Anderson turns focus from arm health to pitch health

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Anderson turns focus from arm health to pitch health

OAKLAND -- Brett Anderson pitched so well on Tuesday that his teammates gave him a commemorative baseball as a reward. OK, that may be an overstatement, the ball was given to him as a joke, honoring his first strikeout in a professional game since June 5. It's still a big achievement, and one he was proud to point out. "I finally struck somebody out," Anderson said. "They kind of made a joke, gave me a ball, it says congrats first K since June 5, 422 days."The ball says "woo hoo" and displays other sarcastic phrases. Anyone that follows Anderson on Twitter knows a gesture of that sort is right up his alley. On a more serious note, Anderson threw 73 pitches and felt like he made significant progress. The left-handed pitcher lasted four innings, allowing four hits and two runs. The results aren't as important as how he feels though -- and he feels good. "It's always better to worry about what my pitches are doing and how your stuff is, rather than is my elbow going to feel bad today," he said. "It's always a good thing."Anderson had Tommy John surgery on July 14, 2011. He is finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Next, he will start Sunday in Sacramento, and that is all he knows for sure. After a year of doctor visits, rehabilitation, and poking and prodding from various trainers, he is happy to be back on a more typical routine. "You feel like a normal pitcher," Anderson said. "You're back on your five days and you're getting on a routine. I'm not really worried what my arm is doing I'm worried what my pitches are doing."The A's say they'd like to see Anderson work his way up to around 100 pitches in game action before they'd consider bringing him back. That could happen in his next two starts. He could soon be joining a rotation that is already leading the American League in ERA. "I keep joking around that I don't know what's going to happen because there are so many guys pitching well in front of me," Anderson said. "Especially with (Brandon) McCarthy coming back, it's sort of an embarrassment of riches."The A's haven't entertained the idea of a six-man rotation, but Anderson said he wouldn't be opposed to it. The team will have some good, but tough decisions to make soon, McCarthy could be ready to join the rotation as soon as next week, and Anderson is right behind him. NOTES- Brandon McCarthy will throw a bullpen on Thursday, and will pitch Saturday for the Triple-A River Cats. - Coco Crisp made significant progress Wednesday as he recovers from a hamstring injury. Expect him back soon. - Cliff Pennington had a good day, he will take batting practice on the field Thursday and likely begin a rehab assignment with Sacramento on Friday. - Dallas Braden played catch on Wednesday for the first time after suffering from a groin strain.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's loss despite five home runs

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's loss despite five home runs

BOX SCORE

Hit five home runs, and a team has to like its chances of winning.

The A’s simply couldn’t keep up with the Houston Astros’ bats, however, in an 11-8 loss Wednesday night that snapped Oakland’s four-game winning streak. Khris Davis went deep twice, and Ryon Healy, Jed Lowrie and Matt Olson all went deep as the A’s set their season high for home runs.

But Houston racked up 17 hits against Jesse Hahn (3-6) and four relievers and evened this three-game series at a game apiece. It was the second time Hahn has gotten knocked around by Houston inside of a week.

The A’s took an early lead, 5-4, in the third on the second of Davis’ two homers, part of a four-run rally for Oakland. But the Astros answered right back with five runs in the bottom half, and the A’s never recovered from that momentum swing.

Hahn’s struggles continue: Hahn was trying to rebound after the Astros hung nine earned runs on him last Thursday at the Coliseum. Things didn’t improve Wednesday at Minute Maid Park, as the right-hander lasted just two-plus innings and allowed six runs on nine hits. Is this a case of one team simply having Hahn’s number or do the A’s make a move and try someone else in the rotation? It bears watching.

Krush Davis x 2: It was apparent early this would be a slugfest, with Khris Davis homering twice within the first three innings as the A’s tried to keep pace. He led off the second with a shot to left field, then came back with a three-run blast to left in the third that put Oakland up 5-4. The homers were his team-leading 20th and 21st.

Reddick-ulous night: Josh Reddick filled up the stat sheet against his old team in every way imaginable. He went 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs, and twice caught the A’s by surprise by stealing third base. For good measure, he turned in an excellent running catch in right field to rob Yonder Alonso.

Strange offensive night: What to make of this night offensively for the A’s? They hit a season-high five homers but also struck out a whopping 17 times. No matter … you can’t hang this one on the offense, because …

The pitching staff just couldn’t hold things down: Josh Smith was called upon to hold down the fort after Hahn departed in the third, but Smith was tagged for three runs on four hits. Daniel Coulombe and John Axford also got touched for runs. Rookie Michael Brady did turn in 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

A's lineup: In rare move, Melvin makes no changes vs Astros

A's lineup: In rare move, Melvin makes no changes vs Astros

PROGRAMMING NOTE: A's-Astros coverage begins at 4pm with Pregame Live on NBC Sports California and streaming right here.

After winning their fourth straight game on Tuesday, the A's are trotting out the same lineup Wednesday against the Astros.

Oakland A's:
1. Matt Joyce (L) LF
2. Matt Olson (L) RF
3. Jed Lowrie (S) 2B
4. Khris Davis (R) DH
5. Yonder Alonso (L) 1B
6. Ryon Healy (R) 3B
7. Bruce Maxwell (L) C
8. Franklin Barreto (R) SS
9. Jaycob Brugman (L) CF
Jesse Hahn -- RHP

Houston Astros:
1. George Springer (R) CF
2. Josh Reddick (L) RF
3. Jose Altuve (R) 2B
4. Carlos Correa (R) SS
5. Brian McCann (L) C
6. Carlos Beltran (S) DH
7. Marwin Gonzalez (S) 3B
8. Yuli Gurriel (R) 1B
9. Norichika Aoki (L) LF
David Paulino -- RHP