A's option Carter, Taylor to Triple-A

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A's option Carter, Taylor to Triple-A

The Oakland A's optioned Chris Carter, Michael Taylor and Neil Wagner to Triple-A Sacramento and reassigned Erick Threets to their minor league camp, the team announced Sunday.

Carter played in 15 games with Oakland last season and hit .136. Taylor saw his first big-league action last season and hit .200 in 30 at-bats. Wagner, a right-handed pitcher, made six appearances out of the bullpen for the A's in 2011 and posted a 7.20 ERA.

Threets, a non-roster invitee to A's camp this spring, hasn't played in the big leagues since 2010 and spent 2007 and 2008 with the San Francisco Giants.

The A's have 41 active players remaining in camp, which includes 34 players from the 40-man roster and seven non-roster invitees.

Notes: A's OF Smolinski sidelined by sore right shoulder

Notes: A's OF Smolinski sidelined by sore right shoulder

MESA, Ariz. — Outfielder Jake Smolinski is dealing with a right shoulder issue that’s keeping him out of games right now.

A’s manager Bob Melvin is hopeful Smolinski might be able to serve as designated hitter soon, but he's having trouble throwing. The issue was bothering Smolinski when he reported to camp.

“It may take a little time,” Melvin said Sunday morning.

Depending on how long Smolinski is sidelined, it could impact his bid to make the club as a fifth outfielder. Khris Davis, Rajai Davis and Matt Joyce are projected as the starting trio, left to right, with Mark Canha likely to platoon with Joyce in right.

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Melvin finds his catching depth thinning out a bit. Matt McBride isn’t able to get behind the plate because of a sore lat muscle, and non-roster catcher Ryan Lavarnway will be leaving soon to join Team Israel for the World Baseball Classic.

That means Sean Murphy, a third-round draft choice last June, will see plenty of time in early exhibitions. Melvin has spoken highly of the strong-armed Murphy so far.

“We’re a little short, so Mr. Murphy is going to get some opportunities for a younger guy,” Melvin said. “It’s a nice little showcase with him to back up some of these games.”

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Ryon Healy will draw his first start of the spring, playing first base, Monday against the Giants in Scottsdale. He’s been nursing a sore quadriceps but ran Sunday and is cleared for Monday.

 

A's Gray won't pitch in WBC due to insurance company issue

A's Gray won't pitch in WBC due to insurance company issue

MESA, Ariz. — Sonny Gray won’t be an option for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, after the tournament’s insurance carrier declined to cover the A’s right-hander for the tournament.

Gray feels great physically now, stressed Oakland general manager David Forst, but last season Gray spent more than 60 days on the disabled list for trapezius and forearm issues, and he also finished August on the D.L. Both of those criteria landed him on the “chronic condition player” list that keeps players out of the WBC.

Astros catcher Russell Martin was denied eligibility for the WBC based on similar criteria.

As it was, Gray was only scheduled to join Team USA for the second round if the Americans made it that far.

“I know Sonny’s bummed, he wanted to pitch,” Forst said. “Again, we were excited to let him do that.”

‘It’s an unfortunate thing, but at the same time it allows me to slow down here and get myself as ready as I can for the beginning of the season,” Gray said. “I know it didn't work out but to have that opportunity to be asked to play is humbling and something that maybe in future can work out.”

MLB pushed for an exception to let Gray pitch, according to Forst, but it wasn’t granted by the insurance company.

“Nobody can play in the tournament if you’re not covered by the insurance carrier,” Forst said.

With Gray now out of the WBC for certain, the A’s pushed his first exhibition start back from Monday to Wednesday since there’s less urgency to have him ready for possible WBC duty. That had a ripple effect on Oakland’s rotation.

Minor league right-hander Daniel Gossett will now start Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels. Kendall Graveman, originally set to pitch Sunday, goes Monday against the Giants, with Sean Manaea also taking the mound in that game as was planned. Jharel Cotton and Andrew Triggs remain in line to both pitch Tuesday.

It’s an unusual turn of events, but the upshot is that three of the five players from the A’s 40-man roster scheduled to participate in the WBC ultimately will not. Left fielder Khris Davis (Mexico) and reliever Liam Hendriks (Australia) voluntarily withdrew. Reliever John Axford is pitching for Canada and fellow reliever Santiago Casilla is still scheduled to pitch for the Dominican Republic, though the longer Casilla remains out of camp while his visa process plays out in his home country, the more it would seem to possibly put his WBC status in jeopardy.

“At some point it may become an issue, but it’s not yet,” Forst said.