Beane 'couldn't find a reason not' to sign Manny


Beane 'couldn't find a reason not' to sign Manny

Billy Beane spoke with reporters from the A's spring training facility Tuesday, for the first time publicly addressing his team's acquisition of veteran slugger Manny Ramirez. Among the jokes, the A's GM offered the following insights:

"There was need, and we really couldn't find a reason not to. It's low-risk, high-reward. We've got some time to evaluate him, evaluate the situation with some of the younger guys. There's little to no commitment. It would be foolish not to."

"When you take in health and recent production -- albeit Manny didn't play last year -- we thought he has the chance of being the most productive. And he has a pretty good health track record given the amount of time he's played."
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"It was a 'We need a fourth hitter who can hit' move. What we need is someone with some presence in the middle, someone who's hit there before. I think we have some guys who surround that spot, but don't know if someone has presence to fill the No. 4 slot. I think there's something to be said for that."

RATTO: Beane hopes Manny will become 'restaurant-ready'

"From the first conversation I had with his representative, he made it clear money was not an issue, and he wanted to play and make sure he went out the right way. From everything I've heard about Manny, he loves to play. He loves to hit. A lot of guys who play that long, that's the reason. It's obvious by the contract that we negotiated with him."

RATTO: Beane adding Manny a perfectly A's solution

"We took a lot of opinions in. We tried to make sure it was first-hand opinions as opposed to what people had heard. Everyone who had first-hand experience came back and said it was very positive."

A's Gray won't pitch in WBC due to insurance company issue

A's Gray won't pitch in WBC due to insurance company issue

MESA, Ariz. — Sonny Gray won’t be an option for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, after the tournament’s insurance carrier declined to cover the A’s right-hander for the tournament.

Gray feels great physically now, stressed Oakland general manager David Forst, but last season Gray spent more than 60 days on the disabled list for trapezius and forearm issues, and he also finished August on the D.L. Both of those criteria landed him on the “chronic condition player” list that keeps players out of the WBC.

Astros catcher Russell Martin was denied eligibility for the WBC based on similar criteria.

As it was, Gray was only scheduled to join Team USA for the second round if the Americans made it that far.

“I know Sonny’s bummed, he wanted to pitch,” Forst said. “Again, we were excited to let him do that.”

‘It’s an unfortunate thing, but at the same time it allows me to slow down here and get myself as ready as I can for the beginning of the season,” Gray said. “I know it didn't work out but to have that opportunity to be asked to play is humbling and something that maybe in future can work out.”

MLB pushed for an exception to let Gray pitch, according to Forst, but it wasn’t granted by the insurance company.

“Nobody can play in the tournament if you’re not covered by the insurance carrier,” Forst said.

With Gray now out of the WBC for certain, the A’s pushed his first exhibition start back from Monday to Wednesday since there’s less urgency to have him ready for possible WBC duty. That had a ripple effect on Oakland’s rotation.

Daniel Gossett will now start Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels. Kendall Graveman, originally set to pitch Sunday, now goes Monday against the Giants. All indications are Jharel Cotton and Andrew Triggs remain in line to both pitch Tuesday.

It’s an unusual turn of events, but the upshot is that three of the five players from the A’s 40-man roster scheduled to participate in the WBC ultimately will not. Left fielder Khris Davis (Mexico) and reliever Liam Hendriks (Australia) voluntarily withdrew. Reliever John Axford is pitching for Canada and fellow reliever Santiago Casilla is still scheduled to pitch for the Dominican Republic, though the longer Casilla remains out of camp while his visa process plays out in his home country, the more it would seem to possibly put his WBC status in jeopardy.

“At some point it may become an issue, but it’s not yet,” Forst said.


Hahn hit with tough luck, A's lose 2017 spring training opener

Hahn hit with tough luck, A's lose 2017 spring training opener


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.