Results tagged ‘ Brad Ziegler ’

Postgame tidbits

A handful of quick notes from Target Field:

  • Coco Crisp was tagged out trying to go from first to third in the sixth inning, when he made his way to second on a throwing error by Kevin Slowey before pausing to look back to find the ball and continuing on to third, where he was tagged. Pausing rather than just focusing on third base coach Mike Gallego, Geren said, led to the out.
  • The Twins are now 6-2 against the A’s and 24-11 against the AL West this year.
  • A’s starting pitchers have recorded a decision in each of their last 25 games, which is the fourth longest streak in Oakland history. It marks the longest since Aug. 21-Sept. 29, 1979, when A’s starters had a record 36 straight games with a decision.
  • Aki Iwamura‘s seventh-inning double was his first extra-base hit since June 15, when he was with the Pirates.
  • Chris Carter extended his career-opening hitless streak to 29 at-bats. It is the longest hitless streak to start a career by a non-pitcher since Texas’ Vic Harris went 0-for-36 in 1972. Carter has compiled 13 times in those at-bats.
  • Carter’s attempt at Drew Butera’s ball to left field that resulted in a double in the fifth had Geren saying his outfielder would likely make that play 8 out of 10 times. “It just didn’t stay in his glove,” Geren said. “He catches that more times than not.”
  • Henry Rodriguez has not allowed a run in 15 of his last 16 appearances. He has 17 strikeouts over that span.
  • Brad Ziegler made his first appearance since Monday, tallying two strikeouts in the eighth inning. He has appeared in just 12 of the club’s 44 games since July 31.
  • Daric Barton is 1-for-16 on the road trip and didn’t reach base for just the second time in his last 32 games Saturday. He still has a Major League-leading 102 walks for the season.
  • Gabe Gross has endured a stretch of 21 games without a start. On Saturday, for a second straight day, he entered the game late but did not get an at-bat.
  • Landon Powell joked before Saturday’s game that he was going to need to hit doubles with Rajai Davis batting behind him. He not only got a double, but a homer too. It marked his first home run since May 28 at Detroit.

Thursday postgame notes

Manager Bob Geren described left-handed starter Gio Gonzalez as “unhittable” during the first three innings of Thursday’s game against the visiting D-backs, who drew a sold-out crowd of over 9,000. (Despite announced attendance, that’s more than the A’s get at some regular-season home games in Oakland.) Anyway, Gonzalez all but fell apart in the fourth frame, surrendering three of his four walks in that inning while appearing more than a little frustrated. After exiting with one on and two out in that inning, he talked with reporters and — without coming out and saying it directly — expressed discontentment with what he called “a touchy subject” on some of the calls he was getting. However, Geren said that happens sometimes and doesn’t excuse his mound composure. “I agree (with the calls), but that’s part of the game,” Geren said. “There were a couple close calls I told Curt (Young), but you need to shake that off.” Aside from that inning, Gonzalez said he was pleased with the way his changeup is coming along, noting that it got him plenty swings and misses, along with ground balls.

After Brad Ziegler induced a groundout to end the semi-ugly fourth frame, Tyson Ross came in and quietly tossed three solid innings, giving up one run on two hits while walking one and striking out seven. “He’s really come a long way in the past 10 months,” Geren said. “Today he showed just how dangerous his slider and sinker can be.”

This morning, Geren confirmed what Coco Crisp told me yesterday: The A’s center fielder could be back in the lineup by weekend’s end. You can read the full story from Wednesday here.

Also of note: Adam Rosales continues to get a good amount of playing time and productive at-bats, making it harder to imagine him not being on the 25-man roster come Opening Night. He was 2-for-3 in the win and has now reached base safely in nine of his last 10 games. So I’m wondering: How many of you genuinely see Rosales making a true competition out of the starting shortstop job? Cliff Pennington is 3-for-7 over his last three games and still seems to have the vote for the starting job from A’s management, but Rosales’ consistent play this spring is hard to ignore. At the same time, Rosales is not out of options. Eric Patterson is, but will that even factor into Oakland’s roster decisions in less than two weeks? Let me know what you think.

   

Wednesday postgame notes

When speaking to manager Bob Geren following the A’s 6-1 loss to the Giants today, I learned that Rajai Davis’ injury isn’t actually quad-related, as the team originally announced, but rather tied to abdominal pain near the left side of his stomach. Davis was missing from the clubhouse during the times I was down there throughout the game, but the injury doesn’t sound too serious and I’ll make sure to get you all an update tomorrow morning.

As for the game, I think Brett Anderson made everyone forget about the countless team injuries for an hour while he pitched four solid innings of two-hit ball — three of which he retired Giants hitters in order. While talking to media after his performance, Anderson seemed very pleased, and rightfully so, with the command he showed using all of his pitches. The most notable difference between the Brett Anderson of 2009 and the Brett Anderson of what Dallas Braden likes to refer to as “oh-ten” is the strides he’s made with his changeup. That one pitch allowed Anderson to really keep his pitch count down today. In fact, he only threw 50 through four. “Last year I was throwing too many pitches,” he said, “so I could never really go very deep in a game.” Geren was also impressed with his pitcher, saying he was “outstanding” and did a “great job of using his pitches all over the plate.”

Kevin Kouzmanoff made his second throwing error of the spring in the third inning, but made up for the mistake by going 2-for-3 at the plate with an impressive RBI hit to left-center that he turned into a double. The A’s new third baseman, who entered the game with a career .273 regular-season mark against starter Barry Zito, is looking more and more comfortable at the plate every time out there.

Kouzmanoff, along with fellow scheduled Opening Day starters Mark Ellis, Kurt Suzuki, Ryan Sweeney, etc., will get a second consecutive start against the visiting Diamondbacks tomorrow at Phoenix Muni. Fifth-starter candidate Gio Gonzalez is slated to take the mound, and he’ll be followed by Tyson Ross, Henry Rodriguez and Brad Ziegler.

