Results tagged ‘ Coco Crisp ’

Monday morning tidbits

First, your starting lineup against the Reds in Goodyear, with Ben Sheets (who manager Bob Geren hopes will go four innings) scheduled to make his third start of the spring:

Davis CF
Ellis 2B
Suzuki C
Kouzmanoff 3B
Sweeney RF
Cust DH
Barton 1B
Fox LF
Rosales SS

Also scheduled to throw: Jennings, Ziegler, Rodriguez, Blevins, Hernandez, McBeth

Today will mark Kurt Suzuki’s first back-to-back start behind the plate, as Geren is beginning to get his projected starters gradually acclimated with playing on consecutive days. The team has a day off tomorrow, and Geren said you can expect to see a lot of the other regulars (Mark Ellis, Kevin Kouzmanoff, etc) start to play back-to-back days beginning Wednesday.

Dribblers: Geren noted that Coco Crisp is “progressing well” and is back to his throwing program. He should be returning to the lineup in the “near future,” Geren said. … Jason Jennings, who has suddenly put himself in a good position to battle for a roster spot, will start one of Oakland’s split-squad games (likely on the road against the Indians) on Saturday, when Sheets is slated to take the mound in the other game (at home versus the Cubs). Vin Mazzaro is also scheduled to throw that day as well. … Joey Devine, who is currently treating tendinitis in his surgically repaired pitching arm, is scheduled to throw what Geren deemed “light to medium” toss on Wednesday, the same day Justin Duchscherer is supposed to throw in a simulated game at 10 a.m. over at Papago Park’s Minor League facilities.     

The most recent A’s cuts: right-handed pitchers Clayton Mortensen (optioned to Triple-A) and Fautino De Los Santos (sent to Double-A) and left-hander Pedro Figueroa (also reassigned to Double-A). Meanwhile, Oakland offered Rule 5 pick Bobby Cassevah back to the Angels, who in turn accepted the right-hander. More on all four of these guys can be found at the A’s site shortly. 

Duke news, plus postgame notes and more

All the postgame talk Saturday was preceded by an interesting pregame session with manager Bob Geren, who, when asked about the likelihood of Justin Duchscherer being ready for Opening Day, responded: “He’s still optimistic about Opening Day, but I don’t think so. Getting him built up to 100 pitches makes it difficult to do without six starts. Four of our starters are getting six starts, and [Trevor Cahill] is getting seven. He’s two or three weeks behind.” 

Duchscherer, in fact, IS still optimistic about being on the 25-man roster Opening Day. When approached by other reporters, he made it clear he still believes he’ll be good to go. He’s been throwing from the front of the mound and did so again Saturday, so I should have another update on that session tomorrow morning.
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And now, some postgame dribblers for y’all… (Sheets’ Southern drawl must be wearing off on me):

Immediately after the game ended, Eric Patterson was en route to get stitches for the cut he got above his left eye when trying to grab a groundball that took a bad hop in the fifth inning. I’m told there was plenty blood, although I guess you really didn’t need to know that…

Flamethrower Henry Rodriguez threw the ball 98mph at least six or seven times in his one-inning stint today against the Angels, according to Geren. Equally impressive, Geren said, was Tyson Ross — who struck out two in two shutout innings of work. “He has a bright future, for sure,” the A’s skipper said. “And since he was in there early in the game, he faced a lot of Angels regulars. That was a good test for him.”

Coco Crisp enjoyed a successful Cactus League debut, leading off in the DH spot and going 2-for-3 with a double. He’ll continue to battle Jack Cust, Jake Fox and Eric Chavez for time in the DH role as he rehabs the surgically repaired shoulder that forced him to miss the majority of last season. “He had a real nice game,” Geren said. “Lots of power off the bat there.”
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Leftover notes: Righty Jason Jennings, who — along with Brett Tomko — signed with the A’s on Feb. 28, threw a simulated game Saturday and is slated to throw after Gio Gonzalez in Monday’s home game against the Cubs. Meanwhile, Tomko showed up in the A’s clubhouse before today’s game and spoke about the irritated nerve in his right throwing arm. He also boasted about his five-month-old twins, Jack and Ty, and said there was no special reason for choosing those particular names other than the want to give them “manly” names. “You want them to have names that sound good as a kid,” he explained, “but also sound like good names when they’re older.”

Brett Anderson is on the bump tomorrow — weather permitting — and is scheduled to throw ahead of Matt Wright, Fautino De Los Santos, Cedrick Bowers, John Meloan and Brad Kilby.

