A's fall to Angels, top Cubs in split squad action

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A's fall to Angels, top Cubs in split squad action

Angels 9, A's (SS) 1BOX SCORE

PHOENIX (AP) His first time up to bat for the Angels, Albert Pujols hit an RBI double.So far, so good.The new Angels slugger finished 2 for 3, ending his spring debut by popping up with the bases loaded in the third inning of Los Angeles' 9-1 win over an Oakland Athletics split squad Monday."That was fun," Pujols said of batting in each of the first three innings. "Hopefully we get to do that a lot this season."Left-hander C.J. Wilson, the Angels' other big free-agent acquisition, also debuted. He gave up a hit and walk in two innings.Pujols agreed to a 240 million, 10-year deal over the winter, leaving the St. Louis Cardinals after 11 seasons.Now he'll routinely face AL pitchers after hammering the senior circuit for more than a decade."When I made the ballclub in '01 I didn't know anyone in the National League," Pujols said. "You are your own scouting report."Athletics starter Brad Peacock had to leave after getting five outs. He was scheduled for two innings. Pujols helped him reach his pitch count early."I tried not to look at him," Peacock said. "I was trying to hit my spot but left a curveball up for him and he crushed it."Wilson, who came to California from the Texas Rangers, said he used to play fantasy baseball when he was in the minors - and drafted Pujols at least once."It's kind of funny," Wilson said. "He came up there and drive in the run and we all looked at each other in the dugout and said Yep, that's Albert.' That's what he does."I'm happy to be in the Albert Pujols fan club."NOTES: A's DH Manny Ramirez went 0-for-3 and is hitless in five plate appearances. He has seen a total of 11 pitches and had not hit a ball out of the infield until flying out weakly to right in the sixth. . Peacock struggled in his first start in his first major league camp, allowing four runs on four hits and a walk. Peacock was one of four players acquired from Washington for Gio Gonzalez on December 23. . Angels 2B Howie Kendrick homered to straightaway center in the second and C Chris Iannetta added a two-run shot in the third. . Athletics 1B Daric Barton received a second cortisone shot in his right shoulder and will be sidelines for the next three days. . Angels DH Bobby Abreu was slated to bat sixth but was scratched due to an undisclosed illness. He was replaced by Hank Conger, who hit ninth.
A's (SS) 8, Cubs 7
BOX SCORE
MESA, Ariz. (AP) Ryan Dempster got off to a rough start last year and never recovered in one of his worst seasons with the Chicago Cubs.Nothing he can do about it now. He is focused on bouncing back this year.Dempster made his spring debut Monday and pitched two innings in Chicago's 8-7 loss to a split-squad of Oakland Athletics. The right-hander, who went 10-14 with a 4.80 ERA last season, allowed one run and two hits."It's why I've worked really hard this winter," said Dempster, who struck out two and walked none. "Anytime you've had a subpar year, you don't like it a whole lot and you want to try and do a whole lot better the next time out. You work out and do what you can to be prepared."Josh Reddick collected two more hits for Oakland, and Brandon Allen hit a sacrifice fly off Dempster in the second to give him eight RBIs this spring.Non-roster invitee Yordy Cabrera led off the ninth inning with a home run against right-hander Tony Zych, lifting Oakland to the victory.Blake DeWitt hit a three-run homer off A's starter Bartolo Colon in the second inning. Jeff Baker added two hits, including a double, and scored two runs for Chicago.Reddick is off to a fast start after coming over from Boston in the Andrew Bailey trade. He tripled in the second inning and is 5 for 8 this spring.Considering the A's suddenly have a crowded outfield with the signings of Yoenis Cespedes and Manny Ramirez to go along with Jonny Gomes, Coco Crisp and Seth Smith, the hot start by Reddick can only help his chances."That's why we are here," Reddick said. "You work all offseason to be ready to go from the start."Reddick only saw three pitches from Dempster but said he could tell that the starter had a good changeup.Working in the off-speed stuff early might be the key to Dempster getting off to a fast start. He was 1-3 with a 9.58 ERA in six April starts last season.Cubs manager Dale Sveum, who expects to announce an opening-day starter within a week, speculated from having conversations with Dempster that the poor opening month might have been because he relied too much on his fastball."He had an unbelievable spring training where he had unbelievable command of his fastball and that might have gotten him into a little bit of trouble because he mentioned he wasn't using his secondary pitches as much because he was so caught up in having great fastball command in spring," Sveum said. "He didn't work on his off-speed stuff in spring training."The bottom line is, he knew he was better than he showed last year and I think he's on a mission to prove that he's the pitcher he was before that."NOTES: Cubs C Geovany Soto (groin) is expected to see his first game action somewhere between Wednesday and Saturday. ... Jeff Baker and Joe Mather had two hits apiece for Chicago. Mather also had two stolen bases.

