Melvin maintaining hope for Drew, Gomes

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Melvin maintaining hope for Drew, Gomes

Programming note: The Final Cut: 2012 Oakland A's, the story of Oaklands incredible 2012 season, debuts tonight, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California!

OAKLAND -- A's pitchers and catchers report spring training on Feb. 11, and if that were tomorrow, manager Bob Melvin wouldn't have a problem with it.

"I'm thrilled to death about the team we have here," Melvin said after conducting a press conference as 2012 AL Manager of the Year. "But we have a propensity to make some moves to make our team better."

Indeed, the A's front office still has close to 90 days to add new toys before the team reconvenes in Arizona.

Melvin spoke specifically about three players Wednesday, updating their standing with the team.

Stephen Drew:

The A's declined Stephen Drew's 10-million option for 2014, but it's still possible he returns to man shortstop for Oakland in 2013.

Owner of a 1.35-million buyout, Drew is a free agent with the ability to test the market.

"We hope he comes back," Melvin said. "At the end of the day it comes down to what he wants to do -- whether or not he wants a long-term deal or to be closer to his home."

The A's acquired Drew from the Diamondbacks in August for minor league shortstop Sean Jamieson. Drew hit .250 with five home runs and 16 RBIs in 39 games with the A's.

Oakland has a hole to fill at shortstop after they traded away Cliff Pennington in acquiring Chris Young.

There are no free agent shortstops ranked higher than Drew, but Japan's Hiroyuki Nakajima, Alex Gonzalez and Jason Bartlett are all unemployed.

With significant outfield and pitching depth, it's also possible the A's trade for their next shortstop.

Jonny Gomes:

Jonny Gomes was not an every-day starter for the A's in 2012, but his impact was apparent in the clubhouse and on the field. His recognition with the 2012 Jim "Catfish" Hunter Award was evidence enough.

Melvin acknowledged the A's made Gomes an offer, but that the 10-year veteran elected to test the free agent market after the expiration of his one-year, 1 million deal.

"He probably has a bunch of people bidding on him right now," Melvin said.

It spurred the A's into a deal that landed them another All-Star center fielder in Chris Young.

NEWS: A's acquire Chris Young

Young joins Coco Crisp, Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick to comprise a deep and talented outfield. It seems to leave no place for Gomes, but the manager wasn't ready to concede his departure.

"You never know," Melvin said. "And I'd like to keep that hope alive because of what he meant to this team last year."

Bartolo Colon:

Bartolo Colon already inked his one-year, 3 million contract to return to the A's next season.

NEWS: Colon returning for 2013

And although he has five games remaining on his 50-game suspension and will turn 40 early next season, the decision was obvious to the A's for one reason.

"He's a strike-throwing machine," Melvin said of the veteran.

Another reason is Colon's flexibility. His contract, reportedly laden with 2 million in potential incentives, also contains language that leaves the bullpen door open.

"The focus is to bring him in as a starter," Melvin assured, "but we're keeping our options open."

Colon went 10-9 with a 3.43 ERA in 24 starts for the A's in 2012 and led the team in innings pitched at the time of his suspension.

Aside from Colon, the A's staff features only Brett Anderson with significant MLB experience. Tommy Milone, Jarrod Parker, A.J. Griffin and other options like Dan Straily and Travis Blackley were all rookies a year ago, so Colon's 15 years of MLB service are welcome -- in the rotation or 'pen.

Melvin was sure that Colon's PED-induced suspension would be forgottenamongA's fans.

"This is a true gentleman and a great guy," Melvin said. "He'll be embraced here again."

Hahn's excellence goes for naught as Angels walk off on A's

Hahn's excellence goes for naught as Angels walk off on A's

ANAHEIM — The night should have been about Jesse Hahn, who had every pitch working and rendered Angels hitters helpless over eight innings.

Instead, the A’s postgame comments Tuesday were filled with second-guessing and do-overs that they wish came their way in a 2-1, 11-inning defeat to the Los Angeles Angels.

The game-winner came off the bat of Kole Calhoun, who singled in Danny Espinosa from second to sink the A’s in their first extra-inning contest of the season. Ryan Madson went outside with an 0-1 fastball and Calhoun spanked it into left-center, a pitch that Madson said he never should have thrown.

“I wasn’t comfortable with that pitch,” Madson said afterward. “I should have definitely stepped off and re-thought it, so I didn’t throw it with conviction. It looked like it was off the plate but something he could handle. I learned my lesson to throw a pitch I’m convicted in.”

Calhoun swung through a changeup on Madson’s first pitch. Josh Phegley, who was behind the plate calling pitches, said he didn’t want to go right back to that pitch.

“(You) kind of obviously second-guess yourself after the game-winning hit is hit off a pitch you just called,” Phegley said. “I thought about going back to (the changeup). I saw in my head him kind of making adjustments and just looping one over the infield, getting the same result. … I thought it was a good pitch and I’ll trust that guy’s fastball any day of the year. It just was not the result we were looking for.”

Phegley was set up to be a hero himself, after he came off the bench to pinch-hit for Vogt and smacked the first pitch from Jose Alvarez in the 10th for a homer to right-center that snapped a scoreless tie. But Mike Trout — who else? — answered with a home run to lead off the bottom of the 10th off Santiago Casilla. He sliced a 2-0 pitch off the plate for a drive that cleared the short right field wall just inside the foul pole.

