10-day rule has Straily's future in standby mode

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10-day rule has Straily's future in standby mode

SACRAMENTO -- Big league success may be on hold for pitcher Dan Straily but he's staying dialed in. Like most Minor Leaguers Straily worked incredibly hard to be a successful Major League-caliber player. It appeared he had finally achieved his dream after going 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA in his first three starts with the Oakland A's.For now though, he is stuck in the Minor Leagues. On Monday, Straily was optioned to Triple-A to make room on Oakland's active roster for Brett Anderson. Then on Wednesday, Bartolo Colon got suspended 50-games for violating MLB's performance-enhancing drugs policy. Straily would have been ready to take Colon's spot in the rotation but the A's couldn't call him up because of baseball's 10-day rule. He isn't eligible to return to Oakland until August 31."My agent talked to me about it and said it is one of those rules put in place to protect players," Straily said on Thursday. "Whatever happens it is out of our control."Straily leads all of professional baseball with 191 strikeouts. He started the year in Double-A. The 10-day scenario might be one of the least crazy turns of events in Straily's career after riding a wave of incredible success in 2012. As the obvious choice to return to the A's starting rotation after Colon's suspension, being highly coveted is new to Straily who was told he wasn't good enough to make it early in his collegiate career. "It's a crazy turn of events," Straily said. "You can always use other people's comments to motivate you. It happens to other people and it has been a motivator my whole life." Straily, 23, believes everything happens for a reason. He isn't sweating the details that are currently holding him back. Either way, he says he is happy to be pitching in a playoff run -- whether it be in Oakland with the A's, or Sacramento with the River Cats. No matter where he happens to be he isn't changing his approach on the mound. "I feel like you have to earn the right to belong," he said. "I feel like I've just got to keep working."Straily's most recent start came on Thursday in Sacramento. He only threw five innings and struggled a little with his fastball command. He was pitching on a full week's rest. Struggles aside, he only allowed one run on three hits. He was held to 82 pitches, a telling sign the A's organization believes he has much more important innings ahead of him."Just trying to keep his arm fresh for when the big league team calls," River Cats pitching coach Scott Emerson explained on Thursday after Straily's start. "To go out there and not have his best command and only give up one run to what I consider a pretty good hitting Triple-A team is a testament to him."Last year Straily threw 160 23 innings in the regular season for the Stockton Ports. He has thrown a total of 160 13 innings in 2012. "There's a lot of pitching left to be done," Straily said. "I just go out there whenever I'm handed the baseball and compete until they take it away from me." At this point the young righty is playing with house money. He may keep it simple and not sweat the small stuff off the mound, but his strong work ethic and character are second to none. "He's worked hard to achieve everything he's achieved," River Cats manager Darren Bush says. "It hasn't been something where all of a sudden something happens. It's a tribute to him, the pitching coaches in the organization, the pitching philosophy, he's just like a sponge.""It's one of the things you prepare for your whole professional career -- being in the big leagues," Straily said. "You have to remember that between the lines the game is the same." When the 10 days are up Straily will be ready for the call. He could be recalled even sooner if a player goes on the disabled list. Don't think Straily will be sitting by his phone waiting for it to ring. He'd rather spend time honing his game. "He's been on a wild a ride," Bush said. "He's a good guy, a good person with good character. To see those guys have success you've got to be very happy for them."

Faltering defense continues to be A's unwanted storyline

Faltering defense continues to be A's unwanted storyline

NEW YORK — A weekend that began with promise instead wound up feeling like another lost opportunity for the A’s.

Their defense once again paved the way to their undoing Sunday, and there were plenty of players willing to accept responsibility for a 9-5 loss to the Yankees in the rubber match of a three-game series in the Bronx.

When right fielder Matt Joyce had a catchable fly ball pop out of his glove for a third-inning error that loaded the bases, it seemed inevitable the mistake would come back to haunt the A’s.

On cue, one-time Oakland draft pick Aaron Judge drilled an opposite-field grand slam off Andrew Triggs to a turn a 2-1 A’s lead into a 5-2 deficit. Joyce said he couldn’t stomach to watch the replay of his missed catch afterward.

“It just hit my glove and I dropped it,” Joyce said. “Obviously that’s pretty tough to swallow for me in that situation. For me, I think that’s an easy play. It’s a little embarrassing. It’s obviously really frustrating, especially with what it led to.”

The A’s (22-27) chalked up two more errors, giving them a staggering 49 in 49 games played. When play began Sunday, they had at least 10 more errors than every other big league club. It’s no surprise, therefore, that they also lead the majors with 35 unearned runs, after five of the nine runs they surrendered Sunday were unearned.

That kind of bumbling play in the field is making it difficult for the A’s to maintain leads when they claim one, and tough to mount comebacks when they fall behind. In a factoid that helps explain why the A’s likely find themselves looking at another summer of selling off veterans, they have won just one of the eight road series they’ve played in 2017. Their 7-17 record away from Oakland is second worst in the American League.

The A’s took Friday’s series opener 4-1 but dropped the final two to the AL East leaders.

