A's respond to Eric Chavez's criticsms

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A's respond to Eric Chavez's criticsms

NEW YORK -- In Saturday's five-plus hour game the A's erupted for a franchise record three home runs in a single inning of an extra inning game. As they celebrated in the dugout former Athletics player Eric Chavez peered in and didn't like what he saw. According to a report in the NY Post, Chavez was irked by the A's celebrations. Chavez told the Post that he though the celebrations were "high school-ish," and "pretty unprofessional."The A's responded to his criticisms on Sunday and defended their actions. Veteran leader Jonny Gomes, who was the guy that had to green light Josh Reddick's "Pie-derman" celebration, said he believes the team respects the game. Gomes is very mindful of the traditions of baseball, and in the past has said he would never allow the team to do anything that he viewed as disrespectful. He didn't want to address Chavez's comments directly, saying he has no reactions to them. He did take the time to defend the A's rights to have a good time in the dugout. "I mean listen, you've got 17 rookies over here," Gomes said. "These guys are playing the game to have fun, they aren't playing the game to go to arbitration, they aren't playing the game for free agency. They are playing the game for fun, you know? "You take fun out of the game and you're going to have 17 rookies crumble," Gomes added.The A's have a loose and fun clubhouse and it is a big part of their success. They have never been accused of going too far in the past, even with the pies and MLB-leading 13 walk-off wins.To hear something like this coming from a former A's player, one that understands the dynamic of the A's team, came as a surprise. The Oakland clubhouse was often described as a frat house in Chavez's glory days with the team. Eric's brother Casey Chavez is still Oakland's bullpen catcher. Manager Bob Melvin did read Chavez's comments, and defended his team. "You know what I'll be brief on that," Melvin said. "We play the game hard and we respect it on the field. What happens in your dugout, I think if you look around the league and see some things you can pick something out of every dugout." "We try to play the game the right way on the field definitely," Melvin added. "If you try to keep things loose in your dugout there is nothing wrong with that."

Jose Canseco joins NBC Sports California's A's TV coverage

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AP

Jose Canseco joins NBC Sports California's A's TV coverage

MESA, Ariz. — Through all of the controversy and sensational headlines that have marked his baseball career and beyond, one constant has stood firm in regard to Jose Canseco:

The man speaks exactly what’s on his mind.

That will serve A’s fans well as Canseco joins NBC Sports California as an on-air analyst for A’s Pregame Live and A’s Postgame Live. He’s part of a revamped lineup of former Athletics who will provide their expert insights and opinions throughout the 2017 season.

“I’ve got quite a bit of experience. I’ve pretty much been there, done all of that whether it’s on or off the field,” Canseco said. “I think the fans can expect the truth — an honest opinion, honest analysis — and hopefully in some shape or form we expand the fan base.”

The 1988 American League MVP and first player ever to hit 40 homers and steal 40 bases in the same season, Canseco’s baseball resume speaks for itself. For so many fans who grew up with a “Bash Brothers” poster on their wall, he was the defining presence of three consecutive pennant-winning A’s teams from 1988-90.

Those teams dominated with an ensemble cast of contributors. But in a time period when the Bay Area produced some of the biggest superstars across the national sports landscape, no one’s profile stood taller than Canseco’s.

“I pulled his rookie baseball card out of packs, watched him play countless games in person at the Coliseum,” said Brodie Brazil, host for A’s Pregame and Postgame Live. “It still hasn't sunk in that we've added one of the Bash Brothers to our core of analysts. The kid and adult in me are both pretty stoked.”

Canseco retired after 17 big league seasons and 462 home runs, which ranked 22nd on the all-time list when he hung up his spikes. After his playing career, he wrote the controversial tell-all book “Juiced”, which blew open just how widespread steroid use was in the major leagues.

Canseco received a hefty amount of criticism upon the book’s release. But as the years have gone by and it’s become apparent just how many players were using performance-enhancing drugs, Canseco has proven to be much more credible with the claims he made.

“It’s kind of a double-edged sword,” he said of writing “Juiced.” “It made the game better because it made the game look at what was going on internally. On the other end, because I wrote the book and went up against Major League Baseball, I got excommunicated.”

He’s enthused about taking on his first role as an analyst, and he joins NBC Sports California at a time of budding excitement surrounding the A’s and the expectation of them building a new ballpark in Oakland. Canseco, the 1986 AL Rookie of the Year, played for the A’s when they were one of the Bay Area’s hottest sports stories.

He believes a new ballpark would create the needed buzz. And, it’s not surprising that he’s got a unique preference in what he’d like to see built.

“I’m hoping for a dome to be honest with you,” he said. “It can get cold (in Oakland). The ball doesn’t carry. I would push for a dome. I think baseball is so different from other sports. It’s definitely the best sport in the world. The Oakland A’s deserve their own stadium.”

