A's assistant GM on Manny: 'We're open to it'


A's assistant GM on Manny: 'We're open to it'

OAKLAND (AP) The Oakland Athletics are open to signing slugger Manny Ramirez but the team is not actively pursuing the free agent.That was the message Sunday from assistant general manager David Forst, who talked during A's Fanfest held at the Oakland Arena, next door to the Coliseum. A's owner Lew Wolff had suggested the move last week."We're open to it," Forst said. "We do have other things going on and we do expect other additions between now and opening day. We have never been in a situation where we had too many good players."

Ramirez applied for reinstatement to Major League Baseball last month. He was suspended for 100 games last year but the ban was trimmed to 50 because he sat out nearly all of last season. The suspension would start with the first game he is eligible to play after signing with a club."I think it would be fun," Wolff said. "This should be viewed on the basis of talent. Once he's served the penalty he should be free to do what he wants. I don't know what kind of shape he's in, though I hear he's in great shape."Ramirez, who will be 40 on May 30, ranks 14th on the career list with 555 home runs. He was 1 for 17 (.059) in five games last season for Tampa Bay, which had signed him to a one-year deal worth 2.02 million. He retired from baseball rather than serve his longer suspension."I never actually met him," A's outfielder Josh Reddick said. "But to have a veteran hitter like Manny? That experience can only help us. We're a young team and I would look forward to a guy like that, a guy we can learn from."Reddick was in the Red Sox organization when Ramirez was traded from Boston to the Los Angeles Dodgers in July 2008. He made his major league debut with the Red Sox exactly one year later.Reddick said Ramirez left "an interesting" legacy behind.NOTES: Wolff also expressed some impatience with Major League Baseball's study committee about the A's planned move to a new stadium site in San Jose. "We should be in it now instead of waiting for it," he said. "It's hard to be patient when it has hurt us everywhere. The only site available to us based on our analysis is the downtown site in San Jose." ... Wolff joked that his grandson no longer speaks to him because of the trade that sent Gio Gonzalez, his favorite player, to the Washington Nationals. ... Forst also denied reports that signing Jonny Gomes doomed OF prospects Michael Taylor and Chris Carter to the minors. "That is not true," he said. "There is a fifth outfield spot and the DH spot. They have an opportunity to be on the 25-man roster." ... A's manager Bob Melvin said he sees Gomes, Reddick, Seth Smith and Coco Crisp as part of a rotation for the outfield and included Collin Cowgill as a possible candidate for the fifth spot. ... The Fanfest drew over 7,000 people.

A's coach plays part in Schwarber's World Series comeback

A's coach plays part in Schwarber's World Series comeback

Ryan Christenson has a reason to follow the World Series even more so than most years.

Christenson, who manages the A’s Double-A Midland squad, is also skippering the Mesa Solar Sox of the Arizona Fall League. One of his players happened to be Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber, if only for the briefest of periods.

Schwarber, as is well-documented, played in two AFL games as a quick tune-up before joining the Cubs’ active roster for the Fall Classic. It’s an unprecedented path, as Schwarber hadn’t appeared in a game for Chicago since April 7, when he tore the anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments in his left knee.

When he crushed a double off the right field wall in Game 1 against the Indians’ Corey Kluber, Schwarber became the first position player in major league history to get a hit in the World Series after recording zero hits during the regular season.

His preparations for the grand stage took place in the relative anonymity of the Arizona Fall League, and it presented some unique conditions for Christenson to manage under.

“It’s such a unique situation to see someone thrust into that after missing so much season,” Christenson said in a phone interview before Game 1. “To have a chance to be activated this time of year, it’s something special if he can pull this off. If he (sparks the Cubs), literally the guy can be a legend.”

Schwarber appeared in just two games for the Solar Sox, going 1-for-6 as a designated hitter. Christenson didn’t have much hands-on interaction with Schwarber — the Cubs had their own staff members on site helping him with treatment — but Christenson saw Schwarber’s swing rounding into form even in his brief time in the batter’s box.

“The bat speed is there,” said Christenson, who hadn’t met Schwarber previously. “I love watching him work in the cage. He’s got a great swing. I don’t think it would take someone of his caliber long to get his timing and pick up where he left off. It’s a simple swing.”

The Cubs asked Christenson to work Schwarber into the top of the batting order with the Solar Sox so as to maximize his number of plate appearances. They also asked one other favor.

“The only request they had was that I took it easy with him on the bases … not trying to score him from first base on a gapper.”

Schwarber’s mere presence in the Arizona Fall League created a delicate dynamic. The league is geared toward up-and-coming prospects who have yet to break into the majors, and Christenson said AFL officials were concerned about Schwarber dropping in and taking playing time away from those players.

Each major league organization sends at least six players to the AFL. Of those six, one is designated a “priority player,” meaning they must play at least four days a week, so innings can be tricky to spread around.

Adding to the sensitivity of the situation, the Solar Sox’s roster includes not only Cubs prospects but also those of the Cleveland Indians. Christenson needed to avoid a situation where Schwarber was stealing at-bats away from prospects of the American League champs — the team that Schwarber was training to try to help the Cubs beat.

But things unfolded smoothly, and Schwarber showed appreciation for getting the chance to drop in for a couple games.

“I’ll definitely be pulling for him,” Christenson said.

A's claim left-handed reliever off waivers from Cubs

A's claim left-handed reliever off waivers from Cubs

CLEVELAND — Left-hander Giovanni Soto has been claimed by the Oakland Athletics off waivers from the Chicago Cubs.

Soto was designated for assignment Saturday to open a spot on the 40-man roster for slugger Kyle Schwarber, who was activated from the 60-day disabled list following knee surgery in April. Schwarber was put on the World Series roster Tuesday and went 1 for 3 with a double, walk and two strikeouts in the opening 6-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians.

Soto was traded to the Cubs from Cleveland on April 11 and was 1-3 with a 5.14 ERA in 33 relief appearances for Triple-A Iowa. He made his big league debut with the Indians in 2015 and appeared in six games and 3 1/3 innings.

Oakland claimed him Wednesday.