It was Trout’s 23rd career homer against the A’s, his most off any team.

“I don’t know anybody that hits a home run right down the right field line on a ball that looks like it’s by him,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “There aren’t too many guys that are gonna do that. Maybe he and Khris Davis. It’s not like it’s a bad pitch.”

Hahn wound up with a no-decision from an outing that might have been his sharpest as an Athletic, perhaps even more so than his shutout of Detroit on Memorial Day, 2015. He allowed just one hit over eight innings, facing two batters over the minimum in that time, striking out six and walking two.

“I feel like I literally had everything working for me today,” Hahn said. “I think it might have been my best command I’ve had of all pitches.”

Hahn, who didn’t make the 25-man roster coming out of spring, is finding his groove since replacing Raul Alcantara in the rotation. In three starts he’s allowed just nine hits and four earned runs over 20 innings, for a 1.80 ERA.

“He pitched as well as we’ve seen him,” Melvin said. “He had his best sink of the year by far. His best sink in a while, and a good curve ball. He really had it working tonight.”

Unfortunately for Hahn and the A’s, his excellent start didn’t come with a ‘W’ attached.

**

Melvin said center fielder Jaff Decker felt something in his foot on a steal attempt of second in which he was thrown out easily without a slide attempt.

“He got taped up and he was OK,” Melvin said.

 

Instant Replay: Casilla blows save in 10th, Angels walk off in 11th

Instant Replay: Casilla blows save in 10th, Angels walk off in 11th

BOX SCORE

ANAHEIM – After the A’s appeared to deal a knockout blow in the 10th inning, the Angels countered and ended up handing the A’s their first walk-off loss of 2017.

Kole Calhoun’s two-out single off Ryan Madson in the 11th scored Danny Espinosa and Los Angeles hung a 2-1 loss on the A’s on Tuesday to open a three-game series at Angel Stadium.

Mike Trout hit a game-tying homer off Santiago Casilla to lead off the bottom of the 10th. That came right after A’s pinch hitter Josh Phegley broke a scoreless tie by hitting the first pitch of the top of the 10th for a homer to right-center off Jose Alvarez.

For two teams who didn’t advance a single runner past first base through the first nine innings, the A’s and Angels packed a lot of excitement into the extra frames.

Phegley delivered the A’s first pinch homer in extras since Chris Carter hit one against Seattle on July 6, 2012. After Trout answered with his homer, Albert Pujols lined a single off Casilla, who came in having allowed opponents just one hit over 23 at-bats this season. Ben Revere pinch-ran for Pujols and stole second, representing the winning run with no outs. But Casilla buckled down and stranded him there to keep it a 1-1 game.

Espinosa led off the bottom of the 11th with a single off Madson, then Martin Maldonado executed a two-strike sacrifice bunt to move him to second. With two outs, Calhoun lined his game-winner to left-center, and Espinosa easily beat Jaff Decker’s throw to the plate.

A’s starter Jesse Hahn was outstanding, facing just two batters over the minimum over eight innings and limiting the Angels to one hit. The only problem was the A’s couldn’t get anything going on their end against right-hander J.C. Ramirez, who threw seven scoreless innings. All told, they struck out 11 times against five Angels pitchers.

Starting pitching report:
Hahn was as dialed in as he’s been wearing an A’s uniform. Manager Bob Melvin talks often of the upside he thinks the right-hander has, and Hahn demonstrated that Tuesday. He coaxed 12 ground-ball outs but also showed a good curve ball and struck out six. Hahn walked two, but after the one single he gave up to Marte in the fifth, he promptly picked Marte off first.

Bullpen report:
Sean Doolittle threw a perfect ninth to send the game into extra innings scoreless, and he struck out Kole Calhoun with two nasty sliders. Looking to protect a 1-0 lead in the 10th, Casilla fell behind Trout 2-0 and Trout sliced a homer to the right field corner that landed just inside the foul pole.

At the plate:
The A’s mustered just five hits total.

Ryon Healy, hitting .524 over his previous seven games entering the night, got a start in the No. 2 spot and struck out swinging four times in five at-bats.

The A’s got the leadoff hitter aboard in four of five innings from the fourth through the eighth but couldn’t cash in. And with the strong-armed Martin Maldonado behind the plate for the Angels, Oakland couldn’t jump-start things on the bases. Jaff Decker was thrown out at second so easily in the fourth that he didn’t even bother to slide, as it appeared either him or Healy missed a sign.

In the field:
In line with how well Hahn was dealing, the A’s defense played stingy. Matt Joyce made a diving catch in right to rob Jefry Marte to lead off the bottom of the eighth. Jed Lowrie made a nice play from the outfield grass to retire Danny Espinosa in the sixth. Credit Hahn for keeping his infielders engaged with so many ground-ball outs.

Attendance:
The announced turnout was 30,124.

Up next:
In the middle contest of this three-game set, Sean Manaea (1-1, 4.43) squares off against Matt Shoemaker (0-1, 4.98) on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. Shoemaker’s six homers allowed are tied for third most in the American League.