OAKLAND -- The loud pop of a catcher's mitt echoed through the empty Coliseum. You hear that sound daily out here, but this noise was particularly noticeable because of who was throwing the ball. As Brett Anderson warmed up in the bullpen, the sound emanating from the catcher's mitt grew louder and louder. Anderson, who underwent "Tommy John" surgery on July 14, 2011, walked from the bullpen to the pitcher's mound. Outfielder Collin Cowgill stepped to the plate, and the left-handed pitcher started throwing.Anderson faced live hitters for the first time since being temporarily shutdown on May 19. As he pitched to Cowgill, then Brandon Moss, and Chris Carter, he effectively cleared a major hurdle. "He threw 25 pitches, all of his pitches. Breaking balls, the whole bit," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He'll throw a bullpen here on Sunday and then the next step is to go to Arizona and do two innings."Anderson looked solid against Cowgill, and Hicks. Carter smashed a ball off the center field wall, and homer over the BBQ terrace in left field on Anderson's last pitch. Carter said after the session that he knew which pitches were coming, so he had an unfair advantage. "He looked good to me," Carter said. "I haven't seen too much of him, but to me he looked pretty healthy and almost ready." Anderson looks to be on track to re-join the A's rotation at some point this season. He could provide a spark for a young starting pitching staff that already leads the American League with a 3.64 ERA. Threw a live bp today...felt good. Carter hit a home run off me but it's ok because I told him what I was throwing. anyonecoulddoit Brett Anderson (@BrettAnderson49) July 7, 2012
At Mesa, Arizona, Matt Szczur keyed a three-run second inning for the World Series champions and Charcer Burks hit a solo homer in front of 14,929 fans.
Burks also had a diving catch in left field with two on and one out in the eighth inning.
Matt Joyce hit a solo home run in his first game with Oakland and Matt Chapman tied it 3-all with a two-run drive in the fourth. Rajai Davis, who hit a tying home run off Aroldis Chapman in the eighth inning of last year's World Series Game 7, opened the game for the Athletics with a walk, then stole second and third but was stranded when Stephen Vogt flied out.
A's starter Jesse Hahn allowed three runs, all in the second, including a two-run single by Szczur that deflected off the pitcher's glove.
MESA, Ariz. – The Cactus League crowds are different than the ones packed into Wrigley Field. It was only a meaningless split-squad game on a Saturday afternoon in the Arizona sunshine. Finally winning the World Series must have somewhat dulled the edge.
But Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward still thought Rajai Davis would hear it from the sellout crowd of 14,929 at Sloan Park, the what-could-have-been anxiety bubbling up when seeing the Oakland A's leadoff guy who nearly changed the course of baseball history.
"I was surprised he didn't get booed more, but that's just how our fans are," Heyward said. "They're fun like that. They have fun with the game. They acknowledge it. That's pretty cool for Cubs fans to boo you. If anybody boos you from last year, that's kind of an honor, I would say. To be on that side of things, it means you did something great."
As Alfonso Soriano liked to say, they don't boo nobodies. With one big swing, Davis almost unleashed a miserable winter for the Cubs and ended the Cleveland Indians' 68-year drought.
Manager Joe Maddon kept pushing closer Aroldis Chapman, who fired 97 pitches in Games 5, 6, and 7 combined. Davis timed seven straight fastballs in the eighth inning – the last one at 97.1 mph – and drove a Game 7-tying two-run homer just inside the foul pole and onto the left-field patio. In a now-famous rain-delay speech, Heyward gathered his teammates in a Progressive Field weight room as the Cubs regained their composure.
"They booed him, but only the first at-bat," Heyward said. "The second at-bat and the third, I was like: ‘Eh, they kind of just let him off the hook.' They let him be."
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