Melvin won't limit Anderson in Game 3 start


Melvin won't limit Anderson in Game 3 start

OAKLAND After starting rookies in each of the first two games of theirAmerican League Division Series against the Detroit Tigers, the As have thebenefit of veteran-by-comparison Brett Anderson starting a must-win Game 3. This series is kind of like a microcosm of our season,Anderson said Monday. Youve got two rookies and a guy thats been hurt 90percent of the season. This team has handled adversity better than any teamIve seen, so you wouldnt expect anything less.Anderson is coming off a right oblique strain sustained in astart on Sept. 19 at Detroit. The As 24-year-old lefty allowed three runs in2.1 innings in that start and is 2-2 with a 3.78 ERA in four appearancesagainst the Tigers.While Jonny Gomes joked that the As Game 3 starter ruins the rookierotation, its clear that Andersons teammates have plenty of faith in him, aslong as hes healthy enough to compete.I dont know how he feels, but he says he feels good, closerGrant Balfour said. He has great stuff. Hes going to go out there and do agreat job for us Im sure.As manager Bob Melvin said he doesnt plan on babysittingAnderson, despite the layoff from the oblique injury coming soon after an evenlonger absence from the game following Tommy John surgery.Not too many limitations, Melvin said. I dont think were going to doanything as far as his pitch count goes. Were just going to see every inninghow he feels and monitor that. Adrenaline kicks in and sometimes you have morein the tank than you normally would after a little bit of time off.
ENTEEN: A's won't change approach heading in to must-win game
Just like in his mid-season debut, Anderson wont get thebenefit of a meaningless game to get his groove back. Anderson made his 2012debut on August 21 and allowed just one run in seven innings as the As were inthe thick of a playoff push. Now, Anderson takes the ball in an eliminationgame against a tough Tigers lineup.So what does Anderson expect from himself?Just continue to do what our starters have done the first two games, Andersonsaid. Theyve given us a chance to win. I like the way that Ive been playing.Were down 0-2. We won three games in a row against the Rangers and I dont seewhy we cant do it again.For the As to shock the baseball world (again) Anderson will have to find away to quiet the bat of Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, who is hitting .375with two doubles this postseason.Ive got to keep guys off base in front of Cabrera,Anderson said. Youve got to go out and execute pitches and get him out justlike everybody else.
RATTO: A's philosophy -- 'Why the hell not?'
Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Monday that he plans to usethe same starting lineup he did Sunday against Tommy Milone, so Anderson knowswho the everybody else is that he will face.
Unfortunately for the As,everybody else has moderate success against him. Including Cabreras 3-for-7history, the Tigers projected Game 3 lineup is 11-for-39 (.282) with threedoubles, five RBI, five walks and six strikeouts against Anderson. ForAnderson, all that matters is the chance to make the first postseason start ofhis career, even if hes not 100 healthy.I feel good and the postseason, who knows when were goingto get back here, Anderson said. Youd like to say youre going to get backhere again. But you have to put the knicks and knacks away and get ready toplay, because everybody has them at this point.Anderson admitted that his velocity hasnt fully returned topre-surgery levels, but hopes he can still help Melvin by staying on theColiseum mound as long as possible.My bullpens have been strong, Anderson said. Its a Catch 22 I took sometime off with my oblique, so my arm feels good. Well let the game dictate whathappens, but hopefully Im out there for awhile.

Pinder's potential 'coming to fruition' in chance with A's

Pinder's potential 'coming to fruition' in chance with A's

OAKLAND — With so much attention focused on who might be the next wave of A’s infielders coming up from the minors, Chad Pinder is making quite a statement in the present.

Pinder enjoyed another big day at the plate Sunday with a two-run homer and a double in the A’s 12-3 loss to Boston. That came on the heels of Saturday’s 460-foot home run that made him just the fifth player to reach the second deck just above the Coliseum’s first level of luxury suites.

For fans around the country who might have seen that mammoth blast on highlight shows, it likely was their first introduction to the 25-year-old Virginia native. However, those within the organization witnessed Pinder’s steady rise through the farm system since he was drafted as a sandwich pick between the second and third rounds of the 2013 draft out of Virginia Tech.

“I don’t think it’s a shock what he’s doing,” said A’s designated hitter Ryon Healy, who was part of that same draft class. “I think he’s always been that caliber of player. He’s always had that potential and it’s coming to fruition right now and it’s really fun to watch.”

