Norberto's regular season return in jeopardy

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Norberto's regular season return in jeopardy

OAKLAND -- As the days flip on the calendar it is starting to look less and less likely that Jordan Norberto will return to the Oakland Athletics bullpen before season's end. Norberto was placed on the disabled list with left shoulder tendonitis on Aug. 21 and has been out since Aug. 17. It is his second DL stint this season with issues in his throwing shoulder.Norberto, 25, hopes to begin playing catch soon. The team can't make any estimates on a potential return date until he picks up a ball and throws. "My arm is making progress and when I am stretching now I am not feeling pain like I used to feel before," Norberto said. "We are going to start throwing this week, I feel a lot better.""We'll take it day to day with him once he starts throwing. I am not sure how long it would take to get him in game shape," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We do feel like we have good depth in our bullpen, but man, he was a major contributor." Norberto says this injury is similar to the previous one. He missed 18 games with a left shoulder strain from May 31 to June 20. Yet, he has already missed 26 games during his latest DL stint. That may have to do with the cautious approach the A's are taking with him. "Now we have to be more careful because I don't want to be hurt again," Norberto said. "They want me to take care of it 100 percent before I come back." Norberto seemed to be fully recovered when he was activated from the DL on June 21; in 18 appearances he posted a 1.69 ERA. He emerged as a key component to the A's bullpen this season. In 39 games he had a 2.77 ERA, struck out 46 batters and walked 22 in 52 innings. Of those 39 appearances, 19 went for more than an inning. "If he doesn't pitch again he's already had a spectacular year for us," Melvin said. "He got righties out, he got lefties out, he gave us length, he pitched late in games, he could pick up a starter if he was struggling, he was as versatile as we have." Even without Norberto the A's bullpen has been one of the strengths of the team. A's relief pitchers rank first in the American League and second in the major leagues with a 2.80 ERA. Forced to sit back and watch, Norberto likes what he sees in his teammates' performances. "They've been doing a really good job in the bullpen," Norberto said. "They pick each other up like Jerry Blevins the other night coming in for Grant Balfour and getting a save, Ryan Cook made an adjustment and he's been very consistent. Sean Doolittle too, Pat Neshek, all those guys, they pitch really well."

Dallas Braden joins NBC Sports California's A's TV coverage

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AP

Dallas Braden joins NBC Sports California's A's TV coverage

MESA, Ariz. — Watching A’s games on television was part of Dallas Braden’s earliest introduction to baseball.

Years later, he would get drafted by Oakland and pitch one of the greatest games in franchise history. It seemed inevitable he would eventually find his way back to the only major league franchise he ever played for.

Braden will join Jose Canseco and Dave Stewart as newcomers to NBC Sports California’s lineup of studio analysts for A’s Pregame and Postgame Live. Bip Roberts and Shooty Babitt also will return as part of the rotation to join host Brodie Brazil.

[RELATED: Jose Canseco joins NBC Sports California's A's TV coverage]

Braden will continue in his role as a national analyst for ESPN. But the opportunity to return to the Bay Area and share his thoughts on all things green and gold is special to him.

“It might sound kind of cheesy, but it was a little emotional,” Braden said. “How I’m looking at it, it’s the first steps of getting back to being a part of the organization on more than just a surface level as a national guy. Now I’ll have the opportunity to dive in. It means a lot to me because I really do feel connected to the fan base as well. And I think it’s clear the organization has started a phase of transition. They have some new energy and new ideas from what I understand.”

Braden’s career stats — a 26-36 record and 4.16 ERA over five seasons — don’t tell his whole story. The left-hander was one of the A’s most unique and colorful personalities of the past decade.

Fans will remember him yelling at the baseball as he walked back to the mound after a pitch that missed the strike zone. He gushed with pride over his hometown of Stockton, to the point of getting “209” tattooed across his midsection.

But the afternoon that defined his career — and etched his name in A’s history — came on Mother’s Day, 2010, when Braden threw the 19th perfect game in major league history. Who could forget the snapshots of Braden embracing his grandmother, Peggy Lindsey? Or Lindsey’s memorable quote — “Stick It A-Rod!” — in reference to the run-in between Braden and Alex Rodriguez that took place weeks before when Rodriguez trotted over the mound while Braden was pitching?

The perfecto thrust Braden into the national spotlight. But aside from that magical day in front of the Coliseum crowd, his pitching career played out in unspectacular fashion. From that standpoint, it’s no surprise to hear Braden explain the lens through which he sees the game as a broadcaster.

[RELATED: Dave Stewart joins NBC Sports California's A's TV coverage]

“(Superstars) drive the industry,” Braden said. “But I think the personal challenge I’ve taken on myself is to try and get folks to appreciate some of the things that superstars don’t do. Some of the things that the Adam Rosales’s of the game do, and why it’s important to do those things.

“Running out a grounder … there are still some guys that don’t (crave) the spotlight but get the dirt underneath their fingernails, and I appreciate that. I want (fans) to appreciate a guy that goes first to third on a single. That is my challenge.”

Braden pitched his final game for the A’s in 2011. He tried to make his way back until shoulder injuries finally forced him to retire in 2014. He got into broadcasting shortly after, and his outgoing personality and sense of humor are a natural fit for the camera.

“It’s really come full circle,” he said of being an A’s analyst. “I grew up watching the broadcasts, watching the games. I got to play in those games. And now here on the back end I’m getting to call those games.”

A's camp roster now at 36 after release of Alejandro De Aza

A's camp roster now at 36 after release of Alejandro De Aza

MESA, Ariz. – The Oakland A’s released outfielder Alejandro De Aza, a non-roster invitee, the club announced today.

The A’s now have 36 players in camp.  That includes 30 players on the 40-man roster, which is full, and six non-roster invitees. 

The breakdown includes 18 pitchers, three catchers, nine infielders and six outfielders.

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