblom, who had a hitless, scoreless 4.2 innings against the Mariners Sunday before the M’s tagged him in the fifth, was in the mix in the bullpen, but with the A’s short two starting pitchers to the disabled list in Jarrod Parker (Tommy John surgery) and A.J. Griffin (elbow), both he and Leon will be starters for the RiverCats.

“We’re two down in the rotation,’’ manager Bob Melvin said. “We need backup.’’

Lindblom served as starter and reliever in the big leagues with the Rangers last year after having been exclusively a reliever with the Dodgers and Phillies. He threw 4.2 innings without allowing a hit or a run Sunday against the Mariners before being tagged for two runs and lifted in a game the A’s lost in the bottom of the ninth, 6-4.

Lindblom said he long since learned how fruitless it was for players to play general manager, ended his spring with a 4.02 ERA and knowing that he’ll be a starter, which is what he would prefer.

Leon, too, made an impact with Melvin this spring with a 2.13 ERA in five games, including one start. The manager called him “highly impressive.’’

As for Freiman, he was a Rule 5 player last year, so the A’s had to keep him on the roster or lose him. This time around, he has options, so the club can send him down without risking losing him. And he needs more at-bats, because 2013 saw him serve almost exclusively against left-handed pitching.

“Nate needs to build up at-bats,’’ Melvin said. “Last year we needed him against left-handed pitchers, and he prepared for that. But he needs to get at-bats against right-handers and play every day.’’

Freiman hit four homers last year after having hit 42 combined in 2011 and 2012 in the minor leagues. Melvin suggests the power will return.

“The power comes when he gets more at-bats,’’ the manager said. “It’s easier to track the ball.’’

Melvin said the A’s won’t be making any more cuts before the Bay Bridge series, which means non-roster outfielder Billy Burns has opened enough eyes that he’ll be in the mix this weekend in San Francisco and Oakland.

“It’s pretty awesome,’’ Melvin said of Burns having made it this far. “I don’t know that he would have through that this would have been the case for him, but he’s earned every bit of it.’’

Burns had two more hits in Peoria Sunday, has 20 hits for the spring and is averaging .313. And let’s not forget the Major League-high 10 steals the fleet Burns had. One of his two hits Sunday was a bunt to the right side that only the fastest of men could have beaten out.

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Freiman wears his loss to Burns in black and orange

Nate Freiman as Marge Simpson, 2013

Nate Freiman as Marge Simpson, 2013

Billy Burns is a true believer, Nate Freiman a true disbeliever.

That’s at least when the subject of the NCAA basketball tournament is involved. The alma maters of each played Friday morning, and Burns’ Mercer stunned Freiman’s Duke.

And stunned Freiman himself. He not only didn’t believe black-and-orange clad Mercer would beat the Blue Devils, one of the most storied teams in NCAA history, he didn’t believe they’d stay close.

So the two bet their team’s colors, Freiman giving the points. The loser had to wear the other team’s colors during workouts Friday afternoon before the A’s left Phoenix to pay a call on the Giants in Scottsdale.

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