Chavez’s `mid-season form’ in spring debut impresses Melvin

Jesse Chavez starts this year as he did last year, feeling he has something to prove to the A's.

Jesse Chavez starts this year as he did last year, feeling he has something to prove to the A’s.

Here’s what A’s manager Bob Melvin said about Jesse Chavez’s first session throwing off a mound in camp Friday:

“He looks in mid-season form every time I ever see him,’’ Melvin said, “whether he’s throwing bullpen, or in a game early. Impressive. He’s a very focused kid who comes here with the mindset he has something to prove. That’s always what you like to see.’’

Twelve months ago he said virtually the same thing and Chavez went out and won a job in the starting rotation after beginning the spring with 12.2 scoreless innings in the Cactus League.

Chavez will have something to prove again. Last year he got an unexpected chance to start when Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin went down with season-ending Tommy John surgeries. Chavez lost his job in the rotation after 21 starts in which he posted a 3.44 ERA as the A’s traded for veteran starter Jon Lester at the trade deadline.

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Melvin sends get-well wishes to `best manager in baseball’

Oakland A’s manager Bob Melvin said he sent get well wishes to Giants manager Bruce Bochy Thursday night after hearing that Bochy had been admitted to a Scottsdale hospital after his physical exam revealed the need for an operation that inserted two stents into his heart.

“That’s scary, and he’s talking like it’s no big deal,’’ Melvin said. “He’s the best manager in the big leagues.

“I don’t know if that gets caught in the physicals they gave 10 years ago or when I was playing.’’

Melvin said Thursday that the only quirk he’d had during a physical was when as a player he was detected as having a heart murmur. It turned out to be something of an overly vigorous heart.

“It turned out my heart was too strong,’’ he said, shaking his head.


Clippard favored to close for A’s, but nothing is settled

Tyler Clippard remains likeliest candidate to start season as A's closer

Tyler Clippard remains likeliest candidate to start season as A’s closer

Tyler Clippard thought he’d dodged a bullet when he started talking contract with the Washington Nationals last month, so it came as a bit of a shock for him to learn he’d been traded to the A’s on Jan. 14

`I kind of thought I was out of the woods,’’ Clippard said after reporting to the A’s with the rest of the pitchers and catchers at the extensively remodeled Hohokam Stadium Thursday morning. “Our arbitration date was three days away and we were talking about contracts.’’

The surprise came in the form or Yunel Escobar. Oakland had picked up the shortstop along with Ben Zobrist four days earlier from Tampa Bay in a deal that sent John Jaso to the Rays.

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Canha could be intriguing option for A’s at third base

Mark Canha, who went from Bellarmine High to Cal, will get every chance to stick with A's in 2015.

Mark Canha, who went from Bellarmine High to Cal, is mostly a left fielder and first baseman, but he can play some third, and A’s may well give him that chance in 2015.

The smart money says the A’s aren’t done with their tri-annual roster remake, but as we await those, there are some intriguing possibilities put forward by the moves the club already has made since the end of the season.

For me, one of the more compelling is the addition of Rule 5 slugger Mark Canha, the Cal product who is mostly a first baseman and left fielder.

He also plays third base, and has a Triple-A slash line good enough – .303/.384/.505 – that the A’s traded a young pitcher they liked, Austin House, Thursday morning to make sure they could emerge from the Rule 5 draft with Canha, the owner of 68 career minor league homers, in the fold.

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Healthy Jaso will catch, but wonders if it will be with the A’s

John Jaso wants to be back with the A's, but doesn't know if a trade is in his future.

John Jaso wants to be back with the A’s, but doesn’t know if a trade is in his future.

It’s possible that the A’s have done their damage at the 113th Winter Meetings and will cool their heels the rest of the week, but it’s not a solid bet.

Oakland still has at least one other player the A’s might consider moving, catcher John Jaso. To be sure, general manager  Billy Beane is a huge fan of Jaso, who works the count, has a habit of coming up with timely hits and who is an on-base machine.

