A's removing Coliseum tarps for rest of 2017 season

A's removing Coliseum tarps for rest of 2017 season

The A’s are removing the tarps off a large portion of the third deck at the Coliseum for the rest of the season, expanding the baseball capacity by more than 12,000.

Team president Dave Kaval made the announcement Tuesday morning on Facebook Live. Third-deck tickets will cost $15, and for the upcoming 10-game homestand that begins Friday against Houston, half of the proceeds from those tickets sold will go to Oakland Promise, a program designed to fund college for students in Oakland. The A’s are joining up with Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf in that effort.

“The fans have spoken,” Kaval said. “We’re taking off the tarps.”

Only the tarps on the View Level (sections 300-315 and 319-334) will be removed — those on Mount Davis will remain. But the extra seating will boost capacity for A’s home games by 12,103 to 47,170. Currently, capacity is 35,067, with an extra 1,000 seats sold as standing-room only.

Third-deck tickets for the upcoming homestand are on sale now at athletics.com, by calling 877-493-BALL and in person at the Coliseum box office.

“At the conclusion of the upcoming homestand, more information will be released regarding the sale of future game tickets in the View Level,” a team press release said, leaving open the possibility that prices can change for third-deck seats.

The tarps first were introduced in 2006 for A’s games and have been in place ever since. They were removed from the original third deck for the 2013 American League Division Series against Detroit, though seats on Mount Davis remained covered.

“We heard from fans that wanted us to open up additional seats including the upper deck,” Kaval said. “We want them to know we are listening to them and responding. While we are only opening tickets to the upper deck for this homestand at this time, these tickets will be available for all games moving forward.”

A's designate Stephen Vogt for assignment

A's designate Stephen Vogt for assignment

The A's designated for assignment two-time All-Star catcher Stephen Vogt, possibly ending the Oakland career of one of their most tenured players.

Also Thursday morning, the A's placed third baseman Matt Chapman on the 10-day disabled list with left knee cellulitis and recalled catcher Bruce Maxwell and first baseman Matt Olson.

The A's have 10 days to trade or release Vogt or send him to the minors, though it's possible he gets claimed on waivers too.

Vogt is one of the A's most popular players and a clubhouse leader, but has lost playing time recently to Josh Phegley.

Vogt's defensive cameo comes straight out of left field

Vogt's defensive cameo comes straight out of left field

OAKLAND — Stephen Vogt made an unexpected appearance in left field Wednesday night, and his performance got approval from a pretty good outfield authority.

Former A’s teammate Josh Reddick was watching from the Houston Astros’ dugout and thought the catcher-by-trade handled himself very well.

“I was talking to (Houston manager) A.J. (Hinch) and I said, ‘It’s gonna be interesting because you know at least one ball’s gonna get to him,’” Reddick said. “You start laughing because four of the five that were hit that inning were hit to him.”

With the A’s bench short-handed, manager Bob Melvin sent Vogt to left after he pinch-hit for Rajai Davis, and indeed Vogt got a workout throughout the top of the eighth. That added a bit of levity to a 5-1 loss that otherwise provided the A’s very little to cheer about.

They were bottled up by Astros right-hander Mike Fiers and four relievers as the Astros won their ninth in a row at the Coliseum and their third straight in this four-game series. A’s starter Sean Manaea was rolling through five scoreless innings before Houston blitzed him for three runs in the sixth. The Astros tacked on a couple more late runs against Oakland’s bullpen and that was enough on a night the A’s mustered just four hits total.

After Vogt delivered an RBI groundout that scored the A’s only run in the seventh, Melvin wanted to keep Vogt’s left-handed bat in the lineup, so he asked the veteran catcher if he could handle left.

“I said yeah, absolutely,” Vogt said.

It’s easy to forget that Vogt came up through the Tampa Bay Rays’ system playing a lot of outfield, and he played more than a dozen games in the outfield in 2014 for the A’s, mostly in right.

He sure got tested. The Astros’ first four hitters of the eighth all hit balls in Vogt’s direction. He got a routine fly from Brian McCann, a difficult low liner off the bat of Yuli Gurriel that he smothered for a single, a double from Alex Bregman that he did a good job cutting off and a sacrifice fly to the warning track from Jake Marisnick.

“I had the adrenaline shot run up and I was loose and ready to go,” Vogt said. “Obviously I was a little more focused than probably your average outfielder out there. I’m glad the first one came to me, otherwise I would have been sweatin’ it for a while.”

Vogt has lost time recently behind the plate against right-handers to Josh Phegley, who has done an effective job controlling the running game. And though you shouldn’t by any means expect to see Melvin running Vogt to the outfield often, you also shouldn’t assume it won’t happen at all.

At some point, the A’s figure to call up catcher Bruce Maxwell as part of the crop of young players they’re trying to give more time too. If the left-handed hitting Maxwell were to share catching duties with Phegley, and if the A’s were to trade Yonder Alonso (again, we’re talking ‘ifs’ here), it’s conceivable Vogt’s left-handed bat could be put to use at spots other than catcher, perhaps at first base or, in a pinch, even the outfield.

His old teammate thinks he could pull it off.

“I remember him playing in right in ’14 when I was (injured),” Reddick said. “He did a pretty good job out there, it’s not like he’s foreign to it. He knows what he’s doing.”