“I’ve said often, there’s a psychology to it too,” manager Bob Melvin said. “You feel like you have a chance to battle and come back and score some runs, and when your defense is poor, sometimes mentally it’s tough to overcome or get past it. We just have to keep working on it.”

Leading 5-2, New York added to its lead in the fourth with help from a Josh Phegley throwing error on Aaron Hicks’ stolen base. Hicks wound up on third and came home on Chris Carter’s sacrifice fly. The A’s pulled to within 7-5 on Khris Davis’ 15th homer which in the eighth, a two-run shot. But the Yankees answered right back with two more off reliever John Axford, who hurt his cause with two walks.

There were other mishaps that didn’t cost the A’s runs, like Davis making a poor throw to third that allowed a Yankee runner to advance an extra base, and third baseman Ryon Healy losing a foul pop up in the sun.

Regardless of the defensive issues, A’s starter Andrew Triggs wasn’t looking to hand off blame. Just one of the six runs he allowed was earned over his six innings. But Triggs still had a chance to preserve a 2-1 lead in the third if he could have retired Judge with two outs and the bases loaded. Instead he left a 2-1 sinker over the plate and Judge mashed it over the right field wall.

“In my mind it was either sinker away or sinker in, and I thought away was better,” Triggs said. “But you gotta execute the pitch and I didn’t.”

It was the first career grand slam for Judge, who was drafted in the 31st round out of high school by Oakland in 2010 but opted to attend Fresno State. The Yankees took him in the first round in 2013, and in clubbing his 16th homer Sunday (tying him with Mike Trout for the league lead), Judge continued building his strong early case for the Rookie of the Year award.

A's fall short of series win vs Yankees after Judge's grand slam

A's fall short of series win vs Yankees after Judge's grand slam

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge hit his first career grand slam and the New York Yankees took full advantage of Oakland's shoddy defense Sunday in a 9-5 victory over the Athletics.

Michael Pineda (6-2) tossed six innings of three-hit ball to win his third straight start. Aaron Hicks and Chris Carter each had an early sacrifice fly as the AL East leaders scored five unearned runs and took two of three in a well-pitched series.

Judge connected with two outs in the third for his 16th home run, tying Mike Trout of the Angels for the big league lead. The drive landed in the right-field seats, not far in front of The Judge's Chambers cheering section installed by the Yankees for the 6-foot-7 rookie at the start of this 4-2 homestand.

Khris Davis hit his 15th home run for the A's, who committed two more costly errors to raise their season total to 49. They began the day with 10 more than any other team in the majors.

The fielding failures put starter Andrew Triggs (5-4) in tough situations. He went six innings and gave up one earned run - but even that could have been prevented if not for a poor throw by the weak-armed Davis in left.

Gary Sanchez added an RBI double in the seventh that squirmed out of the glove of a diving Davis. Brett Gardner drove in two insurance runs with a pop-fly double in the eighth.

Adam Warren retired all four batters he faced for his first save since July 28, 2015.

The Yankees trailed 2-1 when Ronald Torreyes reached on a soft infield single leading off the third, and Sanchez singled with one out. Matt Joyce then dropped Matt Holliday's fly ball in the right-field corner for an error that loaded the bases.

After Starlin Castro struck out, Judge lined a fastball the other way to put New York ahead. Triggs had given up just three home runs in his first nine starts this year.

Hicks stole second in the fourth and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Josh Phegley. That set up Carter's sacrifice fly, which made it 6-2.

And while Triggs' defense was betraying him, New York's fielders gave Pineda a big boost when he needed it.

With nobody out in the second, Ryon Healy was thrown out by Gardner trying to stretch a two-run single to left field. Torreyes followed with a diving play at third base.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: 1B Yonder Alonso was back in the lineup after missing three games with a sore right wrist. ... CF Rajai Davis was rested in favor of Mark Canha, who batted leadoff for the first time in his major league career. ... One-time closer Sean Doolittle, on the DL since April 30 with a strained left shoulder, threw 20 pitches Saturday and felt good, according to manager Bob Melvin. "So we'll figure out the next step here in the next day or so," Melvin said. ... Oakland plans to put RHP Kendall Graveman (shoulder) on the 10-day disabled list Monday and recall RHP Daniel Mengden from Triple-A Nashville to make his first big league start of the season in Cleveland.

Yankees: Slumping 3B Chase Headley was given a second consecutive day off to work on his swing. He'll return to the lineup Monday, manager Joe Girardi said. ... All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman (shoulder) was scheduled to throw for the second straight day before a day off in his program Monday.

UP NEXT

Athletics: The 24-year-old Mengden began the season on the disabled list following surgery on his right foot. He was activated May 20 and optioned to Triple-A Nashville. Including his rehab assignment, Mengden is 2-1 with a 2.21 ERA in four Triple-A starts this year. He reached the majors for the first time last season and went 2-9 with a 6.50 ERA in 14 starts for Oakland. RHP Carlos Carrasco (4-2, 2.93) pitches for the AL champion Indians.

Yankees: Begin a seven-game road trip Monday afternoon in Baltimore, with rookie LHP Jordan Montgomery (2-3, 4.30 ERA) on the mound against Orioles RHP Dylan Bundy (5-3, 2.92).