A's react to the addition of Stephen Drew

670088.jpg

A's react to the addition of Stephen Drew

OAKLAND -- A's players found out they had a new teammate during the seventh inning of their Monday game against the Minnesota Twins when it was announced over the public address system. Before shortstop Adam Rosales stepped to the plate it was announced over the in-stadium speakers that Stephen Drew had been acquired by the Oakland Athletics from the Diamondbacks for Single-A infielder Sean Jamieson. Rosales popped out. This season A's shortstops are hitting an MLB-worst .187. Oakland had been actively trying to upgrade at the shortstop position. They finally got their man. Drew will be reporting to the A's on Tuesday and a corresponding roster move will be made prior to the game. "We've been looking for a few weeks since before the deadline to see if there was a chance to get this team some added help," A's assistant general manager David Forst said. "It worked out with the Diamondbacks because Stephen Drew was available." How much of an upgrade Drew actually is remains a huge question. Drew, 29, is batting .069 (2 for 29) in his last nine games. He is batting .193 in 40 games this season after returning from a fractured ankle sustained on July 20, 2011. He missed a total of 137 games with the injury."At times and certainly before his injury he was a pretty good offensive player," Forst said. "He's shown that occasionally since he's been back this year. Hopefully coming here gives him a little added boost and gives us a boost as well."Drew is a career .266 hitter with 72 home runs and 333 RBIs in 773 games. He has a .328 career on-base percentage. His best year was in 2008 when he batted .291 with 44 doubles, 11 triples, 21 homers, and 67 RBIs. He was named the Diamondbacks player of the year that season. His manager at the time was Bob Melvin. Melvin managed Arizona from 2005-2009. He didn't want to talk much about the addition of Drew after the team's 7-2 loss to the Twins. "I think in fairness to everyone in the clubhouse I'd prefer not to get into it too much," Melvin said. "I do know Stephen. He is a good player, he will be a good fit here and lets just kind of leave it at that."The A's had scouts watching Drew before and after the trade deadline. Forst says they feel good about what they know about Drew because Melvin and bench coach Chip Hale have a history with him. "Anytime you are trading for a player that you don't know it helps when you've had somebody that's been around him." Forst said. "He's struggled a little bit as of late, but we think that player is still in there."The A's will eat the remainder of Drew's 2012 salary. He has a mutual option for 2013 worth 10 million dollars and a 1.35 M opt-out clause. Forst says they will see how he performs for the remainder of the season before making any determinations about if they want to keep their new shortstop around in 2013. The timing of the move to acquire Drew came as a surprise to the A's players. Especially to the team's longest tenured shortstop Cliff Pennington. "He plays the same position, so I guess we'll see what happens," Pennington said. Pennington was reinstated from the disabled list on August 7. He is batting .207 in nine games since his return. The addition of Drew sends a message that the A's are attempting to upgrade. "Hopefully he is a guy that comes in and fits in well and helps us win," A's starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy said. "But I think we are past the point of needing a spark. We just need to keep playing well.""I guess they are trying to make a push," second baseman Jemile Weeks said. "They're trying to improve where they feel they need to improve."The way the move was announced and that it happened at this late stage of the season may caught the players slightly off guard, but they understand that baseball is a business.."It's like anything where there's a new person coming in," McCarthy said. "Something has to happen to somebody you know and like. That's never a fun thing. That's why you hope someone comes in and plays well right away and you sort of smooth that transition." The A's shortstop position has been a revolving door this season. They have started Pennington, Rosales, Eric Sogard, and Brandon Hicks at that position. Weeks has had to adjust to a lot of double play partners. He says he is ready to adjust to one more. "He's a good player," Weeks said. "If he comes along and fits in and helps us win we are all for it."

A's spring training update Day 5: Rainfall makes for short workout

A's spring training update Day 5: Rainfall makes for short workout

MESA, Ariz. — The rain indeed hit Saturday, cutting into the A’s plans for the morning.

They wound up sending a group of pitchers from the minor league facility back to Hohokam Stadium to get their throwing in. But by the time the A’s called it a day shortly before 10:30 a.m., manager Bob Melvin said everyone who was scheduled to throw off the mound got to do so.

Sunday’s forecast calls for possible rain to throw another wrench in things. But the weekend’s weather predictions haven’t exactly been spot-on with the timing of showers, so who knows how it will unfold as Oakland hits the field for its first official full-squad workout of 2017.

