Athletics

Aaron Rodgers' top weapon is out indefinitely

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Aaron Rodgers' top weapon is out indefinitely

From Comcast SportsNetGREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Rest and rehab weren't enough to get Greg Jennings back on the field.The Green Bay Packers' No. 1 receiver will have surgery next Tuesday to repair a torn abdominal muscle that has kept him out for most of the season. He would not put a timetable on his return, but said recovery from the 20- to 25-minute outpatient procedure is not season-ending."Honestly, I'm over being bummed about it. That took place three, four weeks ago," Jennings said Thursday. "It is what it is. I need to take care of it to 100 percent, and that's the process I'm taking."The two-time Pro Bowler was initially hurt in the closing minutes of the Sept. 9 opener against San Francisco. He sat out the next week's game against Chicago, and returned to play at Seattle on Sept. 24. But he aggravated the injury against New Orleans, and came out of the Sept. 30 game in the second quarter after a 9-yard touchdown catch, his first of the season.Jennings had hoped the injury would heal with treatment and strength work. But he continued to feel pain when he was in the weight room or tried to run, and feared the injury wasn't improving as he'd hoped. When he felt his groin tighten up as he ran off the field after last weekend's game in St. Louis, Jennings knew more aggressive treatment was needed."The trainers have done a great job in the rehabilitation stages to get me to where I am right now," he said. "But now we have to take it a step further."He traveled Wednesday to Philadelphia to see Dr. William Meyers, who specializes in abdominal and groin injuries."The way he described it to me was simply two people pulling on the end of a rope and it starts to fray. The more tugging, the more fraying, which means the more tearing occurs," Jennings said. "That's what I have going on."Meyers told Jennings he could have either an injection or surgery. But it would take a few days to see if the injection worked.If it didn't, Jennings would need surgery anyway."The injection would've masked most of the pain, but there was still no guarantee I could go out there and hit that last gear," Jennings said. "That's the one thing I have to have ... to create more separation. So, there's no sense to me in taking a shot that may or may not work, may take three-days-to-a-week to actually start to work. I could have spent the week rehabbing on a surgery that's going to get me back perfect."Jennings said he'll be able to walk out of the procedure, which will be done in Philadelphia. He joked that he'll be back in the locker room Wednesday and "you guys will never know."The injury has come at the most inopportune time for Jennings, who is in the last year of his contract.Though he's had 1,000-yard seasons in three of the last four years and is seventh on Green Bay's career list with 401 receptions, some believe the Packers will let Jennings go as an unrestricted free. The 29-year-old figures to command a contract averaging more than 10 million per season and, with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, outside linebacker Clay Matthews and defensive tackle B.J. Raji needing extensions, there might not be enough money to go around.The Packers are probably deeper at receiver than any other position, too, and Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Randall Cobb have all had big performances in Jennings' absence. Nelson had three touchdown catches against Houston, and has had back-to-back 100-yard receiving games. Jones caught two TD passes in three straight games, tying a franchise record. Cobb followed his first 100-yard receiving game, against Houston, with a pair of touchdown receptions against St. Louis."Free agency will take care of itself," Jennings said. "Hopefully, I've put on film certain plays that I'm able to make and showcase my talents. ... Right now, I have to take care of myself and do what's best for me."And that is to have surgery.Asked if he wishes he'd made this decision earlier, Jennings said it's pointless to think about."You always wish you'd done things differently once it didn't work," he said. "But the past is the past. You can't live in the past, you can't change the past. Time keeps on ticking. So right now, the decision and the choice that we're going with is going to get me back to 100 percent."Notes: DT B.J. Raji, who has missed the last two games with a bad ankle, was able to practice on a limited basis Thursday. "I thought he looked good," coach Mike McCarthy said. "He was jumping around there, looked like old self." ... McCarthy said he thinks backup DE Mike Neal, who injured his knee against the Rams, will be able to play in Sunday's game against Jacksonville. ... With so many players banged up -- the Packers had 13 players on Thursday's injury report -- McCarthy is cutting practices short this week. "You don't want to stress your team while getting ready for a game," he said.

