Anderson pitches through pain in postseason win


Anderson pitches through pain in postseason win


OAKLAND -- After making six innings of shutout ball look easy, Brett Anderson admitted that his right oblique was still hurting him during the game. That news may come as surprise to the Tigers hitters who stepped into the batter's box against him. Anderson allowed just two hits and struck out six batters in a win-or-go-home game. A mere 20 days ago the young lefty strained his right oblique and was thought to be lost for the season.
PRATT'S INSTANT REPLAY: A's stave off elimination
Anderson, 24, hit 93-MPH on the radar gun and had command of his biting slider. He battled through the pain to win his first postseason start and keep the A's alive in the American League Division Series."It was just kind of dull and annoying," Anderson said of his right oblique. "It wasn't like I'd throw one pitch and it would throb or pull. It was just kind of there. You have to deal with it and go out and compete."Anderson fired off 80 pitches, 45 of which were strikes. He may have been fighting through some pain but he really settled into a groove late in the game as he retired nine of the last 10 hitters he faced. After he completed the top of the sixth by striking out Miguel Cabrera, much to the delight of the sold-out crowd, A's manager Melvin broke the news that he was done for the night."There was a long discussion with him because he wasn't aware there was a pitch count with him," Melvin said. "Earlier in the game I don't think he felt as good as he did later in the game. But 19,20 days off, we weren't looking for any more than that." Anderson did his best to plead his case. He wanted to stay in the game but trusted his manager's decision. "I told him I could go," Anderson said. "Not knowing how today was going to play out, 80 pitches was enough and I had confidence in our bullpen and they did the job." "Annoying" pain aside, Anderson said his start in Game Three against the Tigers was the most fun he has ever had on the mound. He plans to show up on Wednesday and do his treatment like normal in hopes of getting prepared to make another start. He credited the raucous Oakland Coliseum crowd for helping make his first postseason start memorable. Anderson induced 10 ground ball outs and only one fly out. That one ball that was hit in the air was a rocket off the bat of Prince Fielder to leadoff the second inning, that center fielder Coco Crisp made a highlight reel catch on to keep it inside the park. "You don't ever expect a guy to rob a home run for you," Anderson said. "When he hit it I was hoping it wasn't going to leave the yard, at that point for a double. Then I see him fly through the air and make the catch."
RATTO: Coco Crisp -- From goat to hero
The catch by Crisp was as soothing as a liberal smattering of icy hot. The defense made several nice plays behind Anderson including a double play to end the third. He did himself several favors as well. He struck out Austin Jackson and Omar Infante swinging in seven total pitches to start the game, and got Cabrera on one pitch to end the first."You don't really know how the game is going to go until you end up there on the mound," Anderson said. "I was fairly sharp the first two hitters and got some strikeouts and kind of set the tone a little bit."After working through the nerves, he was able to focus on Detroit's hitters. Battling with the Tigers lineup ended up being a welcome distraction. "You aren't worried about your oblique when you are facing a Triple Crown Winner or Prince Fielder or whoever is in their lineup," Anderson said. The A's will have to hope Anderson's effort brings them some momentum. They won't be able to get him back out on the mound unless they win their next two games and survive elimination at the hands of the Tigers.

A's lineup: Joyce jumps to No. 2 against right-hander Nolasco

A's lineup: Joyce jumps to No. 2 against right-hander Nolasco

With the A's going up against the right-handed Ricky Nolasco Thursday night in LA, manager Bob Melvin is pushing his lefties up in the order.

Oakland A's (10-11)

1. Jaff Decker (L) CF
2. Matt Joyce (L) RF
3. Jed Lowrie (S) 2B
4. Khris Davis (R) LF
5. Yonder Alonso (L) 1B
6. Ryon Healy (R) 3B
7. Trevor Plouffe (R) DH
8. Josh Phegley (R) C
9. Adam Rosales (R) SS
Kendall Graveman -- RHP

Los Angeles Angels (11-12)

1. Yunel Escobar (R) 3B
2. Kole Calhoun (L) RF
3. Mike Trout (R) CF
4. Albert Pujols (R) DH
5. C.J. Cron (R) 1B
6. Andrelton Simmons (R) SS
7. Ben Revere (L) LF
8. Cliff Pennington (S) 2B
9. Juan Graterol (R) C
Ricky Nolasco -- RHP

Alonso strikes a chord with fascinating account of Cuba defection

Alonso strikes a chord with fascinating account of Cuba defection

ANAHEIM — As Yonder Alonso was preparing for the 2017 season last winter, he was tackling another challenge too.

Over the course of three months, the A’s first baseman gathered his thoughts and pieced together a fascinating first-person account for The Players’ Tribune about his childhood experience defecting from Cuba with his parents and younger sister.

Alonso framed the article as him penning a letter to his 8-year-old self, describing the grueling struggle he and his family would go through while reassuring his younger self that it would all be worth it when he finally made it as a major leaguer. Alonso describes in vivid detail the hardships he went through, caring for his sister, Yainee, at night as they dined on meals of microwaved hot dogs and microwaved eggs, while his parents were away from home working multiple jobs to support their family.

Alonso goes on to describe how he would return from college baseball road trips, while he was attending the University of Miami, and immediately head to a night job to help his father clean warehouses and scrub bathrooms.

The story struck a chord within the A’s clubhouse but also among so many people from the Miami area, where Alonso’s family settled after they defected. Alonso said he’s received text messages from many of them.

“I think everybody in this locker room, or any locker room, they definitely have a story to tell,” Alonso said. “And I think it’s awesome when you see a guy just kind of open up a little bit. I’m (usually) not one to open up.”

Athletes are used to reporters peppering them with questions and trying to draw stories out of them. Seldom do athletes take to penning their own story.

Representatives from The Players’ Tribune, an online publication started by Derek Jeter in 2014, reached out to Alonso in early December about writing something. Alonso had a trip planned to Cuba for later that month, before any request for an article came, and his return visit to his native country helped persuade him to go through with it.

“I saw a lot of people,” he said. “For me it was very touching. For my wife as well.”

Alonso met with an editor from The Players’ Tribune during spring training, and they began hashing out ideas. Alonso said he wrote the story himself with assistance from the editor.

“We had ideas, different ways of going about it,” he said. “I think from day one I knew the way I wanted to write it and how I wanted it to come out, which is a letter to my younger self.”

Even after finishing the project three weeks ago, Alonso said he wasn’t sure he wanted to share it publicly. He showed the article to some friends and teammates, including A’s reliever Sean Doolittle and outfielder Matt Joyce. After reading the piece, Joyce strongly persuaded Alonso to carry through with it.

“I told him it was awesome,” Joyce said. “From my perspective, you don’t really get a good sense of what those guys go through, coming over to the States. You just see them later. So to kind of read it in his own words, it was a really cool perspective and a good story to see what a kid across the water, from a different country, goes through to get to this point. I think it’s a very powerful story and message.”

Alonso said his motivation was simple.

“Just letting my family know, and people in this world know, that if you want to strive for something, it can be tough at times. But there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.”