Notes: A's likely to leave winter meetings with unfinished business

Notes: A's likely to leave winter meetings with unfinished business

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — A’s general manager David Forst flies home Thursday afternoon, and unless there’s a drastic change in the final stages of the winter meetings, he’ll still be searching for a center fielder.

Wednesday’s events included some discussion between Oakland and other parties, but no concrete progress toward landing a center fielder. That’s despite the late-breaking news Tuesday that the A’s and Royals were talking trade for fleet-footed Kansas City outfielder Jarrod Dyson.

“It’s a two-way street with a free agent or a team, a function of the other side’s pace,” Forst said. “It’s unlikely (they complete a deal at the meetings), and not for lack of conversations or lack of ideas. Just things move at different speeds.”

It doesn’t necessarily mean the chance of landing Dyson is done. Forst pointed out talks which transpire at the winter meetings sometimes materialize into a deal down the road. But it’s also worth noting that the Baltimore Orioles are pursuing Dyson too. FanRag’s Jon Heyman reported that Baltimore and Kansas City have discussed him.

Therefore, consider the A’s as players in the free agent as well as trade markets.

“We’ve cast a wide net,” Forst said.

Two free agent center fielders came off the board Wednesday as the Rockies agreed to a five-year $70 million contract with Ian Desmond and the Rangers re-signed Carlos Gomez to a one-year $11.5 million deal. Desmond was assumed to be out of the A’s price range, but Gomez was thought to be a realistic target. He opted to return to Texas, which needed to do some outfield re-stocking after losing Desmond and Carlos Beltran, who like Gomez was an in-season acquisition for the Rangers in 2016.

The three most enticing free agents left now at the position appear to be Dexter Fowler — like Desmond, expected to command a pricey multi-year deal — former Athletic Rajai Davis and Austin Jackson.

As for other needs, the A’s would add a veteran starting pitcher at the right price and could look to upgrade at second base, though neither of those is as high a priority as landing someone to anchor the middle of their outfield.

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Manager Bob Melvin addressed reporters at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center. Though A’s top baseball official Billy Beane said Tuesday the organizational focus was on the future, aiming for a strong team to be in place by the time the A’s potentially move into a new ballpark, Melvin’s attention is solely on the upcoming season.

“In 2012, we had I don't know how many rookies on that team. It was all rookie starters, and we ended up winning the division,” Melvin said. “Once you start the season, the focus is all about winning.”

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Should the A’s not bring in a center fielder who can also lead off, the first in-house candidate Melvin mentioned as perhaps hitting atop the order was Joey Wendle. He gave a nice showing of himself in a September call-up and hit leadoff for a stretch, but there’s no guarantee that Wendle even starts at second base next season, especially if veteran Jed Lowrie is healthy after foot surgery.

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Former Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale has rejoined Oakland’s staff as Melvin’s third-base coach, and Melvin has plenty of confidence that Hale will capably fill Ron Washington’s shoes as the infield instructor. Washington was popular with A’s infielders and had particular success working with shortstop Marcus Semien.

Hale served as Melvin’s bench coach before getting hired by Arizona before the 2015 season.

“Obviously we've talked a lot about Wash and what he's meant to some of these younger guys,” Melvin said. “We feel like if anybody can replace Wash, it's Chip Hale.”

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Forst said John Axford will pitch for Canada in the World Baseball Classic. Fellow reliever Liam Hendriks has not yet committed to Team Australia.

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Right-hander Chris Bassitt, who underwent Tommy John surgery in May, was examined by A’s head trainer Nick Paparesta on Wednesday and his recovery is going very well. He’s between throwing programs right now. Forst added that lefty Felix Doubront is also coming back well from the same procedure.

Report: Holliday's no-trade clause with Yankees only covers A's

Report: Holliday's no-trade clause with Yankees only covers A's

Matt Holliday spent the first half of the 2009 season in Oakland.

Apparently, he has no desire to return.

In his one-year, $13 million contract with the Yankees that was finalized on Wednesday, Holliday has a limited no-trade clause that protects him from being traded to only the A's, according to SB Nation.

Holliday was acquired by the A's following the 2008 season for Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street and Greg Smith.

But he only played in 93 games with the A's before they dealt him to St. Louis for Brett Wallace, Clayton Mortensen and Shane Peterson.

The 37-year-old spent the last seven full seasons with the Cardinals.