A's not rushing Cespedes back; McCarthy on track for Tuesday start

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A's not rushing Cespedes back; McCarthy on track for Tuesday start

OAKLAND Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, nursing a hamstringinjury, may have to wait until Tuesday to see game action, As manager BobMelvin said.Melvin met with the media just as Cespedes emerged from theclubhouse to test his balky hamstring with some running drills on the field.Ill probably wait through the off day to see where we arewith him, Melvin said. Theres always the possibility I guess that I can usehim to pinch hit. I think the way were swinging the bats right now, wereprobably better served to wait for the off day and make sure we get a littlebit farther with him physically.The As are on fire at the plate over their last four games, all wins. DuringOaklands longest win streak of the season, the team has hit .317 with 36 runsscored, 10 doubles, one triple, and 10 home runs, half of which were hit byBrandon Moss. Cespedes is tied for third on the team with six home runs this season and thirdin RBIs with 26. He has already spent time on the disabled list with a wristinjury.--As starter Brandon McCarthy, who missed his last turn in the rotation, is ontrack to start Tuesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Melvin said.McCarthy threw a light bullpen session Friday and will throw again on Saturday.This really does get him into his routine to lead up toTuesday, Melvin said. So hopefully all goes well leading into that game.Thats what we have planned for now.--Seth Smith is in left field Saturday with Josh Reddick serving as thedesignated hitter. The stats seem to suggest that Smith is much morecomfortable at the plate when he has defensive responsibilities as well.As an outfielder, Smith is hitting .337 with all six of his home runs and 15 ofhis 21 RBIs. Serving as Melvins designated hitter, Smith has struggled to thetune of a .178 average.Melvin said statistical splits were certainly a factor in penciling Smith in ashis left-fielder on Saturday, but not the only one.When hes DHing, he tends to stand in my way too much in the dugout and Icant see the game for a good portion of it, Melvin said. Whether hes doingit intentionally or not, I dont know.Melvin made it clear that Smith will still serve as his designated hitter, inaddition to seeing time in the outfield.I know he was happy about being put in the outfield today,Melvin said. But he does have to settle in and understand that there are goingto be days when he DHs. Thats what we brought him in here to do.--Tyson Ross starts his second stint in Oakland this season on Saturday, andMelvin explained the expectations of his young starter.Secondary pitches, getting ahead in the count, and working inside, especiallyagainst left-handed hitters, Melvin said. He did exactly that in the minors.He just needs to be less predictable.Ross was called up first on April 17 when the As needed a fifth starter, andturned in two outings of at least six innings pitched and two runs allowed orless. But in his third start, Ross was tagged for nine earned runs in fourinnings in Baltimore on April 28. He then posted a 6.53 ERA in May and his fivelosses led the American League for the month.

With division rivals dominating rumor mill, how will A's respond?

With division rivals dominating rumor mill, how will A's respond?

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — As you ponder what moves the A’s might make in the near future, keep an eye on what’s taking place with the teams they’re trying to chase down in the American League West.

The Astros and Rangers, who look like the division’s top two teams on paper, are in the thick of some of the juiciest rumors circulating on the first day of baseball’s winter meetings.

Houston already has made several impact additions this offseason, including signing former Athletic Josh Reddick to a four-year $52 million contract. The Astros, coming off a disappointing third-place finish in 2016, have also traded for catcher Brian McCann and signed outfielders Carlos Beltran and Nori Aoki, plus right-hander Charlie Morton to fortify their rotation.

Now the Astros are on the hunt for a top-flight starter to complement 2015 Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel. Reportedly they are a major player to land White Sox ace Chris Sale — destined to be the most talked-about name throughout these meetings — but it’s believed Houston doesn’t want to part with young infielder Alex Bregman, which might thwart a trade for the big lefty.

The Rangers, two-time defending AL West champs, also are looking for an ace-type addition to their starting staff with the possibility that Yu Darvish could leave as a free agent following this season. But Texas also has been linked to free agent slugger Edwin Encarnacion, and gets mentioned in trade rumors involving outfielders Andrew McCutchen and Billy Hamilton.

It’s no wonder the Rangers are on the lookout for hitters — they’ve already lost Beltran to free agency and could watch fellow outfielders Ian Desmond and Carlos Gomez and first baseman Mitch Moreland walk as well. One way or another, expect Texas’ roster to look drastically different in 2017.

The Seattle Mariners, who made a 10-win improvement last season over 2015, are very much in the market for a rotation upgrade of their own, and they’ve been aggressive with offseason moves under general manager Jerry Dipoto.

Don’t forget about the Angels, who are searching far and wide for a second baseman. If Los Angeles gets better health from its starting rotation this season, that alone could make the Angels more of a division threat.

How does all of this pertain to the A’s?

It demonstrates that climbing the ladder in the AL West won’t be an easy task for a club coming off consecutive seasons in the cellar. The teams expected to fight atop the division are aggressively trying to get better. And surely A’s officials take notice as they weigh whether to make significant moves to improve for 2017 or take a step back, evaluate more of their young talent in the upcoming season and lay groundwork for the future.

To that end, right-hander Sonny Gray’s name figures to surface throughout the four-day winter meetings, taking place just outside the nation’s capital.

The Atlanta Braves, an up-and-coming team that’s been linked to Sale and other top pitchers, have interest in Gray. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that the Braves and A’s discussed Gray but that Atlanta found the A’s asking price too extravagant, even though it didn’t include stud shortstop prospect Dansby Swanson.

The Braves do have some talented young center fielders — Ender Inciarte and Mallex Smith among them — and given the A’s great need at that position, it stands to reason at least one of those players would surface in talks between the clubs. Whether the Braves would part with either is another question.

A's outfielder Khris Davis to play for Mexico in World Baseball Classic

A's outfielder Khris Davis to play for Mexico in World Baseball Classic

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Khris Davis confirmed Monday that he will play for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic this spring.

The A’s left fielder, who led Oakland with 42 home runs and 102 RBI last season, was also on a preliminary list for Team USA, and he’d been weighing which country to play for.

“I’m just excited to represent Mexico and felt I should be loyal,” Davis told CSN California in a phone interview. “I’m flattered that Team USA invited me and was considering me, but at the end of the day they weren’t going to guarantee playing time like Mexico was. … (Mexico) has been on me for years, since before I was even a big leaguer.”

Davis was born in Southern California, but his mother, Sonia Alarcon, is from Ensenada, which makes him eligible to play for Mexico. He was exposed to the country’s baseball culture as a youth while traveling with his father, Rodney, who was a scout for the Dodgers and Diamondbacks.

“His mom is from Ensenada, I think he was proud to say that,” Team Mexico manager Edgar Gonzalez said. “People didn’t know that, and his mom and his whole family are going to be very proud of him to represent the country that they grew up in.”

Gonzalez’s brother, Dodgers star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, will also play for Mexico, and Edgar has visions of Davis combining with Adrian as part of a potent heart of the order.

“It’s a 42-home run bat in the middle of the lineup, which is pretty impressive,” Gonzalez said. “Those are impressive numbers for somebody in that stadium (The Coliseum).”

Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna also is expected to suit up for Mexico, and Davis said he’s hopeful that a good friend of his, Orioles pitcher Yovani Gallardo, also will be a teammate.

Mexico is scheduled to begin first-round play March 9 in Jalisco, so Davis will report to spring training with the A’s before leaving to play in the WBC. Major league clubs can’t prevent their players from participating in the event, although factors are taken into consideration if there is an injury risk. A’s general manager David Forst said early in the offseason that he had no issues with Oakland players taking part in the WBC.