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A’s behind some of Royals’ success heading to World Series

Royals celebrate their AL wild card win over the A's on Sept. 30.

Royals celebrate their AL wild card win over the A’s on Sept. 30.

Why is Kansas City the team that’s waiting for the San Francisco Giants in the World Series?

You can blame it on (or thank, depending on how you feel about it) the Oakland A’s. So says Don Wakamatsu, the former Seattle manager who is now the bench coach for the Royals, working under manager Ned Yost.

After ending a four-game losing streak on July 22, the Royals had steamrolled everyone through Sept. 7. Kansas City used a blistering 31-13 run to go from eight games out in the American League Central to 1½ games up on the Detroit Tigers

The Royals ran out of juice at that point, falling out of the Central lead while limping home with a 10-10 record in the final 20 games. If the Mariners (9-11) and the A’s (8-12) had done even a little better over the same stretch, Kansas City’s stretch of missing the post-season would have made it to an even 30 years and Oakland and Seattle would have been the American League’s wild card combatants.

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Foot surgery a success, Vogt looks to recover by December

A's catcher Stephen Vogt will need about eight weeks to recover from Tuesday's foot surgery.

A’s catcher Stephen Vogt will need about eight weeks to recover from Tuesday’s foot surgery.

A’s catcher Stephen Vogt is scheduled for a post-surgery checkup Thursday, then will fly back from Los Angeles to Washington State to begin six-to-eight weeks of recovery.

Vogt had Dr. Kenneth Jung repair the plantar plates in his right foot Tuesday. Along the way, Jung removed scar tissue built up over the last three months of the season as Vogt tried to play through the injury. Some repair work had to be done on the capsule of the second metatarsal.

Vogt was limited to first base and the outfield after the injury came down in late June, then just first base after the All-Star break with occasional spot starts as the designated hitter. By the time of his last appearance in the outfield on July 11 he sported a .376 average and was one of the hottest hitters in the game.

From that point on, however, he averaged just .220 in his last 52 games as the injury took its toll, and he finished the season with a .279 average knowing that surgery was in his best interests.

“I’m doing good,’’ Vogt said from Los Angeles Wednesday. “I’ll see the doc again tomorrow, fly home for a couple of weeks, then come back down here for another checkup. But things went well, and that’s all good.’’

Vogt said he’ll spend most of the next four weeks just recuperating, then the four weeks after that doing physical therapy to get back the strength in flexibility in his foot. By Christmas he hopes to be ready to start his regular workouts and build up to spring training in February.

“It’s not that I couldn’t have caught a game the second half of the season if I’d absolutely needed to,’’ Vogt said. “It’s that they told me the pain would be so much after catching one game that I’d be out three or four days after. Physically not being able to do anything for days at a time wouldn’t have worked.’’

The A’s have one more off-season surgery scheduled. Brandon Moss will have surgery to repair a troublesome hip next Tuesday in Nashville with Dr. Thomas Byrd performing the procedure. Moss played the final four months of the season with the hip giving him occasional problems, and it got worse as the season went on.

He had a cortisone shot the final week of the season and hit two home runs and drove in five runs in the A’s 12-inning 9-8 loss to the Royals in the American League wild card playoff game.

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Yankees to interview Chili Davis for vacant batting coach slot

The Yankees have A's batting coach Chili Davis on their radar.

The Yankees have A’s batting coach Chili Davis on their radar.

Chili Davis, the A’s hitting coach the last three seasons, will fly to New York in the near future for an interview with the Yankees about taking the vacant job in the Bronx, this newspaper has learned.

Davis, who spent the last two years of his playing career with the Yankees, is one of the prime candidates for the open Yankees batting coach position.

Davis said in an email that he’d gotten a call from the Yankees and would be heading soon to New York for an interview.

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Hale new DBacks manager; a look at A’s coaching options

Chip Hale, the A's bench coach the last three seasons, will be named Arizona Diamondbacks manager today.

Chip Hale, the A’s bench coach the last three seasons, will be named Arizona Diamondbacks manager today.

Longtime A’s bench coach Chip Hale was named manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday.

Hale spent the last three seasons with the A’s under manager Bob Melvin and has been looked at as a possible big league manager for most of that time. He was a finalist in the competition in Seattle at this time last year that saw Lloyd McClendon become the Mariners’ skipper.

“It’s a great hire by Arizona,’’ Melvin, himself a former Diamondbacks manager, said Monday. “Chip’s more than ready for the job. There are some Oakland connections for him there, and he was in that organization for a while, too.’’

