A's notes: When they score, they win, etc.


A's notes: When they score, they win, etc.


OAKLAND -- The A's averaged a whopping 1.33 runs per game over nine games to close May and open June. They lost all nine of those games.

With a chance to suffer a 10-game losing streak on June 2, the A's put up nine runs and haven't looked back. Since their losing streak, the A's are 10-6 and averaging 5.81 runs per game.

Even after the recent tear, the A's are 26th in MLB in total runs scored with 254 in 68 games (3.73 runs per game).

The question is, who are the real Oakland A's? Seth Smith, who entered Tuesday's win over the Dodgers batting .433 with three home runs over his last 10, thinks he knows. "This is the norm as opposed to the exception," Smith said.

But Smith's claim seemed to contradict the night his team had at the plate. True, they put up three runs in the first inning. But an error by Tony Gwynn Jr. helped, and the A's finished the night 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

The A's drew 10 walks Tuesday, but they left 12 runners on base. While the three runs were enough for an on-point Brandon McCarthy, everyone in the clubhouse knows the team has to do better with opportunities that are handed to them.

"That plays on your emotions a little bit when you continue to have guys on base and you can't get 'em in," manager Bob Melvin said. But the patience of being able to make 'em work, get 'em out of the game early and get several guys in the game is good to have as the series goes on. But you'd like to be able to take care of those opportunities. We didn't."

Bartolo Colon is not on the DL...yet. His strained right oblique is like to land him there, though.

"There's reasons we haven't put him on the DL, but there's a good chance he'll go on," Melvin acknowledged. "When, I'm not sure yet."

Jordan Norberto made his first, and potentially only rehab appearance with the Triple-A Sacramento Tuesday night.

He pitched one inning in the River Cats' 5-2 win over the Fresno Grizzlies. He struck out Brock Bond and Francisco Peguero and got Eli Whiteside to fly out to right.

Norberto was placed on the DL retroactive to May 31 with a strained left shoulder. In 21 appearances this season with the A's he is 0-1 with a 3.91 ERA and one save.

Coco Crisp stole three bags in a game for the fifth time in his career Tuesday. The third was his franchise-record 36th consecutive successfully swiped bag.

Stan Javier previously held the A's record with 28.

The American League record for consecutive successful steals is owned by Ichiro Suzuki (45). The MLB record is held by Vince Coleman (50).

Grant Balfour's enters to Metallica blaring from the Coliseum loudspeakers, and the right field bleacher clan loves it. The heavy drums and guitar elicit a unique cheer, and it's tough to tell exactly what's going on amidst the chaos. They are either pantomiming racing Lance Armstrong on one of those hand-powered recumbent bicycles or trying to match Manny Pacquiao punch for punch. Either way, it's a lively scene in right field with Balfour warming up.

Balfour didn't give them reason to keep it up, though, walking the first batter he faced on four pitches.

A's spring training Day 42: Roster longshot Decker could claim outfield spot

A's spring training Day 42: Roster longshot Decker could claim outfield spot

MESA, Ariz. — As the pieces are beginning to fit for the A’s 25-man roster, Jaff Decker may be an unlikely feel-good story come Opening Night.

A non-roster invitee this spring, the journeyman has impressed with his all-around game to the point that he might make Oakland’s club as a fifth outfielder.

There’s other factors that play into it — how many relievers the A’s carry will determine whether they keep five outfielders — but things are breaking right for the 27-year-old Decker, who’s with his fourth organization and has never made an Opening Night roster.

When Jake Smolinski went down with a shoulder injury that required surgery, it thrust Decker into the competition. Then Monday, the A’s released veteran Alejandro De Aza, who had impressed this spring but had an opt-out clause in his minor league deal. The A’s think enough of Decker that they cut De Aza loose. On Monday, Decker returned from a minor oblique issue and started in left field, going 1-for-3 in a 10-3 loss to Kansas City.

“I’m super excited,” Decker said. “I feel like I fit in well here, and I get along with the guys really well. It’s a good group of baseball minds, baseball guys. I hope I have done enough and shown I’m healthy enough to land that spot.”

