April 29, 2011BOXSCORE A'SVIDEOMLBPAGE MLBSCOREBOARD
OAKLAND (AP) Sleep-deprived first-time father Kurt Suzuki didn't realize how tired he truly was until hitting a wall in the fifth inning.He had already done plenty in his first game since welcoming newborn daughter, Malia."It was good to be back out here. It had been a long couple days," Suzuki said. "I was running on Adrenalin."Suzuki came off the paternity leave list and delivered a go-ahead RBI single to help Trevor Cahill stay unbeaten and the Oakland Athletics topped the Texas Rangers 3-1 on Friday night.Cahill (4-0) overcame a three-walk first inning to pitch seven scoreless innings against the rival Rangers, who kicked off a seven-game West Coast road trip all against the division with a punchless performance to lose for the fourth time in five games. Texas fell into a first-place tie with the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West.Grant Balfour pitched the eighth and Brian Fuentes finished for his seventh save in nine chances after allowing Michael Young's two-out RBI single."We had runners out there and we just needed a base hit at the right time," said Rangers manager Ron Washington, who lost on his 59th birthday. "It would have been the difference in the ballgame. We didn't get it. Even against Trevor we had bases loaded, runners on second and third and just didn't get a hit off him at the right time."Cahill outdueled C.J. Wilson (3-1) and quickly found his rhythm after escaping his 26-pitch first inning unscathed. Cahill, who on April 11 received a new five-year contract worth 30.5 million, issued three free passes in an inning for the fifth time in his career but the first since July 17, 2009, against the Angels during his rookie season."Walking three guys in the first inning put things in perspective: 'I've got to throw strikes,'" Cahill said. "I just started pounding the zone a little bit more."Cahill had walked only eight batters total in his first five starts this season before the four total walks Friday. The right-hander allowed seven hits and also struck out four while improving to 7-2 for his career against Texas.Mitch Moreland, Young and Elvis Andrus each had two hits for Texas, which has gained or lost ground in the division race each of the last 14 days after holding a two-game lead for three straight days from April 13-15.Suzuki did some early catching work in the bullpen to get back in a groove but he started at designated hitter. Manager Bob Geren said Suzuki would be back behind the plate Saturday. His two-out RBI single in the third put the A's ahead, then Josh Willingham added an RBI double in the fifth. Suzuki also grounded into a fielder's choice in the seventh as Oakland's third run against Wilson came home.Suzuki left Anaheim on Wednesday to return to the Bay Area, where his wife, Renee, gave birth to the couple's first child Thursday morning. Malia weighed in at 8 pounds, 3 ounces."It's an exciting time in anybody's life," Geren said. "He was all smiles today. He was looking forward to coming back to work."Regular A's DH Hideki Matsui had the night off against a lefty starter but was slated to start Saturday.Oakland played its first game back home since the venue was named the Overstock.com Coliseum this week."I still call it the Coliseum," quipped Washington, a longtime A's third base coach before taking the Texas job.Texas clinched the club's first AL West title since 1999 at the Coliseum last Sept. 25 and went on to reach the franchise's first World Series before losing to the San Francisco Giants in five games.A's center fielder Coco Crisp missed his second straight game with tightness in his left quadriceps, but tested the injury before the game. He could be back Saturday. Left fielder Willingham returned to the lineup after missing Wednesday's series finale against the Angels with a tweaked back.Former Rangers pitchers Rich Harden and Brandon McCarthy received their AL champion rings - featuring 137 diamonds - from Texas director of baseball operations Matt Vinnola and media relations director John Blake outside the Oakland clubhouse before the game.Notes: Oakland pulled in a left-hander from nearby Alameda - the A's are calling him "Alameda Eddie" because they don't know his last name - just to throw batting practice before the A's opened the series in which they will face three lefty starters. Even longtime equipment manager Steve Vucinich didn't have additional details on the man, and he was also a mystery to manager Bob Geren. Word is he's Eddie Delzer, former Cal State Fullerton star. ... The Rangers signed veteran RHP reliever Justin Miller to a Triple-A contract and he is scheduled to join the Round Rock team Monday. The 33-year-old Miller could be called upon to help Texas' taxed and beat up bullpen. ... Injured A's closer Andrew Bailey (strained forearm) threw with a batter in the box with no problems. How he felt Saturday was to determine his next step. ... Warriors swingman Dorell Wright threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
NEW YORK -- Tyson Ross, an All-Star pitcher for San Diego two years ago, was among 35 players who became free agents when their teams declined to offer them 2017 contracts on Friday.
Washington outfielder Ben Revere and Philadelphia outfielder Cody Asche also were cut loose, along with Arizona catcher Welington Castillo and pitcher Rubby De La Rosa; Baltimore pitcher Vance Worley; and Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Louis Coleman.
