Athletics

A's escape Rule 5 Draft relatively unscathed

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A's escape Rule 5 Draft relatively unscathed

NASHVILLE -- The A's escaped the Rule 5 Draft relatively unscathed on Thursday morning at the Winter Meetings. No A's players were taken in the Major League portion of the draft. Not surprisingly, Oakland also didn't pick any players during that phase.

A player taken in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft must remain on the team's active roster the entire season, and the picks cost $50,000. If the player doesn't remain on the active roster they go back to their original team in exchange for $25,000.

In the Minor League portion of the draft Oakland picked up two players, third baseman Tommy Mendonca from the Rangers organization, and catcher Steven Hill from the Cardinals farm system.

Mendonca, who attended college at Fresno State, hit a combined .229 with 12 homers, 51 RBI, and a .278 on-base percentage in Double-A and Triple-A in 2012. The third baseman won the 2008 College World Series Most Outstanding Player award.

Hill, 27, actually saw some time in the Major Leagues with the Cardinals last season. He went 2 for 10 with a double in nine games at first base. He played one game in 2010 for the Cardinals and hit a home run. Hill hit .266 with 17 homers and 52 RBI in Triple-A last season.

The A's lost outfielder Eliezer Mesa to Detroit, and shortstop Michael Gilmartin to Cincinnati during the minor league portion of the draft.

Players that were protected on the A's 40-man roster were not eligible for the draft. One player that could have been swiped from the A's system was pitcher James Simmons, who pitched in the Arizona Fall League's Rising Stars Game this year.

Simmons, 26, was a first round pick in 2007 and he appeared in 30 games for Double-A Midland, and nine games for Triple-A Sacramento in 2012. He had a 2.98 ERA, 50 strikeouts and 22 walks last season with the RockHounds and River Cats.

It is a bit of a surprise no one took him. Especially when considering 23 of the 42 total players taken were pitchers.

Instant Analysis: Casilla blows it in ninth, denies Melvin of 1,000th win

Instant Analysis: Casilla blows it in ninth, denies Melvin of 1,000th win

BOX SCORE

With two swings, the Blue Jays delivered an absolute gut-punch to the A’s on Wednesday night.

Justin Smoak hit a two-run game-tying homer off Santiago Casilla in the ninth. On the next pitch, Kendrys Morales swatted a walk-off shot to give Toronto a stunning 3-2 victory at the Rogers Center.

That once again denied A’s manager Bob Melvin his 1,000th career victory, which the A’s seemed poised to celebrate. Rookie Paul Blackburn also had a much-deserved victory snatched away from him after he threw seven scoreless innings.

Oakland has dropped three straight north of the border since giving Melvin career win No. 999. A lack of offense doomed them in the first two games of this four-game series, and they got precious little scoring Wedesnday. But Marcus Semien’s two-run homer in the fifth seemed to be all the offense they would need, and the A’s took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth.

Blake Treinen handled the eighth to get the ball to Casilla, who’s had a turbulent ride as the A’s closer after signing a two-year deal to return to Oakland in the offseason. Wednesday’s meltdown accounted for his sixth blown save. He entered the night tied for third for most blown saves in the American League.

The A’s are short on late-inning options after recently trading Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to the Washington Nationals.

Former A's starter designated for assignment by Cubs

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AP

Former A's starter designated for assignment by Cubs

CHICAGO — The Chicago Cubs have cut left-hander Brett Anderson.

The 29-year-old Anderson had been sidelined by a lower back strain. He was activated from the 60-day disabled list before Wednesday night’s game against the White Sox and then designated for assignment.

Anderson signed a $3.5 million, one-year contract with the Cubs over the winter. He went 2-2 with an 8.18 ERA in six starts.

Anderson, who has been hampered by injuries throughout his career, is 40-45 with a 3.99 ERA in 133 games with the Athletics, Rockies, Dodgers and Cubs.