OK, so perhaps a dome isn’t in the forefront of the A’s thoughts. But remember, one fan proposed to team president Dave Kaval the idea of a floating stadium on the Bay, so Kaval has heard wackier suggestions.

Canseco can draw on the experience of having played for seven different big league organizations in providing his analysis.

He was preparing for Game 3 of the 1989 World Series when the Loma Prieta earthquake rocked Candlestick Park. In the 1988 World Series, he was playing right field when Kirk Gibson’s legendary home run went soaring over his head.

He’s traveled a unique road in the game, and he’s willing to speak frankly about the peaks and valleys.

“It’s the first time I’ve gotten the opportunity to do something like this,” Canseco said. “… Maybe fans would like to hear what my thoughts are, how things can be fixed or made better for the Oakland A’s.”

A's spring training Day 41: Maxwell's two-HR day can't stave off bad news

A's spring training Day 41: Maxwell's two-HR day can't stave off bad news

PHOENIX — Bruce Maxwell homered twice against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday, and his reward was a demotion to the minors.

Awkward timing, for sure. But the news itself wasn’t much of a shock to the A’s catcher, who knew he was the odd man out in a three-man roster battle. The A’s like the left-right platoon behind the plate. Stephen Vogt, who like Maxwell hits left-handed, wasn’t going anywhere. Josh Phegley is back healthy after knee surgery and has the advantage of being a right-handed hitter.

“I mean, I could have come out here and hit 1.000 and I probably still would have been in the same situation,” Maxwell said. “I can’t really do much about it. I try not to worry about it. At the end of the day everybody wants to play in the big leagues, but if the opportunity is not there you can’t stress about it.”

Manager Bob Melvin gave Maxwell the news in the dugout after he exited Oakland’s 11-1 victory, and Melvin certainly couldn’t give Maxwell a justifiable reason for the demotion except that the roster math doesn’t add up.

“Great day to have to do that,” Melvin said sarcastically. “But, he’ll be here at some point. We saw his progression last year, he did a great job for us. There’s nothing he did to suggest he needed to be sent down. It’s just a numbers game for him right now.”

The A’s batted around in a five-run third, knocking Brewers starter Matt Garza from the game after he recorded just seven outs. They tacked on four more in the fourth, with Maxwell going deep to left-center for a two-run homer off Jhan Marinez. In the sixth, he hit a solo shot off Corey Knebel to right-center and also added a run-scoring single to complete his four-RBI day.

Melvin has spoken often of the improving power shown by the 26-year-old Maxwell, who hit .283 with a homer and 14 RBI in 33 games with Oakland last season in his first major league call-up.

“If you look at the power numbers over the years, he’s getting better and better,” Melvin said. “He’s got the chance to be a 20-home run guy in the big leagues.”

NOTEWORTHY: Jharel Cotton held Milwaukee to just a run on four hits over 5 2/3 innings. He bounced back from a wobbly start against Seattle in which he walked five. On Sunday, his toughest challenge was staying loose as the A’s offense put up two time-consuming rallies. Twice, Cotton had to play catch while his teammates paraded around the bases.

But it sure didn’t affect him, as he struck out seven and walked one in his second-to-last spring training start.

“This one, I was more on the attack, using my fastball more so I can set up my changeup and off-speed pitches,” Cotton said. “I know everybody raves about the changeup, but I need my fastball to be there so I can throw that pitch off the fastball.”

He had an entertaining ongoing battle with six-time All-Star Ryan Braun. He struck out Braun on a cutter in the first, gave up a homer to left in the fourth, then battled back from a 3-0 count to get Braun swinging through a fastball in the sixth.

“I got him twice, he got me once,” Cotton said. “I think I won that battle today.”

HEALTH UPDATE: Daniel Mengden, who has missed all of spring with a broken right foot, is scheduled to get his walking boot removed Monday. Mengden said he’ll stay in Arizona for anywhere from two to four weeks, taking part in extended spring training. The good news for the right-hander: He’s been able to play catch while wearing the boot, so that’s a bit of a head-start for him once he gets full mobility with his foot. There’s no timetable yet for his return.

ODDS AND ENDS: The A’s knocked out 16 hits and recorded double-digit runs for the fifth time this spring. They improved to 16-12. … Alejandro De Aza, fighting for an outfield roster spot, went 2-for-3 with an RBI to raise his average to .300. … With few regulars making the trip to Maryvale Baseball Park, second baseman Max Schrock came over from minor league camp and once again made an impact, going 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI. … John Axford threw a scoreless inning of relief. Frankie Montas handled the final two innings, allowing one hit with two strikeouts and a walk. The hard-throwing prospect is a candidate for the bullpen as a multi-inning guy.