Comeback falls short, A's lose to Seattle 8-7

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Comeback falls short, A's lose to Seattle 8-7

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- Chone Figgins finished a home run short of the cycle and every Seattle Mariners batter had a hit, backing a shaky start from ace Felix Hernandez to beat the Oakland Athletics 8-7 on Saturday night.Figgins' two-run double off Bartolo Colon (1-1) highlighted a six-run fourth-inning - helped by a center fielder Yoenis Cespedes misplaying a ball - to give Seattle a 7-0 lead.Cespedes atoned for his mistake with a three-run homer against reliever Steve Delabar, the third long ball in four games by the powerful Cuban defector.Hernandez (1-0) gave up six runs on eight hits in 6 1-3 innings, striking out seven and walking one. Brandon League pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save this season.

Rajai Davis hitting leadoff in A's exhibition opener Saturday

Rajai Davis hitting leadoff in A's exhibition opener Saturday

MESA, Ariz. — A’s manager Bob Melvin announced his lineup for Saturday’s exhibition opener against the Chicago Cubs, and at least the top of the order has an Opening Day look to it.

Rajai Davis will lead off and handle center field, and that’s the role Melvin envisioned for him when he was signed in the winter as a free agent. Marcus Semien will bat second, a spot that could also potentially be occupied by Jed Lowrie were he in the lineup at second base.

The heart of the order features new right fielder Matt Joyce hitting third, Mark Canha handling left field and batting cleanup and designated hitter Stephen Vogt hitting fifth. On Opening Night, obviously, Khris Davis will play left and likely bat cleanup, but it’s quite possible Melvin sticks with the left-handed hitting Joyce and Vogt sandwiching the right-handed Davis.

Though Trevor Plouffe projects as the everyday third baseman, prospect Matt Chapman gets the start Saturday against the defending World Series champs, and there was thought behind that as Melvin wants the highly regarded Chapman to experience what should be a raucous atmosphere at Sloan Park in Mesa. It’s the Cubs first game of any kind since winning their first Series since 1906, and the intensity should be cranked up from that of a typical Cactus League opener.

“It’s one of the reasons a guy like Matt Chapman is in the lineup,” Melvin said. “I want (young players) to see what is going on over there.”

He mentioned the A’s other top-rated position player prospect, Franklin Barreto, will get time at shortstop Saturday.

Right-hander Jesse Hahn will make the start on the mound, and he’ll face a Cubs split-squad lineup that includes Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Jason Hayward, Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell. The Cubs have crammed more than 15,000 fans into Sloan Park before, and it won’t be a surprise to see the ballpark at capacity.

“For me, it’s just the first game of the year, so it’s exciting for me no matter who it is,” Hahn said. “I mean, it’s a plus to go over there in that stadium. Everybody knows how electric that stadium is.”

Here’s the A’s full lineup Saturday:

R. Davis CF

Semien SS

Joyce RF

Canha LF

Vogt DH

Chapman 3B

Alonso 1B

Rosales 2B

Maxwell C

Hahn RHP

A's spring training Day 10: Canha doubles off Gray in intrasquad game

A's spring training Day 10: Canha doubles off Gray in intrasquad game

MESA, Ariz. — The A’s had four lineups sketched out for two intrasquad games taking place simultaneously Thursday.

You couldn’t help but notice that one of the lineups in particular was packed with Oakland’s regulars, and there were plenty of highlights delivered by notable names during the two-inning game at the A’s minor league facility.

Sonny Gray gave up a run on Mark Canha’s RBI double to right-center in his inning of work but also struck out Ryon Healy with a good breaking ball. Gray’s stuff earned solid reviews from manager Bob Melvin.

Overall, Melvin was pleasantly surprised with some of the hard contact generated by his hitters, who had seen just two days of live batting practice prior to Thursday.

“Canha hits a pitch down that’s moving all over the place to right-center,” Melvin said.

In the same game, Rajai Davis hit a leadoff triple to center off Kendall Graveman and came home on Stephen Vogt’s single. Graveman got Matt Joyce looking on a fastball but gave up some hard contact in a brief 15-pitch outing. He’ll start Sunday’s game against the Angels, so Thursday’s outing acted like a between-start bullpen session.

In the other game, Sean Manaea got his three outs so quickly that they had to extend the inning a bit for him to get his work in. That game was highlighted by a long home run from infield prospect Yairo Munoz off Daniel Coulombe.

Melvin said bench coach Mark Kotsay handled duties of sketching out the rosters for the two intrasquad games, and while it will be interesting to see how Melvin writes out the lineup for Saturday’s exhibition opener against the Chicago Cubs, keep in mind that the early Cactus League games will only feature a handful of regulars in each of them.

PROSPECT WATCH: Shortstop Franklin Barreto, the A’s top-rated prospect, will also see some time at second base this spring but not in the outfield, Melvin said. Barreto has played some center field in winter ball, but general manager David Forst, during an offseason interview with CSN California, said the team envisions Barreto as an infielder. The A’s have Marcus Semien entrenched at shortstop right now, and there’s been some feeling among scouts that Barreto — whose bat is his biggest strength — is better suited for second base long-term anyway. Another highly touted prospect, Richie Martin, is a possible shortstop of the future as well.

NOTEWORTHY: The A’s have expressed optimism that reliever Santiago Casilla will arrive in camp shortly after being delayed by the visa process in the Dominican Republic. But Casilla remains day-to-day, with Melvin not giving a timetable for his arrival.

“We were going to slow-play him this spring anyway. He’ll throw some bullpens and probably throw to some hitters before we get him in a game,” Melvin said. “At this point in time I’m still not that concerned. I’ll start to be a little bit if we get into games (and he’s not in camp), but I still think we’re on a good schedule with him.”

ODDS AND ENDS: Oscar-nominated actor Mahershala Ali, an Oakland native who threw out the first pitch at an A’s game last season, arranged for a screening of his movie “Moonlight” on Thursday night for A’s players at a Scottsdale theatre. Ali is nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the movie, which is also up for Best Picture.

“It’s nice of him to think of that and want to set that up,” reliever John Axford said. “I’ve already seen it and I’ll be there again.”

Axford, a movie fanatic and Film & Television major in college, has created a social media buzz in recent years by doing incredibly well predicting the Oscar winners. He has yet to reveal all of his picks for Sunday’s show, but he gives rave reviews to “Moonlight.”