On the down side, he’s had concussions the last two years that have taken him out of back-to-back stretch drives with Oakland. Doctors have given him the go-ahead to resume catching.

“I think that’s ancient history now,’’ Jaso told me Tuesday morning. “I’m moving on, starting my workouts and I’m ready to go. As of right now, I’m still planning on taking up catching again, whatever team I’m on.’’

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A’s could see all seven of their free agents gone in 2015

Starter Jon Lester is one of seven potential free agents the A's could see leave this off-season.

Starter Jon Lester is one of seven potential free agents the A’s could see leave this off-season.

Now that Madison Bumgarner is going to stop grabbing all the headlines, which should happen any day now, the clock is up and running on the 2015 season for the A’s, and for everyone else.

The A’s had visions that starter Jon Lester would have the same kind of impact on Oakland’s October as Bumgarner did for San Francisco’s. Lester, after all, had the second-best World Series ERA, 0.43, in history before Bumgarner’s MVP performance against the Royals lowered his career World Series ERA to 0.25, pushing Lester to third.

Now Lester is all but gone from the A’s. He said he loved his time in Oakland, and the A’s would like to have him back, but the money doesn’t work. Lester is going to get a contract in the range of $150 million from someone – the Red Sox, the Yankees and the Cubs lead the list of the usual suspects – that would all but break the bank in Oakland.

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Gibson won’t be A’s bench coach; Hansen could be bat coach

Kirk Gibson, who had been thought to be on the short list as the next bench coach of the Oakland A’s, will not be heading to Oakland, sources told this newspaper Friday.

Gibson, a longtime friend of A’s manager Bob Melvin and one of Melvin’s coaches when he managed in Arizona, was fired by the Diamondbacks in the final week of the season.

And with Dave Magadan apparently having pulled out as a candidate for the A’s batting coach, Oakland management seems to be getting closer to settling on the makeup of the coaching staff for the 2015 season.

The A’s are negotiating with current Angels’ assistant batting coach Dave Hansen to take over for Chili Davis as batting coach. Hansen previously has spent time as batting coach for the Mariners and the Dodgers.

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A’s talk to Hansen as batting coach after Angels give their OK

The A’s have been able to add another strong candidate for the club’s open batting coach position.

When Chili Davis took off to be the batting coach with the Boston Red Sox, Oakland thought about trying to hire Dave Hansen, the former Dodgers’s and Mariners’ batting coach who was the Angels’ assistant hitting coach this past season.

But it seemed as if the Angels weren’t going to give the A’s permission to talk to him.

That changed Wednesday when Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times tweeted that Angels’ general manager Jerry DiPoto said he’d given the A’s permission to talk with Oakland. More than that, Hansen has already interviewed with the A’s and a decision could be forthcoming by this weekend.

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Chili looking forward to life in Boston with Cespedes, but he’s confident A’s offense will be productive again in 2014

Chili Davis looking forward to working with Red Sox, but confident A's offense will do well without him.

Chili Davis looking forward to working with Red Sox, but confident A’s offense will do well without him.

Outgoing batting coach Chili Davis said the A’s made a good effort to try and keep him in the organization, but when Oakland couldn’t go to three years on a contract the way Boston did, that started him on the path to joining the Red Sox.

Length of contract was important, but it wasn’t the only reason he’s in Boston. There were expectations that he’d go to the Yankees, but he’d worked in the minor leagues with Boston before joining the A’s under manager Bob Melvin three years ago, and that held some sway, too.

“The A’s tried, but it just wasn’t sufficient,’’ Davis said told this newspaper Monday. “I wanted to know I would be somewhere more than two years.

“Everybody had me going to Yankees because I played there,’’ Davis said. “It was strong for me, knowing (GM Brian) Cashman and (manager Joe) Girardi. What really pulled me the other way was that I had worked for the Red Sox and I was familiar with some of the staff and a lot of the players.’’

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