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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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Melvin move to get Moss in over Dunn results in early A’s lead

Adam Dunn wasn't in the A's lineup Tuesday vs. Royals. Manager Bob Melvin likes him as an option off the bench.

Adam Dunn wasn’t in the A’s lineup Tuesday vs. Royals. Manager Bob Melvin likes him as an option off the bench.

Manager Bob Melvin made one prudent choice (with an asterisk) and one surprising choice in setting his lineup for the A’s wild card game tonight with the Royals.

The surprise is that DH Adam Dunn is on the bench. Brandon Moss, who generally plays left field when Dunn is the DH, is the designated hitter tonight and Sam Fuld is in left.

Then came the big surprise. Moss homered to give the A’s a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. He had no homers in his previous 25 at-bats (11 games) and just two since July 24 (154 at-bats).

Is Moss feeling better now since his cortisone shot in the waning days of the regular season? Maybe so.

It’s clearly a move to put the A’s best defense on the field. Kansas City runs as well as any team in the game, and with Fuld and right fielder Josh Reddick flanking center fielder Coco Crisp, the A’s have their best coverage outfield going.

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A’s got with Soto & Moss, without Dunn & Norris vs. Royals

Adam Dunn will sit out the start of A's wild card game tonight vs. Royals

Adam Dunn will sit out the start of A’s wild card game tonight vs. Royals

Manager Bob Melvin made one prudent choice (with an asterisk) and one surprising choice in setting his lineup for the A’s wild card game tonight with the Royals.

The surprise is that DH Adam Dunn is on the bench. Brandon Moss, who generally plays left field when Dunn is the DH, is the designated hitter tonight and Sam Fuld is in left.

It’s clearly a move to put the A’s best defense on the field. Kansas City runs as well as any team in the game, and with Fuld and right fielder Josh Reddick flanking center fielder Coco Crisp, the A’s have their best coverage outfield going.

Still, choosing Moss over Dunn is not at all clear-cut. Dunn, whose streak of 2,001 games without a post-season appearance, the 14th-longest in Major League history, will end if he gets in the game, is a career .200 hitter against Kansas City starter James Shields.

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Playing in the post-season never gets old for A’s Punto

Nick Punto has made it to the post-season five times since 2006 and relishes one more shot at it.

Nick Punto has made it to the post-season five times since 2006 and relishes one more shot at it.

The A’s as a group have a little bit of experience playing post-season baseball.

Oakland played in the American League Division Series the last two seasons and some of the players brought in recently like Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes were in the World Series as recently as last year.

And then there is Nick Punto. The utility infielder made it to the post-season in 2006 with the Twins, playing (and losing to) the A’s in the ALDS.

He was back in the ALDS with Minnesota in 2009, again getting knocked out early, this time by the Yankees.

Then it was time to get serious about this whole post-season thing.

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Reddick sees a new season for A’s, starting immediately

Josh Reddick, the A's best hitter down the stretch, sees a big-post-season for Oakland.

Josh Reddick, the A’s best hitter down the stretch, sees a big-post-season for Oakland.

There was no lack of joy in any corner of the A’s clubhouse Sunday.

But no one enjoyed the post-game celebration more than Josh Reddick, who spent the hour after the game running around in his superhero underwear that had shortstop Jed Lowrie smiling, shrugging his shoulders and saying “whatever works.’’

It was a personal moment for Reddick who did as much as anyone to push the A’s over the top. He had 16 hits in his last 33 at-bats (batting average: .485) in his last 10 games to provide one stable source of offense.

It was his triple that scored Brandon Moss from second base in the second inning to get the A’s on the scoreboard, and Reddick scored to make it 2-0 on a Stephen Vogt single moments later.

The A’s had lost two-thirds of their final 45 games before Sunday, but with Reddick pants-less and soaked in bubbly and beer, there was no better reminder that it’s a new season beginning immediately.

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Time for A’s to stop waiting, start winning, or else

Sonny Gray pitches Game 162 Sunday, the only game that matters any more for A's

Sonny Gray pitches Game 162 Sunday, the only game that matters any more for A’s

The A’s have been waiting for six weeks for their slump to end.

You know the one. It’s seen Oakland lose 30 of their last 45 games and has seen the A’s go from the next American League power to a team that is perhaps hours away from failing to make the post-season at all.

If that were to happen, it would go do as one of the great collapses of all-time, perhaps the biggest in Major League history. Other teams have fallen about as far about as fast, but none of them had the lifelines of two Wild Card berths awaiting non-Division Champions.

The A’s have to win Sunday, have the Mariners lose Sunday or, failing that, beat Seattle in a one-game playoff Monday to avoid having that added to their resume.

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