De Aza hit .300 in 19 games and displayed the veteran savvy that seemed to make him a possible fit on the A’s bench. Manager Bob Melvin expressed hope that De Aza might re-sign with the A’s if he doesn’t find a big league opportunity elsewhere.

But Decker, who bats left-handed as does De Aza, is hitting .308 and has his own attributes, including a strong arm and the ability to play all three outfield spots. It’s a nice package of skills for a player who, at 5-foot-9 and 190 pounds, doesn’t appear the prototypical big league outfielder at first glance.

If the A’s keep seven relievers, they will take five outfielders into the regular season. The decision on a seventh reliever appears to be between lefty Daniel Coulombe and right-hander Frankie Montas. But the A’s could hang on to both and only keep four outfielders, with Mark Canha being the fourth.

Decker fun fact: His first name is pronounced “Jeff.” He’s named after his uncle, whose first name was misspelled on his birth certificate. Decker’s uncle kept the spelling.

MELVIN ON RAIDERS: Melvin, a Bay Area native who is quite tuned in to the history of local teams, weighed in on the Raiders announcing a move to Las Vegas. That news has a direct impact on the A’s, obviously, as a co-tenant of the Coliseum with the Raiders.

“It’s too bad,” Melvin said. “Like us, they have a rich tradition and unbelievable fan base. They’re well supported in the Bay Area. It’s tough to have to deal with it.”

NOTEWORTHY: In his first start since being named part of the rotation, Andrew Triggs struggled mightily against the Royals, getting tagged for eight runs and three homers in 3 2/3 innings. While stressing that now is no time for complacency in his position, Triggs also said he was approaching the game differently than if it were the regular season. He kept throwing his changeup, his fourth best pitch, in an effort to get more comfortable with it.

“If this were (the regular season), we probably would have said in the first or second inning, this wasn’t so great, and gone out there and started back-dooring cutters and working off the sinker,” he said. “But we made a concerted effort to work on a pitch, it wasn’t very good, and the results showed that.”

FAMILIAR FACE: One of the homers off Triggs came from former Athletic Brandon Moss, who connected for a two-run shot in the fourth. The outfielder signed a two-year, $12 million contract with the Royals in the offseason.

ODDS AND ENDS: Coulombe had a great day, tossing three scoreless innings. That’s three outings in a row without allowing a run for the lefty after a rough patch before that. Melvin pointed out that the ability to throw multiple innings will be important if Coulombe makes the team. … Matt Chapman homered in the fifth, his third long ball of the spring. He’s hitting .261 and playing stellar defense. “He’s got a lot of enthusiasm and it rubs off on guys,” Melvin said.


A's statement on Raiders: 'We would be sorry to see them leave'

A's statement on Raiders: 'We would be sorry to see them leave'

MESA, Ariz. — The Raiders’ approval to leave Oakland and relocate to Las Vegas comes as the A’s are contemplating where to build their own ballpark in Oakland, with the Coliseum site one of the options.

The A’s issued this statement Monday after the Raiders got the green light from NFL owners to bolt for Vegas:

“We understand the Raiders’ need for a new stadium. Oakland is an incredible sports town and we would be sorry to see them leave. We commend the city’s and county’s efforts to keep the Raiders in Oakland. The Mayor and her team have worked incredibly hard to save the franchise. We are focused on, and excited about, our efforts to build a new ballpark in Oakland and look forward to announcing a location this year.”

The Raiders have one-year options to continue playing at the Coliseum for the 2017 and 2018 seasons, and they plan to do so.

The A’s, meanwhile, are choosing between four different locations in Oakland to build a new venue — the Coliseum, Howard Terminal, a site near Laney College and one near Brooklyn Basin.

The Raiders’ decision to leave doesn’t necessarily mean the Coliseum moves into the lead for possible options for the A’s to build. The site is viable, and there’s great BART and freeway access. The Coliseum could be considered the safest option, perhaps, because it’s a tried-and-true site that has hosted three professional sports teams for decades. The A’s know what they’re dealing with there.

But the A’s also want a thriving entertainment area around their new ballpark, wherever that might be. That sort of “neighborhood” would have to be built from scratch at the current Coliseum site, which is isolated from the multitude of restaurants and bars that exist around AT&T Park, for example.