SACRAMENTO -- Where is Grant Green? Why isn't he in Oakland? The A's should call up Grant Green to play insert position here.It seems around 90 percent of the questions asked during our chats, or on Twitter are centered around Green. Every time a player falls into a slump, or makes an error, the solution on the internet is simple: Call up Grant Green.Why not Green? Well, first off, he is a career shortstop that doesn't have a position yet. Last year he was moved to the outfield to remedy that problem. This year he has started 75 games in the outfield, 19 at second base, 17 at shortstop, and nine at third base.So what exactly is the plan for Green?"Right now position-wise to get as comfortable at second as possible," Green said. "Get used to that turn, and get used to the read off the bat. And when I do make a read, to go 100 percent at it."Even though Green has seen playing time at five different positions, he's remained consistent at the plate. Green leads the River Cats with 16 multi-RBI games and is batting .294 with 13 homers and 67 RBIs. He is hitting .291 against lefties and .296 against righties -- consistent."He's doing a great job," River Cats manager Darren Bush said. "We're throwing a ton at him and he is handling it all."It's just that pesky defense thing that is the problem. Since Green was a shortstop pretty much his entire life, he is generally more comfortable on the left side of the field. Therefore, second base is a big adjustment. So how do they remedy that?"Just throw him over there," Bush said with a laugh. "He had to learn to protect himself around the bag and move around the bag."Bush says the transition has been made easier because it hasn't just been the coaching staff working with him. Green's teammates have been very vocal in helping him learn as well -- specifically Brandon Hicks, Adam Rosales, and Wes Timmons, all players who have experience playing on both sides of the infield. The instruction has been working."He looks comfortable all over the field," Bush says. "He's looking more and more confident at second base."The versatility is important because it might be the main reason he does finally get called up. With rosters expanding on September 1 he is a solid candidate to join the A's soon."It opens up a lot of doors," Green said. "A lot of options that may be able to help me down the line."Green is currently on an eight-game hitting streak. The organization believes he is ready offensively. He is working hard to make sure they trust that he can handle all of the other facets of the game."They believe that my bat is a good weapon," Green said. "Just trying to get everything else better. Whether it's the base running, or the defense. Just get those things fine tuned and hopefully we'll go from there."Focusing on second base might be a little more complicated with Jemile Weeks joining the River Cats. How the organization plans on splitting time with Weeks and Green at second remains to be seen.
MESA, Ariz. — An unexpected opportunity came Daniel Gossett’s way Sunday, and the young right-hander took it in stride.
When the A’s adjusted their starting rotation, Kendall Graveman got bumped to Monday and Gossett learned he’d be taking the ball to start Sunday’s Cactus League home opener against the Los Angeles Angels.
“I’m here for what they need me for,” Gossett said. “So anything they need, gimme the ball.”
He spun two scoreless innings in a game Oakland lost 5-3 at Hohokam Stadium. A nice first impression for Gossett, indeed, but the truth is A’s officials were already quite familiar with him.
A second-round pick out of Clemson in 2014, Gossett impressed at three levels of the farm system in 2016, beginning the year with Single-A Stockton and finishing it with Triple-A Nashville.
This is his first big league camp, and manager Bob Melvin even mentioned Gossett as being part of the fifth starter conversation.
“He impressed everybody in the organization last year, so when talking about that fifth spot, who knows?” Melvin said before the game.
The only blemishes on Gossett’s day were the pair of walks he issued. After walking Jefrey Marte to lead off the second, he got a lift from his catcher, as Josh Phegley fired a strike to second to nail Marte trying to steal.
“A pitcher’s best friend, I guess,” Gossett said. He went 10-6 with a 2.69 ERA across 27 starts at all three levels of the minors last year, and his 151 strikeouts led the A’s farm system. Gossett’s fastball ranges anywhere from 90-95 on the gun. He throws a changeup that gets the most swings and misses, plus a slider and curve.
Grady Fuson, an A’s special assistant to the general manager, liked the adjustments he saw with Gossett over the course of last season.
“He’s a super kid, a grinder,” Fuson said over the winter. “He’s a guy that hadn’t struck many guys out and had been very hittable in the strike zone. (In 2016), he started executing to different parts of the zone that limits the hard contact.”
CAMP BATTLE: Alejandro De Aza sparked the A’s first rally in the third Sunday with a triple, then scored on Mark Canha’s double. With Jake Smolinski sidelined currently by a shoulder issue, it’s a good time for De Aza, a non-roster invitee to camp, to make his mark. The door could be open for him to make a push to make the roster as a fifth outfielder.
“He’s an interesting guy,” Melvin said of the nine-year veteran. “He knows how to play the game, he can play all three outfield spots. We’ve seen him before when he’s given us trouble, too, with the White Sox.”
Another contender for a reserve outfield spot is Jaycob Brugman, who has yet to crack the majors but is already on the 40-man roster. He singled home a run in the seventh. Like De Aza and Smolinski, Brugman can play center field, and it stands to reason the A’s will want to carry someone who can back up Rajai Davis at that position.
NOTEWORTHY: Phegley admitted to some butterflies before getting behind the plate for his first game since July, when a right knee injury wiped out the rest of his season.
But he looked good springing up to nail Marte on the second-inning steal attempt. The A’s are counting on Phegley returning to his role as the right-handed hitting platoon partner with Stephen Vogt behind the plate.
STOCK RISING: Melvin was impressed, and entertained, by the first look he got at reliever Simon Castro on Saturday against the Chicago Cubs. Castro retired Kris Bryant to strand a runner at third, the only hitter he faced. But it was what happened before the at-bat that caught Melvin’s attention.
“When he came to the mound he was pretty vocal,” Melvin noted. “He was fired up, telling the guys ‘Let’s go!’ I haven’t heard that too many times out of pitchers, let alone in spring training. So he impressed me with his eagerness to pitch.”
FAMILIAR FACES: Campy Campaneris and Blue Moon Odom each threw out ceremonial first pitches before Sunday’s exhibition home opener, which drew a smallish crowd of 4,072.
Update: Axford finished the night correctly predicting 19 of 24 Oscars this year.
A's reliever John Axford is not your casual movie fan.
Axford majored in Film at Notre Dame and has a proven track record when it comes to the biggest night for movies.
The last two years, Axford correctly predicted 17 of 24 winners for the Academy Awards. In 2014, Axford went a perfect 18-of-18 with his predictions.
On Saturday, Axford offered 24 predictions for the 2017 Oscars.
Axford is a clear believer in La La Land, choosing the film for eights Oscars, after winning a record-breaking seven Golden Globes.
Will he go a perfect 24-for-24 this year?
My 2017 Oscar picks! pic.twitter.com/TanlzxJ6jw— John Axford (@JohnAxford) February 25, 2017