Kottaras hopes to fit in with A's

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Kottaras hopes to fit in with A's

OAKLAND -- He may not have white cleats yet, but he's an Oakland Athletic. George Kottaras has arrived in Oakland after being acquired in a trade on Sunday from the Brewers. He joins an A's team that is unquestionably the hottest in baseball, and will be tasked with catching a pitching staff that is first in the American League with a 3.44 ERA. No pressure. Kottaras' main goal is simply to fit in. Don't move anything, don't alter anything, just go with the flow. "Everyone is pitching great, so I want to kind of roll on from where they are now," Kottaras said. "I'm not going to change a thing. I'm going to see what they are doing and go along with that." The A's new catcher arrived late last night. He got a chance to meet his teammates for the first time on Monday. He likes what he sees."Great attitude in here, I see guys having fun and also getting their work in," he said. "That's the way it should be."Kottaras, 29, is left-handed so he adds another dimension to the A's offense from the catcher position. Kurt Suzuki and Derek Norris both bat from the right side. A's manager Bob Melvin likes to platoon hitters. He believes that has been one of the main reasons the A's offense is performing so well. His plan is to use Kottaras and Suzuki in that fashion.The idea of a platoon has a lot to do with why rookie catcher Derek Norris -- who had been seeing roughly two starts to every one Suzuki was getting -- was sent down. "I don't think we wanted to get in a position with him where we were platooning," Melvin said. "He knows he can play here. For a young catcher he was very well received by the pitching staff. Sometimes that's difficult to do." Norris played in 21 games with the A's since being called up on June 21. He batted .195 with three homers, 11 RBIs and a surprising three stolen bases in his time with Oakland. He gained a lot of valuable information on the A's starting pitchers and learned how to carry himself at the big league level."Norris handled himself very well," Melvin said. "We won a lot of games with him in the lineup. It was valuable experience for him. He is going to be a heck of a player down the road." You can trust Melvin's opinion when it comes to catchers. He spent 10 years in the big leagues donning the tools of ignorance. So what did Melvin think of his new backstop? "He works the count, gets on base, he's got a little power in his bat, and they say he calls a good game," Melvin said. Sounds like Kottaras has everything he needs to succeed here -- except white cleats. He was wearing someone else's white kicks in the clubhouse to fit in. "These were handed over for me," he said proudly while modeling them for us. "It's pretty cool walking around with white cleats." Notes:- Coco Crisp is still nursing a hamstring injury. He won't get in the field on Monday. They A's hope to run him around on Tuesday and re-evaluate him. - Cliff Pennington hit off the tee on Saturday. Monday he took some soft toss, hit off the tee and did some dry swings. Its the first day he feels pretty good and hasn't been sore while swinging. Melvin says that he'll have a better idea how soon they can get Pennington back when he starts taking batting practice. He noted that Pennington would have to go on a rehab assignment before returning. - Brandon McCarthy pitches for the Sacramento River Cats in Reno tonight. Brett Anderson goes Tuesday. Anderson will throw around 75 pitches.

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.