A's pitch shutout, beat Brewers 6-0

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A's pitch shutout, beat Brewers 6-0

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PHOENIX -- Once Jemile Weeks got the ball in this rundown, he wasn't about to give it up.Weeks made a diving tag to nab his older brother Rickie in the first inning and finished with two hits in the Oakland Athletics' 6-0 exhibition victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday.Oakland left-hander Tommy Milone walked Rickie Weeks to lead off the game but picked him off first. Jemile Weeks was the last player with the ball in the ensuing rundown and chased his brother back toward first before going to the ground for the out, tackling his sibling at the bag in the process.

"He was acting like he was frustrated but he was all right," Jemile Weeks said. "He just looked at me kinda funny and gave me a little smirk."Asked if he ever considered throwing the ball to a teammate, Weeks quickly said, "No. Not a chance."Milone, one of four players acquired from Washington in the offseason deal that sent Gio Gonzalez to the Nationals, pitched three innings of one-hit ball. He struck out NL MVP Ryan Braun for one of his three Ks."It was a good feeling to get out one of the best hitters in the game right now," Milone said, "especially to do it for the third out and walk off the field. I didn't feel as good as I did the last time but I can't complain about the results."Milone, one of several pitchers in the mix for a spot in the Athletics' largely open starting rotation, is proud of the development of the pickoff move he used to get Weeks."It used to be just a show me' move," he said. "Now it's turned into, I wouldn't say a game changer, but it saves innings."Braun finished 0 for 2 and is hitless in four plate appearances this spring."I can only head in one direction," he said with a wry smile. "So the overwhelming odds are that I'll put one in fair territory one of these days."Milwaukee starter Yovani Gallardo allowed a hit and struck out four over two innings in his spring debut.Manager Ron Roenicke has yet to announce his opening-day starter, but the spring schedule points to Gallardo."I don't think it ever will (get old)," Gallardo said. "It's one of those things that's very exciting and everybody's looking forward to it, both the ballclub and the fans."NOTES: Braun received a rousing ovation from the pro-Brewers crowd, a decided change from Saturday when he was heckled loudly by visiting San Francisco Giants fans. Braun was caught up in a drug case during the offseason and recently won his appeal, overturning a 50-game suspension for a positive drug test. ... Brewers OF Corey Hart underwent surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee. Hart will be out three to four weeks. . Brewers RHP Francisco Rodriguez pitched the third inning and allowed an unearned run.

Padres trade former A's All-Star catcher to Nationals

Padres trade former A's All-Star catcher to Nationals

WASHINGTON — The Washington Nationals have reacquired catcher Derek Norris from the San Diego Padres for minor league right-hander Pedro Avila.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo announced the trade Friday.

Norris, a 2007 first-round pick of the Nationals, hit .186 with 14 home runs and 42 RBIs last season for San Diego. The 27-year-old is a career .233 hitter in five major league seasons with the Oakland Athletics and Padres.

Washington sent Norris to Oakland for left-hander Gio Gonzalez in 2011. He returns to the Nationals, who avoided arbitration with catcher Jose Lobaton on Thursday.

All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos is a free agent who will miss the start of the season after knee surgery.

Avila, 19, went 7-7 with a 3.48 ERA in 20 starts for Single-A Hagerstown last season.

Gray, others could generate interest as A's prep for winter meetings

Gray, others could generate interest as A's prep for winter meetings

The A’s certainly have a need to fill as they prepare for the annual winter meetings that begin Monday.

However, their agenda over the four-day event in Washington, D.C. could go any number of directions, and that lends an element of the unknown.

Two winters ago, they clearly had ambitions to trade Jeff Samardzija and Brandon Moss as part of a grander roster overhaul. Both players indeed got dealt at the winter meetings. Last year, it was no secret they were looking to unload infielder Brett Lawrie, and he was shipped to the White Sox the night before the meetings wrapped.

This winter, the A’s most pressing need is an everyday center fielder. They’ve said they’ll explore free agency and trades to fill that void. But with the prevailing logic that the A’s might be a couple years from seriously contending again in the American League West, how seriously could they consider dealing front-line pieces such as starter Sonny Gray or catcher Stephen Vogt? They’re showing at least a willingness to listen on both players along with other veterans.

All general manager David Forst guarantees is that the A’s are keeping every option open.

“I don’t really know what conversations are going to come up,” Forst said earlier this week. “We’ve made major additions, we’ve made big trades in the past. Those things are always a possibility. We’re going to be opportunistic depending on how things go the next month or so.”

The A’s have also stayed quiet during past winter meetings, laying the groundwork for moves behind closed doors, only to strike shortly after the event wraps.

At the heart of any moves Oakland considers must be this question: How aggressive do they want to be making upgrades for 2017, given they’ve got a young core of up-and-coming talent in place that would suggest patience is the best route?

The A’s have a solid base of young starting pitching — some of it has appeared in the majors already, some of it’s getting close and some is at least a couple years away. There are also some promising position-player prospects that are knocking on the door of being potential contributors.

Given the gradual cut-off of revenue-sharing money heading the A’s way as part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, it’s hard to see them throwing big dollars at free agents until they’ve got a plan for a new ballpark. Trading away top prospects to bring in a big-name player also seems to run counter to their big-picture outlook.

But to hear Forst tell it, the A’s will keep an open mind to all possibilities.

“We’re listening more than anything,” Forst said. “We have a strong foundation here, and it’s centered around our starting pitching. There’s a good young group of starters we’re gonna build on. We have a good base in the bullpen that was one of our strengths last year, and ultimately the position players are hopefully going to grow with that group. …

“Guys like (prospects Franklin) Barreto and (Matt) Chapman are coming at some point. There’s kind of a formula for this team to grow together. I think we’re looking to be patient with that process but also listen to what opportunities that may be out there. There’s always a lot of trade conversations leading up to and at the winter meetings. I don’t expect that will be any different this year.”