Results tagged ‘ Travis Buck ’

‘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.

Dribblers: Injury updates and more

SEATTLE — Chris Carter’s promotion and Don Wakamatsu’s dismissal have created lots of commotion around these parts today. That doesn’t mean all other news stopped, though. Here’s some updates from beautiful Safeco Field, where Carter just went down on a swinging strikeout in his first at-bat:

  • Andrew Bailey (rib strain) endured a good side session from flat ground today, Geren said. No word yet, though, on when he’ll begin throwing off a mound.
  • It sounds like Daric Barton (shoulder spasms) should be good to go tomorrow.
  • Adam Rosales said he’s available tonight if need be. He’s suffered from ankle tendinitis for the past year, but it only recently started bugging him after the All-Star Break. Nothing major, though.
  • Conor Jackson (right hamstring) played 3 innings in Arizona on Sunday, and Geren said there were “no issues,” so he’s slated to play 5 today.
  • Matt Watson underwent an operation this morning to remove the kidney stones that were causing him severe side and back pain yesterday. Geren wasn’t sure how long his recovery process will be.

This and that:

  • Carter is widely known as being a shy personality, but today he surprised all by responding to questions with answers other than “yes” or “no.” You can tell he’s so psyched to be here, and it’s fun watching him go through the big league routine for the first time. Geren wouldn’t go into much detail — if any — regarding his playing time, but I would imagine the A’s would like to give him a long look in the outfield. I don’t think they want that kind of power sitting on the bench.
  • Jeff Larish, meanwhile, is also pretty shy, I’ve heard. But, just like Carter, I found him to be rather nice and respectful. Sounds like he was looking for a change of scenery and, while he told me it’s been a crazy couple weeks for him, he said he’s genuinely excited to be here with a young bunch. He went to Arizona State, so he knows fellow Sun Devil Travis Buck pretty well. He’s also friends with Eric Sogard, who was a freshman at ASU when he was a senior.
  • One final note, Adrian Cardenas was promoted from Double-A Midland to Sacramento today, and for good reason. He had reached base safely in 46 of his past 50 games and was hitting .347 over that stretch.

Coming soon to a big league park near you … Chris Carter?

Looks like I missed out on an eventful day at the Coliseum, where the injury bug seemingly came out in full force and touched upon the likes of Matt Watson (severe side/back pain), Daric Barton (left shoulder spasms) and Adam Rosales, who was apparently unavailable because of an injured ankle. Barton told MLB.com associate reporter Alex Espinoza he was fine after the game, but Watson’s injury required a trip to the hospital, so I highly doubt he made the charter to Seattle. Meanwhile, in Sacramento, Chris Carter was lifted after just one at-bat today, and while nothing has been confirmed, I would suspect — all signs point toward it — the A’s top prospect may finally be getting the call to join the big boys on the impending road trip to Seattle and Minnesota. When hearing of Watson’s injury, I figured Travis Buck would be the likely choice to take his roster spot if need be. But given the recent developments surrounding Oakland’s only two true first-base options (Barton, Rosales), it makes sense the A’s are looking for someone who can nicely fill both slots. Carter has spent most of the year at first base, and he was just recently moved to left field in an effort to see what he can do out there, so he’s obviously an option for either position.

Carter’s currently batting .262 at Sacramento after struggling for much of the first half, so while his average may still not exactly be where the Oakland brass would like, the improvements he’s made since the beginning of the season (he hit a combined .220 in May and June) are noticeable and his power numbers are undeniable: 27 home runs, 88 RBIs. He’s also got three homers and 12 RBIs over his last five games. The thing is, A’s management has always said that once Carter (and Taylor) are up, they’re up for good, or at least that’s the goal. So is this Carter’s time? Or, even if it’s not, do you let him at least get the chance to find out? We’re likely not going to find out for sure until tomorrow, so stay tuned.

…Thoughts?

One cherry Tootsie Pop, please…

I’m starting to wonder if the A’s training room is handing out free lollipops or something. Or maybe stickers and Disney princess band-aids. That’s just my guess. I can’t seem to think of any good reason why the baseball gods, year after year, continue to sprinkle this A’s team with health problems. As expected, Kurt Suzuki became the 10th A’s player to go on the disabled list today. Justin Duchscherer could easily be next, and Dallas Braden’s numb foot didn’t exactly leave anyone feeling great after the lefty’s last performance.

After seemingly getting off to one of their healthiest starts in years, the A’s have quickly reminded us that the bad luck that has continually circled through the clubhouse hasn’t quite left. A total of 74 players have made use of the DL since the start of the 2007 season, and the A’s are now on pace to use it about 70 times this year alone. Anyone out there working on a medical thesis right now? Someone could easily do an exhaustive study on this injury-prone team.

Let’s take a look at who’s enjoying a Tootsie Roll Pop right now:

Kurt Suzuki is bored out of his mind thanks to an intercostal strain in his left side that will keep him out of the lineup until May 9 at the earliest. That’s when he’s eligible to return from the 15-day DL.

