Athletics

Daniel Gossett positions himself as rotation option for A's

Daniel Gossett positions himself as rotation option for A's

MESA, Ariz. — The A’s sent right-hander Daniel Gossett down to the minors Sunday morning, but he continued boosting his stock while participating in his first major league camp.

Manager Bob Melvin went so far as to say Gossett appears first in line should the A’s need to dip into their Triple-A rotation to bring a starter up.

“The talk of these (available) ‘4’ and ‘5’ spots, typically over the course of a season we run through quite a few guys,” Melvin said. “So he knows that he is now in line for one of those spots, and his job is to go down and perform and continue to develop in the fashion we’ve seen. If he continues to do that it won’t be long before he’s here. As far as the starting pitchers that have gone (to the minors) that look to potentially be here, he’s at the top of the list.”

The 24-year-old Gossett, a second-round pick out of Clemson in 2014, appeared in three exhibitions. He gave up three runs and just two hits in 6 1/3 innings, though he did issue six walks. For a guy who’s only pitched two games as high as Triple-A, Gossett impressed Melvin with his poise and especially his stuff.

“He’s got a good sinker, got a good cutter. When he’s good, he’s proficient in throwing strikes,” Melvin said. “The next thing to come for him will be the changeup and breaking ball. But there’s a lot of similarities between him and Kendall Graveman, for me, in the way he pitched. You’re always trying to find a comp for you that you can kind of emulate, go back and watch video of. And I think they’re pretty good comps.”

Gossett went 10-6 with a 2.69 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP last season in 27 starts, split between all three levels of the farm system. He led A’s minor leaguers with 151 strikeouts.

**

Another outfielder is dealing with an injury that could affect his battle for a 25-man roster spot. Jaff Decker was scratched from Sunday’s lineup after he hurt an oblique muscle a day earlier while hitting in the cage. The non-roster outfielder has played well enough to thrust himself into the conversation to be the fifth outfielder should the A’s keep that many.

Jake Smolinski underwent right shoulder surgery Friday and is expected to be sidelined for an extended period. With Smolinski out, Alejandro De Aza was already looking like the favorite to be the potential fifth outfielder. But Decker has played well.

“Those things are tough to forecast,” Melvin said of oblique injuries. “For sure it’ll be a few days but I think we’ll get a better idea come tomorrow or the next day. And that’s unfortunate because he was having a good camp.”

 

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as A's can't find answers vs Keuchel

aslose.jpg
USATSI

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as A's can't find answers vs Keuchel

BOX SCORE

HOUSTON — Sean Manaea was much improved Friday night over his previous three starts for the A’s.

Unfortunately for the left-hander, he had no control over the work of his counterpart on the mound.

Astros lefty Dallas Keuchel was at his ground ball-inducing best, frustrating the A’s over seven scoreless innings as Houston continued its recent dominance over Oakland with a 3-1 victory in the opener of a three-game series at Minute Maid Park.

Keuchel recorded 17 of his 21 outs via ground ball, an astonishing rate but typical of the way the 2015 AL Cy Young winner likes to do business. He entered the night leading the major leagues in groundball percentage (64.7) among those with at least 90 innings pitched. Keuchel (11-2) got a big assist from his infield defense, particularly third baseman Alex Bregman and shortstop Marwin Gonzalez.

Manaea went six innings and gave up three runs, including back-to-back solo homers from Bregman and Jose Altuve in the third. But it was a definite step forward after his previous three outings, in which he surrendered 13 earned runs and 21 hits over just 6 2/3 innings.

The A’s mustered just five hits. Aside from Matt Joyce’s homer in the eighth, they didn’t advance a single runner past second base.

Oakland has dropped 11 of 13 games to Houston so far this season.

