Results tagged ‘ Jason Jennings ’

‘Minor’ Notes

Some quick updates from around the Minors:

  • Conor Jackson went 0-for-2 with an RBI in five innings of work in Arizona tonight. It marked his second rehab game, and he’s expected to continue building up innings before returning to Oakland.
  • First-round Draft pick Michael Choice collected his first pro hits tonight, as he went 2-for-4 with a triple for Vancouver, the A’s short-season Class-A club.
  • In that same game, Jason Jennings pitched two innings, allowing one run with one strikeout.
  • For Triple-A Sacramento, Travis Buck went 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs and has suddenly raised his average to .309. Unfortunately, I see Buck staying there for quite some time, given Carter’s promotion and Jackson’s impending return.
  • Also in that game, Adrian Cardenas collected a double in his first Triple-A action since being promoted from Double-A Midland today. He started at third base.

Duke starts, Crisp back in lineup

Lots of tidbits to share this morning, but first your starting lineup vs. the Mariners in Peoria:

Crisp DH, Barton 1B, Suzuki C, Kouz 3B, Sweeney RF, Patterson CF, Gross LF, Rosales 2B, Pennington SS, Duchscherer SP

  • Mark Ellis was scratched from today’s lineup due to tightness in both hamstrings. Adam Rosales is now in there playing second base. If there was ever such a thing as a good time for this kind of injury, it’s now – the A’s have tomorrow and most of Wednesday morning off before playing the Giants that night.
  • Brett Anderson was scheduled to make his fourth spring start Monday, but he woke up with neck stiffness so he’ll pitch in a Minor League game tomorrow. Therefore, Justin Duchscherer will not only make his first pitching appearance today, but he’ll make his first start since 2008. As a result, it appears the pitching rotation is taking form and could look something like this come Opening Day: Ben Sheets, Dallas Braden, Duchscherer, Anderson, [insert fifth starter]. That’s a nice R-L-R-L in the first four slots, and assuming Trevor Cahill grabs that last spot, another righty could fill the rotation. Anderson will pitch in the Double-A game tomorrow while Gio Gonzalez will get his work in at the Triple-A game over at Papago Park on the team’s scheduled off day.
  • As you can see, Coco Crisp is back in the lineup today after having been sidelined with a strained left hamstring March 10. Manager Bob Geren said both he and Rajai Davis will start Wednesday’s night game against the visiting Dodgers in the outfield, marking the first time all spring we could potentially be seeing the same outfield slated to start Opening Night.
  • The A’s have another night game Thursday at the Giants’ stadium in Scottsdale, where Jason Jennings will make his second start. Earlier in the day, Sheets will toss six innings in a Minor League game to “make sure he gets his six ups and downs in a controlled environment,” Geren said. 
  • Joey Devine, Craig Breslow and Andrew Bailey are all throwing today. Devine threw yesterday at 80 feet and said he’s going to attempt 100 feet this morning. The right-hander will then take Tuesday off and resume flat ground throwing Wednesday. He’s hoping to throw off the mound by the end of the week and resume his throwing program by next week. Meanwhile, Breslow and Bailey are slated to throw sides on Wednesday, which is good news for the recently injury-prone bullpen.
  • Not so good news came in the form of John Meloan’s elbow, which will require season-ending surgery. The 25-year-old righty pitched in just two games this spring for a total of 1 2/3 innings, in which he allowed four hits and two earned runs. He’ll soon visit with Dr. James Andrews, who has performed Tommy John surgery on a few current A’s players, including Bailey, Devine and Josh Outman.  

Talking ads, brackets … and some baseball

There was a lot going on today, and as I mentioned in my previous blog, it all started with the unveiling of the A’s new ad campaign. I ran into Andrew Bailey right before the A’s game against the Cubs and he mentioned he had heard all of us media folk got a sneak peak at the commercials. When I asked him how many times he had to say “nipple clipper,” he laughed and shook his head before replying, “A lot.” He’s quite the trooper. “That’s what they wanted me to say!” he insisted. From what I hear, a few clips of the ads will join the story that’s already posted on the A’s site by the end of the day, so make sure you check on that tonight. 
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I’m pretty sure the A’s clubhouse was just as stunned as the rest of the nation by St. Mary’s upset of Villanova this afternoon. Only infield coach Mike Gallego picked the Gaels to beat up on the No. 2 seed, and things only got worse for the A’s clubhouse pool when Kansas was stunned by Northern Iowa later in the day. Out of the 57 entries, 30 have Kansas winning it all. I hate to say it, but that 30 includes me. I usually like to pick anyone but the early favorite, but for some reason I did this year, and look where it got me. At the same time, I believe that watching the underdog upset the top seed is well worth the complete trashing of my bracket.
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It’s hard not to get caught up in all the glory that is March Madness, but aside from my frequent peeks at scores today, most of my focus was on the A’s and Cubs split-squad game here in Phoenix — mainly Ben Sheets, who, if you all recall, gave up 10 runs without retiring a batter in his last outing. On Saturday, though, Sheets looked like a different pitcher. Not only was his velocity there again, but his movement finally decided to show up this time. He was quite pleased with his curveball — and rightfully so — and the ways in which his mechanics improved in just five days’ time.

