A's lose 8-3 to Royals in last game in Arizona

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A's lose 8-3 to Royals in last game in Arizona

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SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) Luis Mendoza became the second Kansas City Royals pitcher to be led off the mound by a trainer in four games.Mendoza was removed in the second inning after being struck in the left leg by a Brandon Allen single as the Royals defeated the Oakland Athletics 8-3 Wednesday.Oakland was playing its last game in Arizona before leaving for Tokyo, where the A's meet Seattle in an opening two-game series next Wednesday and Thursday."It's just sore right now," Mendoza said. "I was scared because it really hurt. It was a hard ground ball, but it hit my hamstring, it hit muscle in the back of my leg. Right now, I'm glad it's nothing serious. It was a big bruise."Royals closer Joakim Soria exited Sunday with ligament damage in his elbow. He is taking a few days to consider his options after receiving a second opinion. Soria has damage to the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He had reconstructive elbow surgery in 2003 to replace the same ligament."No more," Mendoza said of pitchers leaving prematurely for the trainer's room.Mendoza is 4-0 with a 0.77 ERA, giving up one run in 11 2-3 innings this spring."The ball got him on the back of the knee, a real meaty part," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It's just a bruise. It hit him pretty good. It's not something to continue with at this point of the year. You don't want to take a chance of it swelling or him altering his mechanics at all because he's throwing the ball so well."Yost said Mendoza remains "definitely right in the mix" as a rotation candidate.Lorenzo Cain, who tops the Cactus League with a .500 batting average, homered to lead off the second inning. Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer each had two hits and drove in a run for the Royals, who won for the fifth time in six games. Max Ramirez contributed a two-run pinch single in the sixth to up his RBI total to 11 in 13 games.A's right-hander Graham Godfrey gave up three runs on six hits and two walks in three innings, throwing only 37 strikes in 75 pitches."Not very good," Godfrey said of his location. "That's one thing I talked with Curt (Young, pitching coach) about. Typically I fill the zone up, throw a lot of strikes. Today was almost the opposite. It's good to have that kind of outing now, learn from it and make sure that doesn't happen again."Godfrey was familiar with Cain, who he faced last year when both were in the Pacific Coast League. Cain homered on a 3-1 pitch."He's a good hitter," Godfrey said. "This spring he's been doing pretty well. He was one of the guys I had to be careful of last year. It was a case where I was working behind a lot of hitters. I don't want to walk anybody. I gave him a cookie and he did what he's supposed to do with it."Godfrey worked out of a bases loaded jam in the third, retiring Cain on a fielder's choice to end the inning."I thought I made some good pitches when I needed to," Godfrey said. "Sometime it worked out for me. Other times there was a broken bat flare where nobody was playing. I try not to be so result-oriented, but obviously it wasn't the result I wanted, but most of the pitches were kind of where I wanted them. There were some good things and some bad things mixed with a little bad luck I thought."Minor leaguer Cedric Hunter homered for the A's in the seventh.NOTES: A's 3B Scott Sizemore had surgery Wednesday to repair a left knee ligament tear and will miss the season. Sizemore hit 11 home runs with 52 RBIs in 93 games last season with Oakland after being acquired in a trade with Detroit. He injured the knee last month in the A's first full-squad workout. . Yost said C Humberto Quintero and OF Jason Bourgeois, who were scheduled to arrive Wednesday night after being acquired in a trade with Houston, would be in the Royals lineup Thursday.

A's spring training Day 13: Gossett part of fifth starter mix

A's spring training Day 13: Gossett part of fifth starter mix

MESA, Ariz. — An unexpected opportunity came Daniel Gossett’s way Sunday, and the young right-hander took it in stride.

When the A’s adjusted their starting rotation, Kendall Graveman got bumped to Monday and Gossett learned he’d be taking the ball to start Sunday’s Cactus League home opener against the Los Angeles Angels.

“I’m here for what they need me for,” Gossett said. “So anything they need, gimme the ball.”