A's find two bright spots in tough shutout loss to Astros

A's find two bright spots in tough shutout loss to Astros

HOUSTON — Some losses go down tougher than others, and that’s true for Bob Melvin whether it’s April or whether it’s August and his team is playing out the string.

The body language and demeanor said it all for the A’s manager Saturday after a 3-0 loss to the Astros, in which Oakland didn’t advance a single runner past second base.

Houston right-hander Collin McHugh brought a 4.88 ERA into the game over five starts since returning from a shoulder injury. He wound up celebrating his first victory of 2017 after six stellar innings.

“He threw the ball good, (but) I expected us to score some runs tonight,” Melvin said.

The A’s were done in by five ground-ball double plays, including a game-ending 5-4-3 job from Ryon Healy, which was reversed on replay review after Healy initially was called safe.

“Those things are killers,” catcher Bruce Maxwell said. “It just didn’t roll our way today.”

So the A’s (53-70) were left to pick through the scraps of this one to find some silver linings, and there were a couple.

Kendall Graveman held Houston to two runs over six innings, and the damage off him came on a two-run single from Marwin Gonzalez that glanced off the glove of second baseman Jed Lowrie. It was the second strong outing in a row for Graveman, who’s now got four starts under his belt since returning from his second stint on the disabled list this season for shoulder issues.

Most encouraging from his standpoint was he didn’t really have his best stuff, yet still managed to limit an opponent that leads the majors in every significant offensive category, including runs, batting average and homers.

“I think it’s the first one where I’ve been back when I had to kind of pitch and grind through,” said Graveman (3-4). “I didn’t have my best stuff. It’s just one of those where you’ve got to get out there and compete.”

The highlight of the game for the A’s came when center fielder Boog Powell unleashed a strike to home plate that nailed Alex Bregman trying to score from second on Jose Altuve’s single in the fifth.

Maxwell barely had to move his mitt to apply the tag, and count the A’s catcher as the most surprised person in the ballpark that Powell even gave him a chance on the play.

“It caught me off guard,” Maxwell admitted. “I haven’t played with Powell in a long time. I didn’t expect there to be that big of a play at home. He was fairly deep in the outfield as well.”

Powell, a 24-year-old rookie who was acquired from Seattle for Yonder Alonso, said he’s worked on his throwing in the minors in recent seasons.

“I didn’t (have a good arm) back in the day,” Powell said. “I’m definitely improving my arm strength. I pride myself on getting the ball out as quick as I can.”

It’s the kind of play that sticks in the memory bank as Powell tries to make his mark in the wide open battle to be the A’s center fielder in 2018. His throw to ring up Bregman was at least one moment from Saturday night that gave Melvin reason to smile.

“He can play the outfield, no doubt about it,” Melvin said. “It was a big play at the time, and it should give you a little momentum to go back out there and do a little better offensively.”

Despite injury concerns, Foster, Bowman play 20 snaps in exhibition vs Broncos

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AP

Despite injury concerns, Foster, Bowman play 20 snaps in exhibition vs Broncos

SANTA CLARA -- Rookie linebacker Reuben Foster, who was limited in Thursday’s practice due to a shoulder sprain, started the 49ers’ exhibition game Saturday night against the Denver Broncos at Levi's Stadium.

Foster played 20 snaps and recorded one tackle before the 49ers’ first-team defense was removed in the second quarter.

There were some concerns when Foster was included on the 49ers’ pre-practice injury report Thursday with an injury to his surgically repaired shoulder. But the 49ers said the injury was not related to the torn rotator cuff he sustained for Alabama in the national semifinal game against Washington.

NaVorro Bowman, who was removed from practice Thursday with a similar shoulder condition, also started and played every snap alongside Foster. Bowman was credited with two tackles.

With Foster and Bowman on the field, the Broncos totaled just 63 yards of total offense.