That’s all I’ve got for you… Happy St. Patty’s Day to all!

http://twitter.com/JaneMLB  

Jacks back, Kouzmanoff arrives

Jack Cust was welcomed back to Oakland with open arms– literally — upon his return to the A’s clubhouse on reporting day at Phoenix Muni. Within seconds of his arrival, he was flanked by teammates, hugs and plenty shouts. Not to be forgotten, though, was newcomer Kevin Kouzmanoff, who quietly entered his first day with the A’s. He spoke to media within an hour upon his arrival and talked about his excitement in joining a new team, as well as how he’s transformed into one of the game’s most respected defensive third basemen. More on both Cust and Kouzmanoff can be found at the A’s site.

Some leftover tidbits from the day:

Justin Duchscherer looked just as happy as he did yesterday when he was still under the influence of some drugs from his nerve ablation procedure Tuesday. This time, though, he was simply excited to wake up and realize the pain in his sacroiliac joint area is no more. Duke threw 35 tosses at 80 feet and afterward said he felt fine.

Bob Geren said left-hander Lenny DiNardo did some throwing today and is now working on a sidearm motion with bullpen coach Ron Romanick to expand his look.

Full-squad workouts are officially underway tomorrow at Papago Park starting at 9:45. Brett Anderson, Vin Mazzaro and Brad Ziegler among pitchers scheduled to throw live BP. Updates from there to come tomorrow…

Greetings from Papago Park

Lots of A’s — pitchers, catchers, position players — have been working out at the team’s Papago Park facilities in Phoenix even though pitchers/catchers don’t have to officially report until tomorrow. It’s easy to see why given the weather (77 degrees today) and easily accessible fields there. When I took my first trip to the park yesterday afternoon after a quick flight from Oakland, I made my way around the fields accompanied by only a squirrel or two. Today, though, the lots were filled when I wandered over there mid-morning. Some highlights:

I quickly ran into Justin Duchscherer, who is sporting a little more scruff than usual. He looks great and genuinely says he feels better than great — physically AND mentally. If you recall, Justin was ready to return to the team in August after recovering from elbow surgery. The only thing keeping him away from the field was his battle with depression, which he has since treated. Physical health is not an issue for him, and he will have no restrictions come Sunday when pitchers and catchers work out together for the first time. Justin lives in Arizona, so he’s been doing plenty of baseball activity all offseason. Today was one of the few times he’s been out to Papago with everyone, but trust me when I say he appears to be physically and psychologically healthy.

Brad Ziegler is dealing with what he calls typical allergies he always gets when he comes out to Arizona, leaving him with a slightly raspy voice. He got an allergy shot yesterday, though, and is not letting it affect his workouts. He threw a bullpen today right before Joey Devine, who received a good amount of encouragement from pitching coach Curt Young and bullpen coach Ron Romanick. Romanick has played a key role in guiding Devine along his rehab schedule. To read more about his quick recovery from Tommy John surgery, you can go here. Also, here’s a picture of Devine throwing off the mound today.

Devine.jpgJake Fox has to be one of the friendliest guys in the game. At least that’s the impression I got after he found me to introduce himself. Usually the reporters are the ones who have to make the effort to jump start the initial introduction process, but Fox came right over in catcher’s gear, which is why I didn’t even recognize him in the first place. He helped out with some bullpen sessions today before taking BP, and you’d think the guy has been around the team for years. Definitely a likable guy who should make friends fast and bring an all-around good personality into the clubhouse.

It didn’t take long to spot the highly anticipated Michael Taylor, who spent more than an hour taking BP while showering the outfield grass with hits left and right. Luckily there was a good amount of guys shagging balls – a group that included Cliff Pennington, who took part in his first full day of workouts Friday. Taylor looks just as you probably imagined — big. You can spot him a mile away, but at the same time he’s no Big Hurt or Big Papi. More trimmed and toned. Here’s a picture of him signing an autograph for an eager fan, who begged Taylor to wait around for a minute while he ran to his car to get one of Taylor’s baseball cards.

Taylor.jpgTravis Buck has been working out at the facilities for a couple of weeks and looks to be in great shape. I didn’t recognize him at first due to a hairstyle change. Gone are the Goldilocks days. Buck’s going with a much shorter ‘do now and is hoping the change will be a sign of good change to come at the plate, where his struggles have been the topic of much discussion this offseason after the A’s signed FA outfielder Gabe Gross.

I also had the chance to meet Max Stassi, the A’s fourth-round pick in last year’s draft. He was busy catching a few bullpens before I caught up with him and, not surprisingly, he’s yet another nice guy. Lots of those on the A’s roster every year it seems. And while Stassi is here as a non-roster invitee having only spent time with the A’s short-season Vancouver team, there’s no denying his excitement and work ethic. Looks like he’ll be a great addition to the big league team in a couple years.

Others floating around the facilities included Andrew Bailey, Ben Sheets, Trevor Cahill, Daric Barton, Mark Ellis, Eric Chavez, Tyson Ross and Jared Lansford (Carney’s boy), among others. As I mentioned before, pitchers and catchers report tomorrow, but it should be a quiet day over at Phoenix Muni. The players have been advised to take the day off, as they won’t get another off day until March 16 after they begin official workouts Sunday. However, I’ll be over there bright and early tomorrow, so look for more updates again here by afternoon and all throughout the day on Twitter. Hope to gather more pictures for you as well.

Off to find some dinner here in the desert. Any food recommendations around the Tempe/Scottsdale/Phoenix area are always welcome, as are any comments/rants/opinions about the A’s.

Happy Friday!

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