The workout will begin about 11 a.m. at the minor league facility (Lew Wolff Training Complex) if the current plans hold.

HEALTH UPDATE: Sean Doolittle said there’s no timetable yet for him to throw off a mound for the first time in camp. Part of that caution stems from last spring. Doolittle, who’s been sidelined for big portions of the past two seasons with shoulder issues, went full bore from the start of camp last year, then had to back off for a bit in the middle of camp and then cram several game appearances into the final stage of exhibitions to ensure he was ready for the regular season.

This spring, the idea is to go light early in camp before gradually ramping things up for the rest of the spring and leading into the season, Doolittle said. Melvin said once the lefty begins appearing in exhibitions, he’ll be on a regular schedule like the other relievers.

“It’s just a matter of when we get him in there,” Melvin said.

Doolittle already had thrown off the mound in pre-camp workouts, so he said he’s not concerned about being held back right now.

NOTEWORTHY: By Saturday, the most noteworthy position player who hadn’t yet been spotted in the clubhouse was left fielder Khris Davis. Players aren’t required to actually show up by reporting day, just check in with the team. The first full-squad workout is Sunday.

The A’s still don’t have a timetable for reliever Santiago Casilla’s arrival, though a team spokesperson said the wheels are in motion for his travel paperwork to soon be cleared in the Dominican Republic.

ODDS AND ENDS: Pitchers will throw live batting practice to hitters Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, the A’s will hold simulated games and Thursday will feature more of an intrasquad-style game with an actual defense playing behind the pitcher as he throws to hitters. It’s all in preparation for next Saturday’s Cactus League opener on the road against the Cubs.

Fully healthy, Lowrie ready to man second base for A's

Fully healthy, Lowrie ready to man second base for A's

MESA, Ariz. — Doctors have done lots of repair work on Jed Lowrie since you last saw him in the A’s lineup, and he hopes that translates to a better season than what he endured a year ago.

Lowrie reported to camp on a rain-soaked Saturday in the desert, saying he enjoyed a productive winter coming off surgery to repair ligament damage and remove a bunion and cyst in his left foot. The switch-hitting second baseman was running by mid-November and says he essentially did the same offseason training he would normally do if not coming back from an injury.

“I haven’t talked to them about what they plan for me this spring, but I’ve done everything I can this offseason — running in spikes on the field, hitting on the field,” Lowrie said. “I just need to be in a team setting now, and I feel great.”

Just as beneficial might be another procedure he had in September to correct a deviated nasal septum, which affected his breathing while he slept and thus his quality of rest.

“If you look at it, how constricted my airway was, I’ve probably been sleep-deprived for nine years,” Lowrie said. “That’s not something that changes overnight, but that certainly made a big difference in my training and everything this offseason. I would sleep nine to 10 hours at night before and wake up still feeling tired. I was trying to figure out what was going on.”

Lowrie and wife Milessa recently welcomed their second child, Miles, and Lowrie joked that he’s gotten better sleep while caring for a four-month-old son than he did before his nasal surgery.

The 32-year-old was limited to 87 games last season, hitting .263 with two homers and just 27 RBI. After his season ended in early August, the A’s eventually promoted Joey Wendle from Triple-A Nashville, and he showed some nice flashes as the regular second baseman. Another rookie, Chad Pinder, also got some innings there. But manager Bob Melvin made it clear that Lowrie remains his starting second baseman if fully healthy.

With that in mind, Melvin said Lowrie will have a light playing schedule early in the Cactus League season, which begins next Saturday for Oakland.

“Veterans like him, I probably don’t bring along as quickly, especially with the amount of games (the A’s have), but as far as actually being out there physically, he’s ready to go.”

Melvin likes to say he can bat Lowrie anywhere in the order and the switch hitter adapts well. Should Lowrie bat second, where he spent most of last season when healthy, he’ll have a new leadoff man in front of him with Rajai Davis.

“He’s a great leadoff guy, a great speed player,” Lowrie said. “He’s been around this league a long time and knows how to do it.”

Lowrie, who will earn $6.5 million in the final season of a three-year contract he signed with Houston, got plenty of work in the batting cage over the winter. He also got through agility drills with no problem, and that could help him defensively.

“I look back at last year, how compromised I was and all the adjustments you make to try to play when you’re hurt,” he said. “I’ve gotten into a good routine to try to correct some of those bad habits that were created last year.”