See y’all at the Angels’ Tempe Diablo Stadium in the morning…  

Postgame quick hits

Notes from today’s intrasquad game (which ended with a 5-3 score, but who’s keeping track?):

Coco Crisp, as expected, filled the DH role today. After the game, manager Bob Geren said Crisp won’t be starting in the outfield “for a while” — most likely not until the end of Spring Training in order to give him time to complete rehab of his surgically-repaired shoulder.

Geren noted that both Brett Anderson and Dallas Braden threw well. Braden, especially, was sharp with his control. “Considering he’s had the most time off,” Geren said, “he threw exceptional.”

Michael Taylor tallied two hits — both which were hit extremely hard — and an RBI while getting time in left field. Other top prospect Chris Carter played an inning at first and even held Taylor there at one point during the game. Makes you wonder when the two of them will play on the same field in Oakland.

Geren wasn’t too impressed — but mostly indifferent — with some of the younger pitchers, including Pedro Figueroa, John Meloan, Fautino De Los Santos and Fernando Hernandez. But, “it was their first time out there, so the command wasn’t where it needs to be.” However, the A’s skipper did note that he liked what he saw from Tyson Ross, who threw a “real good” slider, cutter and fastball.

Kevin Kouzmanoff didn’t see any action because of a bruised right shin, but he told me this afternoon that he should be good to go tomorrow. The bruise came from what Kouz described as a “really hard-hit line drive” off the bat of Adam Rosales. He couldn’t run today, but he did manage to hit … and get some dishes done in the A’s kitchen. “This is what they make you do when you’re not playing,” he joked.

Wednesday wrap-up

2 p.m.: Geren recently met with us for a bit again before calling it a day. He said he was spread thin today but did get to see Ben Sheets throw a simulated session to Corey Wimberly. Geren said the A’s right-hander had great movement on all three of his pitches.

Fautino De Los Santos and Pedro Figueroa looked great today, according to Geren. “Real live arms,” he said. As for Dallas Braden, who also threw a bullpen today, Geren said he looked good from a distance.

We ma be seeing Coco Crisp in
the DH spot during the first week of Spring Training games. Geren said
his hitting is ahead of his throwing schedule, and the team doesn’t
want to rush anything with his surgically repaired shoulder that kept
him out for all but a few weeks last season in Kansas City. Plus, as
Geren noted, “We obviously know what he can do defensively. We’re not
worried about that.”

Tomorrow should be a rather quiet day
around here, as Clayton Mortensen is the only pitcher scheduled to
throw. Geren said the extra day of rest for the pitchers was built into
the schedule. Position players are scheduled to report, and all are
expected to make it on time. Non-roster catcher Joel Galarraga is still dealing with visa problems in Mexico.

Monday morning notes

10:40 a.m.: Thanks to a pretty steady rainfall in Phoenix this morning, the A’s packed up their equipment at Phoenix Muni about an hour ago and headed to Papago Park, where they’ll skip PFP (pitchers fielding practice) and simply stretch and do some conditioning before pitchers begin their throwing programs. Among those scheduled to throw bullpens today are the recovering Dallas Braden, along with Gio Gonzalez, Andrew Bailey and Craig Breslow.

Bob Geren talked with reporters this morning for a good while before venturing over to Papago. Some noteworthy comments from the skipper:

As I mentioned Saturday, Jake Fox has been in camp helping catch bullpens. When asked about Fox’s catching abilities, Geren said he definitely wants to see what the newcomer can do behind the plate. “That’s why he’s here,” Geren stated. The A’s manager said Fox will be catching a few Spring Training games when not getting time as DH or at the corner infield slots and even left field. Geren threw BP to Fox yesterday and said he likes the way he hits. “You can tell a lot about how a guy approaches the plate during BP,” Geren said. Fox will be fighting for a utility spot with Eric Chavez and Adam Rosales this spring.

Max Stassi, the youngest guy in camp at age 18 (he was born in 1991!), has already made quite the impression on Geren, who will be watching the young catcher closely. Geren, once a big league catcher himself, says he usually forges a strong bond with catchers. “He doesn’t have the appearance of being 18 years old,” Geren said. “You would think he’s much older.” Stassi will have plenty to learn behind the plate alongside Kurt Suzuki and Landon Powell, but Geren said the team will be careful with how they approach his offensive game. “We don’t tend to make major adjustments with someone of that age,” he said.

As a side note, newly acquired outfielder Coco Crisp and his playful personality showed up to camp today, as did Chris Carter, who will be watched closely this spring. Justin Duchscherer’s nerve ablation procedure is schedule for noon, so hopefully I’ll have more on him by the end of the day.

And even though Ben Sheets insisted yesterday that he “hates” Spring Training, he was quite eager to get on the field this morning about a half hour before stretching was scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. “What are we waiting for?” he announced. “I could have slept in a bit longer this morning. I’m ready to go right now!”