Mark Ellis didn’t make the team’s current road trip and is instead treating his strained left hamstring. He’s eligible to be reinstated from the DL on May 6, but the club isn’t making any promises that his name will be back in the lineup then. After all, Ellis returned April 20 after missing seven games due to the injury and left the game after five innings. No need to rush him.

Travis Buck, possibly the most frustrated of them all, is out with a strained right oblique muscle — which flared up during batting practice April 21 and had him on the DL by the next morning. He hit a monster of a home run the day before suffering the injury and appeared to be heading toward a hot streak, making the situation that much more disappointing. Story of Buck’s life, though. Right?

Coco Crisp probably wants to simply wave a magic wand over his fractured pinkie finger right about now, but he’s taking things in stride because he know there’s absolutely nothing he can do to make it heal quicker. He’s hopeful he’ll be able to resume baseball activity in less than two weeks, which means we could maybe see him make his debut in green and gold by the end of May.

Brett Anderson received quite the reward for signing a four-year contract extension last week. And I’m not talking about the $32 million he could potentially earn. Rather, Anderson is now being forced to celebrate his new deal with a strain near his flexor tendon that will force him to miss at least five weeks.

Michael Wuertz scared us all when he wasn’t pitching in any Spring Training games. That’s when we found out about the sore shoulder, which then turned into shoulder tendinitis, which then put him on the DL to start the season. The A’s top right-handed setup man is on his way back, though. He is scheduled to pitch for Triple-A Sacramento tonight and, if all goes well, he could rejoin the team for next week’s homestand.

Joey Devine is one of the nicest guys on the team, but his surgically-repaired elbow hasn’t been so kind to him. Devine entered camp quite enthused that he was ahead of his Tommy John rehab schedule only to be set back with tendinitis halfway through spring. Then, just as he was about to face live hitters last week, he felt more pain and found out the tendinitis has returned. However, that’s relatively good news considering he thought there might be a tear involved. Devine was transferred to the 60-day DL today to make room for Josh Donaldson on the A’s 40-man, so it looks like we won’t see him until after the All-Star break.

Josh Outman, like Devine, is recovering from Tommy John surgery and isn’t expected to rejoin the club until midseason. All reports on his recovery process, though, have been nothing but thumbs up.

John Meloan, remember him? He underwent Tommy John surgery last month and will likely be out until the middle of the 2011 season.

That should add up to nine. Trevor Cahill, who struggled in his season debut against the Jays tonight, represents the club’s 10th player to have used the DL this year. He started the season there with a stress reaction in his left scapula before being optioned to Sacramento and, eventually, being recalled to fill Anderson’s place.

The A’s also saw Kevin Kouzmanoff and Jerry Blevins miss time due to their own respective injuries last week. Now, the team will wait on news from Dr. Thomas Byrd, who will examine Duchscherer’s MRI on Monday in Nashville. If surgery is required, folks, you won’t be seeing him back in a uniform this year.

Watching Duchscherer choke up after last night’s game was rough. This guy’s essentially been to mental hell and back, and now he’s dealing with yet another hip issue after just five starts. If he’s out of the mix, Vin Mazzaro is likely to get the call up. Maybe then we’ll appreciate all this depth talk Billy Beane spoke of so much during the offseason.

On the upside, Eric Chavez is still going strong. Of all the players who have fallen victim to the injury bug, who would have thought the A’s veteran would not be one of them? Chavez very much appears to have a great peace of mind regarding his role on this team, and it’s good to see him enjoying himself on the field again. He also got a haircut recently, as I observed today. “Actually,” he said with a grin, “I got it last week, but thanks for noticing.”

Hey, it’s hard to keep track of trips to the DL, let alone visits to the salon…  

Injury news: Buck, Stassi, Meloan

2 p.m. I just learned that outfielder Travis Buck was scratched from Tuesday’s lineup due to dizziness in Surprise, Ariz., where the A’s are playing a split-squad game against the Royals. He was replaced in right field by Corey Brown, who went 3-for-4 with an RBI ground-rule double, two runs, a stolen base and a walk.

Buck is 1-for-5 at the plate in three games this spring and is fighting for an outfield spot along with Eric Patterson and Gabe Gross. He has made the A’s Opening Day roster in each of the last three seasons, but four stints on the disabled list and options to Sacramento in each of the last two years have limited him to just 156 games in that time at the Major League level. He does have a history of head problems, as he suffered a severe concussion in 2008 in Triple-A and also collided with Chris Denorfia last year in Sacramento. 

5:30 p.m.: Manager Bob Geren had no news on Buck, so I’m assuming he’ll be good to go tomorrow, but if I hear anything differently come morning, I’ll keep you updated.

In other injury news, 18-year-old catching prospect Max Stassi left the A’s game against the Rangers in Phoenix in the ninth inning with a right knee contusion after getting hit by a foul ball. The injury came just two frames after Stassi hit his first homer of the spring. “The baseball gods are funny like that,” he said after the game.

Stassi doesn’t think he’ll be game-ready again for about a week, so the next time he sees action will apparently be in Minor League camp, considering he noted that “the bad thing is I’m going down tomorrow.” Geren hasn’t said anything about cuts, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if some were made tomorrow considering Minor League camp is officially underway.

