Marcus Semien making strong case to be A’s All-Star


Marcus Semien is looking increasingly like an AL All-Star.

Marcus Semien is looking increasingly like an AL All-Star.

Two weeks ago when talking about the A’s possible All Star Game representation, Marcus Semien’s name wouldn’t have shone particularly brightly.

Time changes matters like that Semien has gone from a player with an outside chance to be the A’s All Star representative to being the player with perhaps the best chance to landing the coveted berth for the July 12 game in San Diego.

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Kazmir has the inside scoop on pitching to the Indians

On Tuesday night, Scott Kazmir will be trying to grind Cleveland bats into dust in his first-ever start for the A’s.

On Sunday night, the Oakland left-handed pitcher was sitting down at dinner with a group of those same Indians hitters, including Nick Swisher and Jason Kipnes, two of Cleveland’s most productive batsmen.

Kazmir clearly enjoyed his year in Cleveland, where he resuscitated a career that had hit the skids during a tour of duty in Anaheim. His fastball came back. His control came back. His confidence came back.

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Game 33 wrapup: Resop mired in nasty stretch; Reddick irritated by bases loaded called third strike

Chris Resop knew he wasn’t going to pitch as well all season as he did in the season’s first two weeks.

The right-handed reliever pitched in seven games, didn’t give up a run and barely allowed a loud foul ball.

When the tables turned on him they were vicious.

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Giambi, Swisher see Indians built in mold of A’s

Jason Giambi looks at Nick Swisher and he sees himself at a younger age.

Cleveland cleanup hitter Swisher looks at Giambi and sees the player he idolized while coming up in the Oakland organization.

The two ex-A’s look at the current A’s and they see the team they’d like their team to become.

Ah, the wheels do go round and round in baseball.

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Cunningham optioned to minors to make room for Tomko; other pregame happenings

The expected media throng is here for the Yankees’ only visit to Oakland this season. We’ll see how big of a crowd shows up for these three games, and (as is always the case) how many are actually rooting for the home team as opposed to the Pinstripes.

Brett Tomko takes the hill tonight after getting called up from Triple-A Sacramento. It was interesting to see him take the field and stretch w/the team before batting practice. Normally, a starting pitcher just chills in the clubhouse and gets ready on his own schedule. But you figure Tomko showed up today probably not knowing most of his new teammates. He probably wanted to shake as many hands as possible, rather than take the mound w/a bunch of strangers around him. But this is Tomko’s ninth team, and he’s making his 261st start, so he knows the drill.

Surely he won’t lack motivation, being he was released by the Yankees on July 29 after making 15 relief appearances. The A’s have been stretching him out as a starter since signing him, but he won’t pitch very deep tonight. Bob Geren said he’d be happy if Tomko gave him five innings. Geren also mentioned that Dallas Braden (left ankle) probably wouldn’t be ready to start next time through the rotation, so Tomko could get more than one turn if he’s decent tonight. …

–Outfielder Aaron Cunningham was optioned to Sacramento to make roster room for Tomko. It was an odd stint with the big club for Cunningham, who was up for seven games and got just one start and seven at-bats. Granted, he dropped a fly ball yesterday, but he hardly got a look. And Cunningham, a quiet and very good-natured guy, was shocked by the news. The A’s also didn’t notify him until long after he arrived at the clubhouse, after he had already started preparing for the game, which is never a good way to handle things …

–Former Athletic and current Yankee Nick Swisher remains as nutty as ever. He spent some time in the A’s clubhouse socializing with his old friends, and was smiling and shaking hands like a politician.

There’s also been a Reggie Jackson sighting. He’s working for the Yanks these days …

Here’s tonight’s lineups, featuring Bobby Crosby at first base instead of Tommy Everidge, who’s struggled of late. It’s a mental and physical day off, as Geren put it:

Kennedy 3B
Davis CF
Suzuki C
Hairston LF
Sweeney RF
Ellis 2B
Cust DH
Crosby 1B
Pennington SS

Tomko RHP

Jeter DH
Damon LF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Posada C
Cano 2B
Swisher RF
Cabrera CF
Pena SS

Burnett RHP


So Long Nick Swisher

Not going to spend a lot of time delving into my opinion on the Nick Swisher trade this evening, because it’s best summed up in my column that will appear Friday. The long and short of it is that once general manager Billy Beane determined his returning team would be mediocre at best, this was inevitable. And since he’d rather do this job than be mediocre, he’s jumped into the deep end.

What this move also does is establish a starting line for which Beane should be judged. He’s been called a genius for building the foundation that led to the A’s great run from 1999-2006 (five playoff appearances, eight straight winning seasons), but his legacy will be written as much by this rebuilding project as by that early success. Starting with this move and the Dan Haren trade, there are no more free passes.

Just happened to check out John Sickels’ minorleaguball.com site and he happened to list the White Sox’s top 20 prospects for 2008. Check it out. Three of the top five come to the A’s in this deal. This is one of the best minor-league sites on the Web, by the way.

Sickels also talked to athleticsnation.com on Friday afternoon, and here are his thoughts.


The A’s purge continues — Swisher gone

Ordinarily, this would qualify stunning news —- the A’s dealt Nick Swisher to the Chicago White Sox this morning for three relative no-names — but anybody who has followed Billy Beane through the years knows nothing is ever stunning with him.

Not sure why the A’s would make this move, so looking forward to what Beane has to say during a 1 p.m. conference call. The players the A’s received — outfielder Ryan Sweeney, left-handed pitcher Gio Gonzalez and righty Fautino De Los Santos — fit the A’s stated intention of getting younger, but only time will tell if the A’s have gotten more talented.

Going to be a long, long summer in the House that Al Built.