Milwaukee first baseman Chris Carter and Pittsburgh pitcher Jeff Locke were non-tendered as well; their teams had already designated them for assignment earlier this week.
Teams cut players at the tender deadline to avoid committing to salary arbitration, in which about one-sixth of next season's salary is guaranteed.
Ross, a 29-year-old right-hander, was 13-14 with a 2.81 ERA in 2014 and 10-12 with a 3.26 ERA the following season. He was limited to one major league appearance this year and had surgery in October for thoracic outlet syndrome. Recovery time was expected to be four to six months, and the Padres deemed him too pricy for arbitration after he earned $9,625,000 this year.
Asche, 26, was designated for assignment earlier Friday to clear a roster spot for left-hander David Rollins, claimed off waivers from Texas. Asche hit .240 with 31 homers and 125 RBIs for the Phillies during 371 games in the past four seasons and would have been eligible for arbitration for the first time.
The 28-year-old Revere was acquired from Toronto in January for reliever Drew Storen but strained his right oblique in his first at-bat of the season, left after four innings and went on the disabled list. Revere returned May 6, hit just .217 with two homers and 24 RBIs in 103 games and would have been on track for a raise from his $6.25 million salary.
Castillo batted .264 with 14 homers and 68 RBIs and would have gotten a big raise from his $3.7 million salary.
The one that got away.
There have been plenty of faces that have come and gone over the last decade of futility in Sacramento. But rarely has there been a player that has gone on to become something more than just a standard role player in the NBA.
Isaiah Thomas is the exception.
Selected with the 60th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Thomas went from zero to hero in the strike shortened 2011-12 season with Sacramento. And that was just the tip of the iceberg.
In three seasons with the Kings, the generously listed 5-foot-9 Thomas became known as “The Pizza Guy” in Sacramento due to his commercials for a local pizza restaurant and his ability to deliver in the clutch. With a million-dollar smile and the presence of a man a foot taller, Thomas became the Kings’ most marketable player.
By his third season, he was much more than just a novelty item. Despite his size limitations, Thomas posted 20.3 points and 6.3 assists per game in his final season with the Kings, forming a nice trio with DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay under head coach Michael Malone.
During the summer of 2014, the Kings, under general manager Pete D’Alessandro, decided to go in a different direction. Sacramento’s regime valued Thomas around the $5 million per season range, although they may not have even gone that high to retain the high-scoring point guard.
When the Phoenix Suns came calling with a 3-year, $21 million deal offer for Thomas, D’Alessandro dealt the fan favorite for Alex Oriakhi (a second round pick that has never played a game of NBA action) and a trade exception.
The Kings went a different direction and basically received nothing for one of their best assets.
Rumors swirled afterwards about Thomas’ departure of discourse was between he and Cousins, but neither has ever substantiated the claims. In fact, both have denied that there was a rift.
“That’s all this league is, what people think they know - 99 percent of the time, they don’t know,” Cousins said. “That’s my guy. I’m extremely happy for him. I’m happy for all of the success he’s gotten so far.”
To take it a step further, Thomas has even lobbied to have the Kings star center join him with the Celtics.
“If he came to Boston, that would be good, really good,” Thomas told the Sporting News over the summer. “The thing is, I’ve got his respect. I’ve always had that."
“When I was with him, I didn’t back down,” Thomas added in his conversation with the Sporting News. “I’m a point guard and that was my job. No matter if we did or didn’t get along off the court, on that court we were going to get along, and I was going to hold him accountable. That’s just how it is. It’s how I’ve always been. And he respects me for doing that.”
Instead of paying slightly more for Thomas in 2014, Sacramento signed Darren Collison to a 3-year, $15 million deal that summer. The Suns already had two point guards in Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe and after 46 games, they dealt Thomas to the Celtics in a 3-team deal for Marcus Thornton and a future first round pick.
Through multiple conversations with management at the time, it was clear that Sacramento’s front office didn’t value Thomas as a starting point guard and they also didn’t believe that he would willingly accept a role as a six-man.
Their valuation of Thomas was wrong.
Fresh off his first All-Star game appearance and back-to-back playoff runs with the Boston Celtics, Thomas has taken his game to even greater heights this season under coach Brad Stevens.
Thomas came into Friday night’s showdown with his former team averaging 26.1 points and 6.3 assists. He ranks ninth in the league in scoring and has the Celtics in the mix for a third straight playoff run.
Sacramento made his life difficult, but the pint-sized point guard still managed to post 20 points and seven assists in the win over the Kings.
Thomas, 27, is a free agent at the end of the year and looking to cash in off his stellar numbers. Not only does he bring an ability to hit the big shot, but he’s a leader that has proven that he can take a team to the playoffs.
The move to let Thomas slip through the Kings’ fingers goes down as one of the all-time gaffs in team history. Watching him thrive in Boston is a painful reminder to fans in Sacramento and the fact that the Kings got nothing in return makes it that much worse.