While Sheets was tossing his most impressive spring performance thus far, Jason Jennings wasn’t having as much luck with the Indians over in Goodyear. The new A’s right-hander, vying for a bullpen spot, gave up eight runs, seven hits and two walks in just 1 2/3 innings as the A’s dropped that one 12-4. Vin Mazzaro also pitched in the game but didn’t post great numbers either. His line: 2 IP, 5 H, 4 R (3 ER), 3 BB, 2 K. He’s going to need to step it up if he wants to be a serious contender for the fifth starter spot, especially when Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez are throwing as well as they are.

Joining Jennings and Mazzaro in Goodyear was Ryan Sweeney, who notched two hits in the DH spot, and Kevin Kouzmanoff, who went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer. Outfielder Matt Carson also hit a home run and went 2-for-3, and Adrian Cardenas tallied two hits as well. Eric Chavez was hitless in three at-bats, but the fact he made the rather long trip says something about the effort he’s putting in this spring to assure himself of a successful year. From what I was told, Chavez volunteered to make the trip so as to guarantee a start at first base since Daric Barton was already slated to start at the home game. The team, of course, didn’t have the veteran Chavez making the trip at first, but the A’s infielder insisted so that he could get in his at-bats.

That should do it for today. Dallas Braden is on the mound for the A’s against the visiting Reds tomorrow, but I’m sure all eyes will be on Michael Wuertz, who is supposed to make his first game appearance of the spring.     

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…  

Friday: Pregame notes

Lots of regulars in action today for the team’s home opener against the Brewers here at Phoenix Muni. Here’s your lineup:

Davis LF
Ellis 2B
Suzuki C
Kouzmanoff 3B
Chavez 1B
Cust DH
Buck RF
Rosales SS
Patterson CF
Sheets P

Pitchers available: Mazzaro, DiNardo, Bailey, Ziegler, Cassevah, Breslow, Hernandez, De Los Santos, McBeth, Demel

Lots to be excited about for this game, aside from the already anticipated start of Sheets against his former team. Chavez makes his game debut at first base, while Kouzmanoff also gets his first spring start at third. Definitely keep an eye on the middle of the lineup; I’m liking the idea of Cust batting sixth and am very curious to see how Suzuki, Kouz and Chavez set him up in the 3-5 spots.
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Quick note from this morning: Jason Jennings is scheduled to
throw a simulated game on the back field at noon today. The
right-hander, acquired this week, should be game-ready sometime next
week.
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Also, leftover tidbits from yesterday: Infielder Corey Wimberly is out indefinitely with a strained calf. … Geren liked what he saw from right-hander Justin Souza,
who allowed a hit and struck out the side in one inning of work in the
A’s 9-3 loss to the Cubs. … The A’s skipper was also quite impressed
with the rocket shot that Chris Carter sent over the left field
fence yesterday. “I don’t even think he got all of it either,” Geren
said. “I think he missed it a touch and it still almost went 500 feet.”
… After allowing one run — a homer to Derrek Lee — in two innings
to the Cubs, Trevor Cahill concluded that he has some work to do on his changeup. He shook off catcher Landon Powell five
times before throwing the changeup to Lee. He’s also working on a new
curveball, which he hoped to debut in the game but never got a chance.
“I was excited about it,” he said. Cahill will get plenty chances to
show it off, as he is scheduled to start the most Cactus League games
(7) out of any of the pitchers due to how the throwing scheduled worked
out. … Adam Rosales continues to impress every day. He went 1-for-2 yesterday against the Cubs and is back in the lineup today at shortstop.

Sunday notes: Sheets, Cahill and more

Tidbits from a rather quiet Sunday that saw way too much rain pound Phoenix Muni for the majority of the day:

Ben Sheets threw live BP and said everything felt great. Among those who stood in against him: Ryan Sweeney, Daric Barton, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Jake Fox. As I’ve noted before, Sheets has turned out to be quite the character around the clubhouse. On the mound, though, he turns into a completely different creature. Very intense. Less than five minutes after walking off the mound, though, he was back to his joking self. And if anything, he learned to stay away from the Mexican burrito spread right before he heads out to throw…

Bob Geren was very impressed with Trevor Cahill’s BP session today and said his performance was “the best I’ve seen from him.” Looked like he had all his pitches working for him, and he was getting quite the response from guys watching him in the dugout.

As you’ve probably already read here, the A’s signed veteran right-handers Jason Jennings and Brett Tomko today. Buzz is already circulating about what these moves mean for the current pitching staff. Are these additions simply Billy Beane’s way of adding more depth to a team with a longstanding injury history, or might this bring to question Justin Duchscherer and Sheets’ health? Hard to say right now, but I’d like to hear your thoughts.

I was told today that the A’s exhibition opener against the Cubs on Thursday will be on the radio for the first time in more than a decade. So for those of you within range of KTRB-860 in the Bay Area, you’ll be able to listen to all the sights and sounds of Oakland’s opener.

And if you didn’t get a chance to see this video of Rickey Henderson lending some advice to Rajai Davis, make sure you do so.

One final note to leave with you: As Jayson Stark observed today, this is the last Sunday without a baseball game to watch until November 7.

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