Count your outfielders

All is apparently not quiet on the Western Front. Talks of the A’s in pursuit of one-time Oakland player Johnny Damon have fizzled this weekend, but according to multiple reports — including FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal and ESPN’s Buster Olney — the club is now in “serious discussions” with free-agent outfielder Gabe Gross. The 30-year-old Gross, who hit .227 with six homers and 36 games for Tampa Bay last year, would presumably offer the A’s a left-handed option off the bench and yet another backup outfielder.

Over the past couple weeks, both Beane and Geren have boasted about what could shape up to be the best defensive outfield in the league with Davis in LF, Crisp in CF and Sweeney in RF. The A’s also have the highly touted Michael Taylor waiting in line, not to mention options in Eric Patterson and Travis Buck — the latter who the A’s seem to have lost a lot of hope on, especially if a Gross signing gets done. So with the A’s entering camp with more outfielders than some can count, it begs the question of why Beane is so interested in signing an outfielder rather than what he calls a much-needed utility infielder.

At the same time, it’s Beane. And where his mind goes at this time of the year is anybody’s guess. After all, it’s fair to say the Ben Sheets signing didn’t make much sense — considering the pitching depth — before the deal came into fruition. And now that it has, it makes great sense barring any injury. But Gross is not Sheets. And he’s not Crisp. Or Kouzmanoff. So what gives?

Sheets, Damon on As radar

All those thinking the A’s rotation is
the one area need not be touched heading into Spring Training, think again.
Recent reports are pointing toward a possible Ben Sheets signing in Oakland.

The 31-year-old free agent, who missed
all of 2009 because of elbow surgery, threw a pitching session in front of
several scouts and team officials — including those from Oakland — on Jan. 19
at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. His fastball topped out at 92 mph,
and his curveball was highly affective.

Now, almost one week later, the A’s are
apparently very much still interested despite Sheets’ desire for a guaranteed
$8 million in 2010. And while Billy Beane declined to comment, citing his
policy against discussing free agents, multiple reports say Oakland is
definitely in the mix. Other teams reportedly in a bidding war for the
right-hander include the Mets and Rangers.

The A’s do have some money to spend,
and Sheets would not only offer the A’s an added veteran presence in a very
young rotation, but also provide the club with some trade bait (Gonzalez?
Mazzaro?) to aide in their efforts in landing a power-hitting SS – the one area
on the field where depth is missing.

So while the Sheets interest may seem
somewhat of a head-scratcher at first glance, the notion doesn’t seem too crazy
upon further review – especially when Billy’s involved. However, the team is
also linked to an even stranger idea: Could Johnny Damon be back for a second
tour with the A’s if the Sheets signing doesn’t go down? Doesn’t quite make
much sense, but reports say it’s a definite maybe.

Last week at A’s Media Day, Geren
insisted he may have one of the best — if not, the best — defensive outfields
in the league with Davis in LF, Crisp in CF and Sweeney in RF. Damon’s not
exactly Gold Glove material out there, and he wouldn’t be much of a need at DH
either with Cust, Fox and (hopefully) Chavez already as options there.

Needless to say, the A’s roster could
be slapped with some changes by week’s end. Should be interesting to see how it
all plays out.

Welcome.

Offseason greetings to all in the baseball community, and
welcome to a blog written by your newest A’s beat reporter for MLB.com. My name
is Jane Lee, and I officially joined the A’s full-time beat for MLB.com on
January 18. Hopefully some of you remember me, as I enjoyed a handful of
freelance work covering the A’s during the 2009 season and also worked
alongside former Oakland beat writer Mychael Urban as his associate reporter
the previous year. Thus, having two years of experience on the A’s beat under
my belt, I can assure you nothing but complete and continual coverage of the
A’s that you are used to seeing at MLB.com.

 

I’m beyond excited about this opportunity, and I hope you
join me on the ride by bookmarking this page and making yourself a regular
visitor both here and at the A’s official site. My first week proved plenty
busy, as I reported on the A’s efforts to avoid arbitration with Rajai Davis and newbie
Kevin Kouzmanoff, wrote about Eric Chavez’s new utility role, heard from Coco Crisp and several others at A’s Media Day,
and covered the surprising news of Oakland prospect Grant Desme’s choice to leave baseball and join
the Catholic priesthood. Furthermore, I’m certain Billy Beane isn’t quite done
wheeling and dealing this offseason, so you may be seeing (more) new faces on
the roster before the team and I head to Phoenix in three short weeks for
Spring Training.

 

Here, you can expect any and all news and analysis related
to the team, as well as some fun behind-the-scenes anecdotes and observations
seen on and off the field. Please feel free to leave comments, or e-mail me here. Don’t
forget to follow me on Twitter, either!

 

– Jane


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