Athletics

A's players applaud ballpark announcement, but how many will get to play in it?

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AP

A's players applaud ballpark announcement, but how many will get to play in it?

BOSTON — The A’s announcement of a location to build their ballpark made Wednesday a potentially pivotal day in franchise history.

But with a five-year timeline, at minimum, before that stadium would open, the news wasn’t exactly the talk of the A’s clubhouse before Wednesday’s game against the Red Sox.

Shortstop Marcus Semien, a Bay Area native, expressed happiness for the A’s organization, their fans and the city of Oakland at the announced plan to build a venue near Lake Merritt, just down the street from Laney College.

But knowing how often the roster turns over, he wondered who on the A’s current team might still be wearing an Oakland uniform by the proposed grand opening, set for the start of the 2023 season.

“I don’t know when it’s gonna be finished, but hopefully some of us get to experience playing in it,” said the 26-year-old Semien, who is eligible for free agency after the 2020 season. “Maybe some of the guys in the minor leagues might be able to. It depends on who’s here and who’s not. But either way, (it’d be great) if we can play in it — for the A’s or for someone else.”

Outfielder Matt Joyce shared the same sentiment, saying he was happy for fans but admitting it was tough to get too pumped about a plan that’s so far down the road.

The A’s built in that five-year cushion to complete an expansive to-do list.

They’re aiming to buy a 13-acre plot of land that currently houses the Peralta Community College District headquarters. Before the first shovel hits dirt in 2021 at that location, team president Dave Kaval anticipates taking one year to continue meeting with Peralta officials as well as local residents and business owners, many of whom have expressed skepticism about building a ballpark in the area.

Another two years is expected to acquire all the needed permits, complete the necessary environmental reviews and finalize ballpark design.

The upshot is the A’s are looking at another five years playing at the Coliseum. And given that, it’s worth taking into consideration what changes and improvements the A’s might aim to make to their current home. They’ve already made attempts this year to improve the fan experience at the Coliseum, adding food trucks and opening Shibe Park Tavern inside the stadium.

It’s a solid bet they gradually look to improve things from a team and player perspective. Earlier this season, Kaval told NBC Sports California that after the Raiders leave for Las Vegas, he has designs on possibly taking over the Raiders’ locker room space and making it the A’s new clubhouse.

Manager Bob Melvin would be a big fan of that idea.

“That would be great,” he said Wednesday. “Look, I’m a Raider fan, and I don’t want to see them go. But the fact of the matter is they are gonna go, and there is more space at our ballpark for us to be able to take advantage of, whether it’s training room space, whether it’s weight room type space, whether it’s expanding the clubhouse. Those would be important things for us, and we would have the ability to do that once the Raiders leave.”

The Raiders’ lease runs through the 2018 season, but owner Mark Davis has mentioned a desire to possibly play at the Coliseum in 2019 before his team’s Vegas stadium is ready in 2020.

A by-the-numbers look at Matt Olson's home run tear

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USATI

A by-the-numbers look at Matt Olson's home run tear

When it comes to power hitting, rookie first baseman Matt Olson has enjoyed one of the most impressive career-opening stretches in A’s history.

He went deep again in Monday night’s 8-3 victory over Detroit. Although he’s only played in roughly one-third of Oakland’s games this year, Olson has vaulted into a tie for fourth on the team with 22 homers this season.

Here’s a glance inside some of the numbers behind the rookie’s home run tear:

22 — Olson’s 2017 —and career — home run total. Those 22 homers tie Mark McGwire for most in franchise history over a player’s first 65 games.

18: The number of times Olson has gone deep since Aug. 11, which leads the American League.

19 — The number of major league games Olson appeared in before connecting for his first homer. That came June 24. Since then, he hasn’t gone more than eight games in the majors without clearing the fence.

47 — Olson was the 47th overall pick of the 2012 draft, a compensation choice between the first and second rounds. He was one of a trio of high school infielders Oakland took with its first three picks that year. The others were two shortstops — Addison Russell (11th overall) and Daniel Robertson (34th).

At the time the A’s said perhaps they had drafted three-fourths of their future infield. But Russell and Robertson eventually got dealt. Now, Olson is part of a different young infield core that could include third baseman Matt Chapman and second baseman Franklin Barreto along with veteran shortstop Marcus Semien.

2: The number of players in the past 30 years to hit 20 homers in both the minors and majors in the same season. Olson has done it this year. Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton, who’s generating his share of headlines with his own power hitting, did it back in 2010.

103 The number of homers Olson hit over five minor league seasons leading into this year. That included a whopping 37 for Single-A Stockton in the homer-happy California League in 2014. In comparison, the 17 homers he hit each of the next two seasons at Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville looked paltry. Olson says he struggled for a while to trust his natural power stroke and not try to alter his approach too much to boost those power numbers.

4: The total number of major leaguers produced by Olson’s alma mater of Parkview High School in Lilburn, Ga. The others were outfielder Jeff Francoeur, infielder Jeff Keppinger and catcher Clint Sammons.

4 (Part II): Number of consecutive games Olson has homered in. That ties the Oakland rookie record for most games in a row with a homer. Dan Johnson also homered in four straight from Aug. 3-6, 2005. Extend it out farther, and Olson has gone deep 14 times over his past 20 games. And speaking of that …

14: Olson is tied with a couple of legends when it comes to most homers in a 20-game span in Oakland history. McGwire (1987) and Reggie Jackson (1969) also had 14 over their own 20-game stretches, and Jackson did it twice that season. (Hat tip to A’s P.R. stats guru Mike Selleck for several of these factoids, by the way).

23: Remember that Olson is just 23 years old. His 22 homers are the most in a single season by an Athletic 23 or younger since Eric Chavez swatted 32 back in 2001. Chavez also was 23 at the time.

Jharel Cotton suffers injury during pregame warmups, scratched vs Tigers

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NBCSportsBayArea.com

Jharel Cotton suffers injury during pregame warmups, scratched vs Tigers

A’s rookie Jharel Cotton was a late scratch from Monday’s start in Detroit after suffering a strained right groin.

Cotton began his typical pregame throwing routine at Comerica Park. Then cameras caught him grabbing at his leg. Shortly after, he walked off the field and long reliever Raul Alcantara went out to warm up. Alcantara made the start in the opener of a three-game series against the Tigers.

Though there was no indication from the A’s about the severity of the strain, with less than two weeks left in the regular season, it brings up the possibility of Cotton simply being shut down for the season. More detail likely will be given to reporters by manager Bob Melvin after the game.

Cotton is 8-10 with a 5.81 ERA in 23 starts this season.