He spun two scoreless innings in a game Oakland lost 5-3 at Hohokam Stadium. A nice first impression for Gossett, indeed, but the truth is A’s officials were already quite familiar with him.

A second-round pick out of Clemson in 2014, Gossett impressed at three levels of the farm system in 2016, beginning the year with Single-A Stockton and finishing it with Triple-A Nashville.

This is his first big league camp, and manager Bob Melvin even mentioned Gossett as being part of the fifth starter conversation.

“He impressed everybody in the organization last year, so when talking about that fifth spot, who knows?” Melvin said before the game.

The only blemishes on Gossett’s day were the pair of walks he issued. After walking Jefrey Marte to lead off the second, he got a lift from his catcher, as Josh Phegley fired a strike to second to nail Marte trying to steal.

“A pitcher’s best friend, I guess,” Gossett said. He went 10-6 with a 2.69 ERA across 27 starts at all three levels of the minors last year, and his 151 strikeouts led the A’s farm system. Gossett’s fastball ranges anywhere from 90-95 on the gun. He throws a changeup that gets the most swings and misses, plus a slider and curve.

Grady Fuson, an A’s special assistant to the general manager, liked the adjustments he saw with Gossett over the course of last season.

“He’s a super kid, a grinder,” Fuson said over the winter. “He’s a guy that hadn’t struck many guys out and had been very hittable in the strike zone. (In 2016), he started executing to different parts of the zone that limits the hard contact.”

CAMP BATTLE: Alejandro De Aza sparked the A’s first rally in the third Sunday with a triple, then scored on Mark Canha’s double. With Jake Smolinski sidelined currently by a shoulder issue, it’s a good time for De Aza, a non-roster invitee to camp, to make his mark. The door could be open for him to make a push to make the roster as a fifth outfielder.

“He’s an interesting guy,” Melvin said of the nine-year veteran. “He knows how to play the game, he can play all three outfield spots. We’ve seen him before when he’s given us trouble, too, with the White Sox.”

Another contender for a reserve outfield spot is Jaycob Brugman, who has yet to crack the majors but is already on the 40-man roster. He singled home a run in the seventh. Like De Aza and Smolinski, Brugman can play center field, and it stands to reason the A’s will want to carry someone who can back up Rajai Davis at that position.

NOTEWORTHY: Phegley admitted to some butterflies before getting behind the plate for his first game since July, when a right knee injury wiped out the rest of his season.

But he looked good springing up to nail Marte on the second-inning steal attempt. The A’s are counting on Phegley returning to his role as the right-handed hitting platoon partner with Stephen Vogt behind the plate.

STOCK RISING: Melvin was impressed, and entertained, by the first look he got at reliever Simon Castro on Saturday against the Chicago Cubs. Castro retired Kris Bryant to strand a runner at third, the only hitter he faced. But it was what happened before the at-bat that caught Melvin’s attention.

“When he came to the mound he was pretty vocal,” Melvin noted. “He was fired up, telling the guys ‘Let’s go!’ I haven’t heard that too many times out of pitchers, let alone in spring training. So he impressed me with his eagerness to pitch.”

FAMILIAR FACES: Campy Campaneris and Blue Moon Odom each threw out ceremonial first pitches before Sunday’s exhibition home opener, which drew a smallish crowd of 4,072.

A’s reliever, movie buff Axford makes 2017 Oscars predictions

A’s reliever, movie buff Axford makes 2017 Oscars predictions

Update: Axford finished the night correctly predicting 19 of 24 Oscars this year.

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A's reliever John Axford is not your casual movie fan. 

Axford majored in Film at Notre Dame and has a proven track record when it comes to the biggest night for movies. 

The last two years, Axford correctly predicted 17 of 24 winners for the Academy Awards. In 2014, Axford went a perfect 18-of-18 with his predictions. 

On Saturday, Axford offered 24 predictions for the 2017 Oscars. 

Axford is a clear believer in La La Land, choosing the film for eights Oscars, after winning a record-breaking seven Golden Globes. 

Will he go a perfect 24-for-24 this year?