IMPROVED SHOWING: After showing signs of fatigue in his recent starts, Manaea showed improved form simply based on the batters he retired. His fastball generally sat between 89-91, still a bit below normal, but he overall pitched more effectively and turned in his longest outing since going seven innings July 27. He gave up six hits over his six innings, struck out two and walked one. A wild pitch in the sixth hurt, as it set up Josh Reddick’s RBI single.

HEY, IT’S PROGRESS: Seeing Manaea get through a scoreless first inning was noteworthy, as the A’s had gone five consecutive games with allowing at least one run in the first.

PINDER DEBUTS IN CENTER: Matt Olson entered the game as a pinch hitter in the top of the eighth, then went to right field in the bottom half. That pushed Chad Pinder over to center field, his first time playing the position in the major leagues. Manager Bob Melvin has mentioned Pinder is likely to draw some starts in center before the end of the season.

STRIKEOUTS MOUNTING FOR KD: After striking out four times Wednesday, the A’s cleanup man struck out three more times Friday. His 158 strikeouts entering the night were tied for eighth most in franchise history.

CATCHING UPDATE: Josh Phegley, coming back from a strained oblique, has played two games for Triple-A Nashville on a rehab assignment. Melvin said the A’s are not going to rush Phegley. Part of that is they think highly of the work Dustin Garneau has done in his place as the right-handed portion of the catching platoon with Bruce Maxwell.

After country music detour, Giles instrumental in A's ballpark quest

giles-chris.jpg
YouTube

After country music detour, Giles instrumental in A's ballpark quest

As the A’s Chief Operating Officer, Chris Giles’ thoughts and energies are wired into the business world, helping the team plan for a new ballpark and brainstorming all ways possible to bring in more revenue.

From talking to him, you wouldn’t guess that Giles once walked away from the white-collar sports management world to pursue a country music career.

Giles left a vice president position with the 49ers in November 2015, picking up an acoustic guitar, writing and recording a three-song EP, “Party Me”, that he performed at club shows all around Northern California.

He still performs once or twice a month on the weekend. It’s quite a contrast from his Monday-thru-Friday gig, but that’s exactly the point. In the lyrics to the song “Party Me”, Giles addresses the ambition and drive required in the 9-to-5 world and the reward of blowing off steam with buddies afterward.

“It’s a hobby, I’ll always do it,” Giles shares in the latest edition of The A’s Insider Podcast. “I still play once or twice a month locally, small acoustic stuff.”

Giles grew up in Clovis and sang in talent shows as a kid before becoming a high school wrestler.

“Randy Travis was my favorite as a kid,” he said. “I can remember writing his lyrics on construction paper and giving it to girls on the playground.”

Giles’ career in sales and marketing eventually led him to the 49ers, where he became VP of sales and strategy and played an instrumental role in the opening of Levi’s Stadium. He oversaw premium sales, seat license sales, concessions and retail among other responsibilities.

But he never lost his desire to pursue a music career.

“It was one of those things where I felt like if I didn’t give it a try, then I would always just regret it,” said Giles, who is married with three kids. “I enjoy writing songs, I love playing live. I was running around with a couple other artists, we were collaborating on a couple things. It just seemed like a logical point to give it a go.”

He eventually returned to the sports world with the NFL, running sales and marketing efforts for Super Bowl LI. But it’s his experience with the launch of Levi’s Stadium that appears to make him an especially good fit with the A’s, who plan to announce by the end of the calendar year a location in Oakland to build a new ballpark.

Opening a new stadium is one thing. Finding ways to maximize revenue from that venue is another, and that’s where Giles’ expertise factors in. He’s got an instrumental voice in how the ballpark will be designed and what features it will include.

He came aboard in an advisory role for A’s president Dave Kaval in March and was named the team’s COO in early July. Joining the franchise at this point, with so many ambitious plans for the future, is energizing to him.

“I think we’re approaching a rocket ship that’s sitting on the ground,” Giles said. “We’re not quite sure which rocket boosters work, but we know we’ve got a rocket ship. Our job is to make sure we tune that thing up and get it ready to go.”