Pinder, who made his big league debut in September but began this season with Triple-A Nashville, is hitting .286 over 21 games with Oakland. He’s homered in four of his past eight, and he provided a boost over the weekend as the A’s took three of four from the Red Sox.

The right-handed hitting Pinder was in the lineup all four games — with the Red Sox starting lefties on the mound for the final three contests, the A’s stacked their lineup with righties, giving Pinder a stretch of consistent playing time.

He’s provided enough of a spark that he warrants consideration to remain in the lineup even though the A’s are scheduled to face right-handers during their two-game series with the Miami Marlins that begins Tuesday at the Coliseum.

Granted, it’s not the biggest sample size either way, but Pinder is actually hitting better against righties (.348, 8-for-23) than he is against lefties (.231, 6-for-26). Four of his five home runs also have come against right-handers.

Asked whether Pinder could draw more starts against right-handers, A’s manager Bob Melvin replied: “Potentially, yeah. You want to try to stay consistent with the lineups you have, but if you have a hot hand, you look for ways to get him in there.”

Working in Pinder’s advantage is the versatility he’s shown since being recalled from Nashville on April 16. The A’s always knew Pinder could handle second, shortstop or third as needed, but he’s also shown to be a capable option in right field with a strong arm for the outfield.

Pinder was the Texas League (Double-A) Player of the Year in 2015 and ranked No. 7 on Baseball America’s preseason list of A’s prospects. He’s making the most of his time in the majors.

On the minds of many Oakland fans is when a couple more infield prospects who are impressing at Triple-A — middle infielder Franklin Barreto and third baseman Matt Chapman — might get their first crack in the bigs.

Barreto, ranked as the No. 25 overall prospect in the majors in Baseball America’s most recent ratings, is hitting .311 with six homers and is tied with Matt Olson for Nashville’s RBI lead at 27. Chapman, ranked the 95th overall prospect, missed two weeks earlier this season with a wrist injury but has shown signs of heating up offensively. He’s hitting just .237 but has eight homers and 15 RBI.

Two other Nashville players, who have both seen time with the A’s, are putting up noteworthy numbers: Olson, a first baseman/outfielder, is hitting .276 with 10 homers and 27 RBI, and corner infielder/outfielder Renato Nunez is tied for the Pacific Coast League lead with 12 homers to go with a .245 average and 25 RBI.

The A’s are working with Barreto and Chapman to hone their approach at the plate and control the strike zone. General manager David Forst maintains the A’s will be patient with both, noting that Pinder benefited last year from a full season at Triple-A before his promotion.

“The calendar needs to turn over,” Forst said. “They need at-bats. Matt missed a couple weeks with the injury, but they just need more days and more at-bats. We don’t have an ‘X’ on the calendar anywhere where this is the day. We’ll know when it’s time.”

Axford makes his 2017 debut; Doolittle takes step forward to return

Axford makes his 2017 debut; Doolittle takes step forward to return

OAKLAND — The A’s officially welcomed John Axford back into their bullpen fold Sunday, and they got some encouraging news about another reliever.

Sean Doolittle was expected to only throw a flat-ground session before the series finale against Boston, but he wound up throwing 15 pitches off the mound as well. That’s the first time Doolittle has thrown from the mound since joining the disabled list May 3 with a strained left shoulder. Next up is a 25-pitch session off the mound Wednesday.

The early indications are that Doolittle’s current shoulder woes aren’t as severe as the ailments that sidelined him for major portions of the past two seasons.

Axford was reinstated from the 10-day DL Saturday for his own shoulder strain, but his season debut came Sunday, when he handled the eighth inning and allowed one run. He was sidelined during the season-opening series against the Angels when he hurt his shoulder while warming up in the bullpen.


All indications are that first baseman Yonder Alonso will be available to return to the lineup Tuesday for the opener of a two-game interleague series against the Miami Marlins. A’s manager Bob Melvin said before Sunday’s game that he considered Alonso as potentially being available off the bench. Given the A’s are off Monday, it’s reasonable to assume Alonso will be ready Tuesday when the Marlins start right-hander Jose Urena on the mound.


The A’s are plenty familiar with Red Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland from his days with division rival Texas. But Moreland continues to do damage against Oakland even though he’s out of the AL West. Moreland’s two-run homer in the sixth off Andrew Triggs marked his third homer of the four-game series, and his 19th homer in 80 career games against the A’s. That’s his most homers against any major league club.


The run Axford allowed in the eighth snapped a streak of 27 scoreless innings at home by the A’s bullpen. Josh Smith allowed five runs in the ninth.