A's Braden teaching Gio how to 'Own It' on the mound


A's Braden teaching Gio how to 'Own It' on the mound

March 1, 2011

PHOENIX -- A's manager Bob Geren is so used to giving injury updates, he ticks them off as though there's a checklist in his head.He'd far prefer talking about more positive subjects, of course, and he certainly got one Tuesday. So after talking about Andrew Bailey's 40-pitch mound session, the progress of ailing hurlers Michael Wuertz and Rich Harden, and shortstop Cliff Pennington's anticipated Cactus League debut Sunday, he lit up while discussing left-hander Gio Gonzalez's outing against the Reds."Hard to beat that for a first outing," Geren said, shaking his head as if amazed by Gonzalez's two perfect innings that featured five strikeouts.RELATED: Gio sharp in A's loss to Reds
Gonzalez wasn't nearly as impressed. Following his dominant outing, he spoke extensively with CSNCalifornia.com regarding his progress as a pitcher -- and Dallas Braden's massive role in said development."Dallas has been huge for me," Gonzalez said. "Dude, I mean huge."Braden, Gonzalez said, has mastered the art of 'Owning It'. That is, when he takes the mound, he's utterly convinced that he's the baddest man on the planet, and nobody can beat him.SIEGEL: The great MLB arms race
"It's not easy to just start doing that," Gonzalez told me, "but once you kind of get it, it's incredible what your mind can do. And thanks to Dallas, who, before every start I make, is reminding me, reminding me, reminding me how good I am, I'm starting to get it."He certainly was 'Owning It' on Tuesday. Gonzalez said his goal was to simply throw strike one, try to get quick outs, try to keep his pitch count down. That's his focus this spring, and because he had a breakout 2010 and doesn't have to worry about earning a roster spot anymore, he has the luxury of working on things without sweating results.Alas, his pure stuff is so nasty, the Reds couldn't hit it."Trust me, I wasn't trying to strike guys out," Gonzalez said. "Sometimes it just happens that way."Another area in which Braden has helped Gonzalez is in game preparation. But not in the way you might think. Braden hasn't taught Gonzalez how to prepare for an opponent. He does the work for Gonzalez."He spends the whole week before his start studying, breaking everything down, how he's going to approach different guys," Gonzalez said. "He's a student. And because our styles are similar, he basically does all the work I'd be doing, so I don't have to do it. And then, last year he'd pitch in front of me in the rotation, and I'd watch and just be, 'Oh, OK. That's how you get that guy, that's how you get this guy.'"Dallas is incredible. He's the best leader and teacher I've had."

Former 49ers head coach Tomsula named Washington's defensive line coach

Former 49ers head coach Tomsula named Washington's defensive line coach

ASHBURN, Va. — Washington turned to internal candidates to fill two critical vacancies, promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator and Greg Manusky to defensive coordinator.

Cavanaugh was the team's quarterbacks coach and Manusky its outside linebackers coach last season. Washington announced the promotions Monday along with the hires of Kevin O'Connell as quarterbacks coach and Jim Tomsula as defensive line coach.

It has been an offseason of upheaval for the coaching staff after Washington fired defensive coordinator Joe Barry and a few assistants and offensive coordinator Sean McVay left to become head coach of the Los Angeles Rams.

In its efforts to replace Barry after ranking 28th defensively in consecutive seasons, Washington interviewed former Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley, former Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine and former Buffalo Bills assistant Rob Ryan before opting for Manusky. The 50-year-old Manusky has been defensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers and 49ers and worked with Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan in San Francisco.

Known for his fiery personality and booming voice on the practice fields, Manusky had only been on coach Jay Gruden's staff for one season as outside linebackers coach. Middle linebacker Will Compton tweeted: "Congrats to Coach Manusky!" when players were informed of his promotion.

Cavanaugh was Washington's quarterbacks coach for the past two years as Kirk Cousins twice set the franchise record for passing yards in a season. Cousins' status for 2017 remains in doubt after playing last season on the franchise tag, but with McVay gone he'll have a familiar face as his offensive coordinator.

After 13 NFL seasons as a backup quarterback, the 60-year-old Cavanaugh was offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears from 1997-98 and Baltimore Ravens from 1999-2004. O'Connell, Washington's new quarterbacks coach, was an assistant in San Francisco under Chip Kelly last season.

Tomsula, who replaces Robb Akey as defensive line coach, also most recently worked with the 49ers as their head coach in 2015.

Spring training to be slightly shortened starting in 2018

Spring training to be slightly shortened starting in 2018

NEW YORK -- For everyone who thinks spring training is too long, help is on the way - a little, anyway.

Spring training will be shortened by two days starting in 2018, when new restrictions in Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement take effect on game times for regular-season getaway days.

The voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers and injured players will be 43 days before the major league opener instead of 45, according to a copy of the agreement obtained by The Associated Press. For other players, the date will be 38 days ahead instead of 40.

The change was tied to spreading each team's 162 regular-season games over 187 days, up from 183.

Players' association Assistant General Counsel Matt Nussbaum said the union's goal was to create more days off during the season "in a way that doesn't just chew up offseason days."

"We have heard for years and I'm sure we will continue to hear that spring training is too long, that guys are really ready to go well before opening day, but I think what the commissioner's office would tell you is that there are big challenges for the clubs in substantially shortening spring training because they have various commitments to put on a certain number of games," he said Monday.

Late arrival times ahead of regular-season series openers also were addressed.

Starting in 2018, the latest possible start time on getaway days when either team is traveling to a game in another city the next day or a home off day will be calculated by subtracting the time of the flight over 2½ hours from 7 p.m.

There are cutouts for Sunday night games broadcast by ESPN and games after June 1 at Texas' current home ballpark - where the Rangers avoid afternoons for much of the season because of the heat.

Another new rule for 2018 says no game in the original schedule may be set for before 5 p.m. when a team played the previous night in another city starting 7 p.m. or later. There are exceptions involving flights of 90 minutes or less for home openers and holiday weekends. Current cutouts are carried over for up to six exceptions each season at Chicago's Wrigley Field and rescheduled games involving flights of 90 minutes or less.

"We fully recognize that our players play a very demanding schedule, and we're always looking for ways to ease the burden on players while at the same time scheduling games at a convenient time for our fans to watch them," MLB Chief Legal Officer Dan Halem said.

Sunday night games on holiday weekends followed by afternoon games still seem likely to occur.

"We have contracts with various national broadcast partners that limit our ability to schedule day games in certain instances," Halem said.

Nussbaum said if the players had their way, there would be "a flat rule that says all getaway games are day games" but understand why that would cause difficulty for teams.

"There's still going to be some challenges in the schedule," he said, "but we think what we've done with these two prongs is pare back the most egregious of the travel."

As part of the agreement, one game in the major leagues may be scheduled each year on the Thursday after the All-Star Game starting in 2018.