Beane: A's won't add pitching to cover for Gray's injury

Beane: A's won't add pitching to cover for Gray's injury

MESA, Ariz. — As tough as it was for the A’s to lose Sonny Gray for the start of the season, the team has no plans right now to seek rotation help from outside the organization.

Billy Beane made that clear Friday afternoon, as Oakland’s top baseball official said he was confident in the internal depth to cover for Gray, who’s expected to miss the first month of the season with a strained lat muscle.

“We’re not currently looking that way,” Beane said during an informal media lunch. “I don’t think it’s necessarily a fertile market to be diving into right now anyway this time of year. I think we prefer to stay in-house and give maybe somebody an opportunity.

“Hopefully it’s temporary and short term.”

Kendall Graveman, Sean Manaea and Jharel Cotton will be the front three starters in Gray’s absence, with Jesse Hahn, Andrew Triggs and Raul Alcantara the top candidates for the last two spots, and young pitchers such as Daniel Gossett and Paul Blackburn providing insurance. Daniel Mengden, another young starter, broke his foot shortly before camp and is still in a walking boot.

Among other topics Beane touched on:

—He’s been as impressed as anyone with his top prospect, middle infielder Franklin Barreto, who’s having a terrific camp. But Beane reiterated that the A’s want Barreto to get a bit more minor league seasoning.

“He’s had a great camp, and you can see he’s a pretty talented guy,” Beane said. “But he only played a month at Triple-A last year. He probably needs some more drills at second base. he seems to be pretty comfortable over there right now. With Marcus at short, it’s probably his quickest path to the big leagues. … Once we get into the season, assuming he continues to improve and play the way he does, he’ll be putting pressure on us.”

Beane also noted that coaches rave about Barreto’s work ethic.

—Beane says he envisions Ryon Healy being a regular in the daily lineup, regardless of whether it’s at first base, DH or third base, referencing the “energy” that Healy brings to the club.

—The fact that Alcantara is out of minor league options will definitely be a consideration in choosing the final pitchers for the 25-man roster, but that factor won’t outweigh performance if someone is clearly pitching better, Beane said.

Alcantara took the ball for Friday’s start against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Report: A's bringing back former slugger first baseman

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Report: A's bringing back former slugger first baseman

The A's hit a lot of home runs and they appear to be bringing back a player that hits a lot of home runs.

Chris Carter, who played for the A's from 2010 through 2012, is reportedly signing a minor league contract to return to the organization.

News of the deal was first reported by FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman.

Carter was released by the Yankees on July 10. In 62 games for New York, Carter hit .201/.284/.370 with five doubles, eight home runs and 26 RBI.

Over the previous four seasons between Houston and Milwaukee, Carter hit 131 home runs and drove in 328 runs.

Carter's high-water mark with the A's came in 2012 when he hit 16 home runs in 67 games.

Sonny Gray keeps dealing, A's avoid sweep with win over Rays

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Sonny Gray keeps dealing, A's avoid sweep with win over Rays

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND — Sonny Gray struck out six pitching into the seventh in what might have been his final home start in Oakland if the club tries to deal him before the trade deadline, and the Athletics rallied in the fifth inning to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 7-2 on Wednesday.

Matt Joyce hit a towering homer to the right-field seats in the eighth for Oakland.

Rajai Davis doubled home Oakland's first run in the fifth then Joyce followed with a tying sacrifice fly before Davis scurried home with the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.

Gray (6-4) won his third straight start and fourth in five. When speculation arose from the White Sox side before his Friday outing that the right-hander had been scratched because of a possible deal, the A's quickly announced that he was indeed taking the mound for his scheduled outing.

After a pair of one-run defeats to begin this series, the A's avoided being swept by the Rays in Oakland for the first time. This already marked just their third lost series at home to Tampa Bay.

Gray allowed two runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings with two walks.

The Rays got three straight singles off Gray to start the fourth inning, including an RBI single by Wilson Ramos. Brad Miller also drove in a run on a groundout.

But Oakland finally got to Tampa Bay right-hander Jake Faria (4-1) in the fifth. With seven straight quality starts to begin his career, Faria took his first big league loss.

A's All-Star Yonder Alonso hit an RBI single in the inning, when Faria had two of his four walks. He allowed six hits and four runs in five innings, striking out four.

Alonso was thrown out at home in the first when he tried to go from first on Khris Davis' double to right. The throw beat him so handily Alonso didn't even try to slide and instead ran behind the plate before turning for the dugout.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rays: RF Steven Souza Jr. exited the game in the first after straining his left hip trying to steal second after drawing a leadoff walk to start the game. Shane Peterson replaced him. X-rays were negative and he will be re-evaluated once the team arrives home. ... Manager Kevin Cash said LHP Blake Snell would make his next turn in the rotation despite still being winless at 0-5 with a 4.98 ERA in 11 starts. "He's going to pitch well," Cash said.

Athletics: The A's hope to have Chad Pinder back from the DL and a strained left hamstring when they return home from an upcoming seven-game trip to the New York Mets and Toronto. Manager Bob Melvin plans to use him as a utilityman. ... RHP Kendall Graveman allowed five hits and four runs with one strikeout and a walk on 46 pitches in 2 1/3 innings with Triple-A Nashville rehabbing his strained pitching shoulder. RHP Jharel Cotton (blister on his right thumb) also pitched in the game, striking out six in 3 1/3 innings, while Pinder was 0 for 2 with a walk and strikeout for the Sounds.

UP NEXT

Rays: With the Rays back home, RHP Alex Cobb (8-6, 3.59 ERA) takes the ball in Friday's series opener against Yu Darvish and Texas having not faced the Rangers since April 6, 2014.

Athletics: After Thursday's day off following a cross-country flight, RHP Paul Blackburn (1-0, 1.83 ERA) pitches the series opener at the Mets in his fourth career start.