Athletics

Nakaji-mania running wild

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Nakaji-mania running wild

OAKLAND -- Hiroyuki Nakaji-mania is already running wild. The A's newest international signing's "sexy and cool" introduction to the Bay Area has spawned its own animated film.

The Taiwanese animation treatment is a twisted form of recognition, signaling that Oakland has indeed made its mark on the worldwide stage. NMA.TV, the company that produced the animated short, is famous for providing a very unique and extremely bizarre perspective on current events. The low-cost, two-year deal with a club option for a third year has already brought the A's all the attention of a mega deal at a fraction of the price. Now they just have to hope their 'Hiro' can back it up on the field.

Nakajima and Beane's comedic exchange during the media conference also caught the attention of our media partners Yahoo! Sports. They put together a list of the sexiest MLB general managers. You might be surprised where the guy that was played by Brad Pitt in a major motion picture lands on the list.

I can only imagine the time, energy, and careful inspection that our friend David Brown of Big League Stew put into the rankings.

All kidding aside, the signing is a low-risk, potentially high-reward deal for Oakland. Based on the personality displayed by Nakajima in his media introduction, he will fit in perfectly with the A's loose clubhouse. The 30-year-old shortstop says he can't wait to get to Oakland's camp in Spring Training and looks forward to learning from Rickey Henderson and Coco Crisp. They might also teach him to tone down his bat flip



Instant Analysis: Casilla blows it in ninth, denies Melvin of 1,000th win

Instant Analysis: Casilla blows it in ninth, denies Melvin of 1,000th win

BOX SCORE

With two swings, the Blue Jays delivered an absolute gut-punch to the A’s on Wednesday night.

Justin Smoak hit a two-run game-tying homer off Santiago Casilla in the ninth. On the next pitch, Kendrys Morales swatted a walk-off shot to give Toronto a stunning 3-2 victory at the Rogers Center.

That once again denied A’s manager Bob Melvin his 1,000th career victory, which the A’s seemed poised to celebrate. Rookie Paul Blackburn also had a much-deserved victory snatched away from him after he threw seven scoreless innings.

Oakland has dropped three straight north of the border since giving Melvin career win No. 999. A lack of offense doomed them in the first two games of this four-game series, and they got precious little scoring Wedesnday. But Marcus Semien’s two-run homer in the fifth seemed to be all the offense they would need, and the A’s took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth.

Blake Treinen handled the eighth to get the ball to Casilla, who’s had a turbulent ride as the A’s closer after signing a two-year deal to return to Oakland in the offseason. Wednesday’s meltdown accounted for his sixth blown save. He entered the night tied for third for most blown saves in the American League.

The A’s are short on late-inning options after recently trading Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to the Washington Nationals.

Former A's starter designated for assignment by Cubs

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AP

Former A's starter designated for assignment by Cubs

CHICAGO — The Chicago Cubs have cut left-hander Brett Anderson.

The 29-year-old Anderson had been sidelined by a lower back strain. He was activated from the 60-day disabled list before Wednesday night’s game against the White Sox and then designated for assignment.

Anderson signed a $3.5 million, one-year contract with the Cubs over the winter. He went 2-2 with an 8.18 ERA in six starts.

Anderson, who has been hampered by injuries throughout his career, is 40-45 with a 3.99 ERA in 133 games with the Athletics, Rockies, Dodgers and Cubs.