6 p.m. Also just got word that right-handed pitcher John Meloan left the game in Surprise accompanied by a trainer in the eighth inning with a 1-0 count on the batter. Will hopefully have more information on him first thing tomorrow.

Another note from that game: Jack Cust hit a ball over the right-field wall that bounced on the sidewalk over the fence across the four-lane street on one hop and into the water park.

A source who was at the game says the homer was the “farthest anyone can remember seeing a ball hit here.”
 

Wednesday warmups

11:20 a.m.: Not much news out of A’s camp this morning when we met with Bob Geren, so we spent most of his pre-stretch media session talking about some of the intricacies of the game, which brought up the memorable base running blunders in the 2003 playoffs against the Red Sox. Always good to get Geren animated and out of his shell a bit. Anyways, some morning tidbits for you:

Justin Duchscherer, who underwent a nerve ablation process to alleviate pain in his SI joint yesterday, showed up in the clubhouse this morning very much still out of it, but said he’ll come out tomorrow and see how he feels. He’s only a couple days behind the other pitchers, so he’s not too worried about the setback. “I have six weeks,” he said.

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser asked Jake Fox this morning if he had any options left. Us media had been told that Fox did have an option left, but come to find out he actually doesn’t. That very much changes the complexity of camp regarding bench spots. If Eric Chavez calls it a career this spring, Fox’s spot on the roster is pretty much guaranteed. But if Chavez deems himself healthy for the season, Fox’s future might not be so certain. The team would like to have Adam Rosales around to spell the middle infielders, so Fox’s chances of making the team will heavily depend on Chavez. If the A’s want to send him to the Minors, he must first clear waivers. Same for Eric Patterson, who was consider the team’s only player out of options before this Fox news surfaced today.

Left-hander Lenny DiNardo, who has been dealing with a strained arch in his left foot, is “50 percent better than yesterday,” Geren said. At the pace he’s going, the manager said DiNardo should be out and about again in a day or two.

BP just got underway, and it looks like Travis Buck and Daric Barton are among those getting some hacks in today. Rajai Davis flew in from Connecticut yesterday and made his first appearance today, leaving just a couple position players left to report. Official reporting date for position players is tomorrow. Kevin Kouzmanoff and Jack Cust are two of the big names yet to be seen around camp yet…

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!

Will we see Taylor before Buck?

I think I’ve finally recovered from Monday’s wacky series of events. When I confirmed the Gabe Gross signing news Sunday, I was pretty certain Monday could turn out to be interesting knowing that a trade was most likely to follow to make room on the 40-man. But never would I have pegged it to be a day when we saw not one but two utility infielders come in, not to mention a brief hour-long stint by a $4 million outfielder (Willy Taveras) only to watch him be designated for assignment. And in the meantime, Dana Eveland and Gregorio Petit were DFA’d as well. Needless to say, I was afraid to leave my laptop and/or phone in the event news was waiting about the groundbreaking of a new A’s stadium and/or confirmation that Grant Desme changed his mind about the priesthood. It was THAT kind of day. A kind of day on which anything could happen.

What didn’t happen, aside from fans’ fantasies about the stadium and Desme, was anything involving Travis Buck. In fact, no news of Buck has surfaced in quite awhile. And the way I see it — through reports and personal observations — is that tension is running mighty high between the once promising goldilocks outfielder and the organization. When I talked to David Forst on Monday, he made no mention of Buck when asked about the fourth/fifth outfield slots. Neither did Billy Beane when discussing the matter with the Contra Costa Times.

That being said, I could seriously see Michael Taylor picking out white cleats before Buck does so again. And for Buck’s sake, I hope he’s gone by Opening Day. The kid needs a change of scenery — a new team to prove his worth. So let’s take it to the polls:

Where will we see Travis Buck on Opening Day?
A. Getting reacquainted with new and old teammates in Sacramento.
B. Sitting on the bench in Oakland.
C. Sitting on a big league bench somewhere far away.
D. Standing in a big league outfield somewhere far away.
  

Buck in As future?

As reported here, a club source told me Sunday that the A’s have indeed signed free agent outfielder Gabe Gross to a one-year deal. According to the source, Gross’ contract is worth $750,000. He can earn up to $1 million based on plate appearances. Here’s the breakdown:

300 ABs: $25,000
350 ABs: $25,000
400 ABs: $50,000
450 ABs: $50,000
500 ABs: $50,000
550 ABs: $50,000

The deal was likely done Friday, and the club anticipated announcing the news Monday. So come tomorrow, if/when the A’s put out a release, it should be interesting to see who is designated for assignment. The Ben Sheets signing put the A’s right at the 40-man mark, so someone’s definitely getting the bump. I know this deal is also leaving many of you Travis Buck fans skeptical about his future in Oakland. Before the rumors of Gross (and Johnny Damon) began circling about, many assumed Buck was the A’s fourth outfielder. In the past, Beane has been adamant about Buck not being available to other teams, but a deal like this has to make you wonder if he’s changed his mind.

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?

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