Athletics

A's roll out big-hitting high school picks

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A's roll out big-hitting high school picks

Gone are Josh Willingham and David DeJesus, yet the A's are reaping the reward from their departures. Tuesday they agreed to terms with five players from the 2012 First-Year Player draft, among them their 34th overall compensation pick David Robertson, and 47th overall compensation pick Matt Olson. Robertson's pick came as a result of Josh Willingham leaving, Olson's pick was due to DeJesus' departure.
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Both Robertson and Olson were drafted out of High School like Addison Russell --the A's first round pick. Robertson hit .560 with six home runs and 31 RBIs in 27 games this year. Olson is 6'5, 225 pounds, and he hit .353. They could represent the future corners of the A's infield. Robertson sees himself projecting out as a third baseman, Olson is a first baseman. They both looked a little wide eyed, and excited to be with the big league club. They were donned in full green and gold uniform. "It's been a little surreal. It hasn't completely set in yet," Olson said. "Being out here is awesome. These are major leaguers and being on the same field warming up with them, it's a good feeling."Olson said he was most excited to meet Josh Reddick, but got laughs when he said he didn't look at all like he does on TV. Robertson was most interested in meeting Kurt Suzuki and Dallas Braden because they have the same representation as him. Jonny Gomes also issued the young ballplayers their first official challenge. To hit a homer in batting practice.They both did. Being around the current A's players was neat for them, but it was former A's player Rickey Henderson who really got their attention. "Just being in the same five feet perimeter as that guy is amazing," Robertson said.Both Robertson and Olson will hop on a plane to Phoenix, Arizona on Wednesday. They will join Russell who is already working out there. They are excited to start working their way up the ranks of professional baseball, and feel the A's organization represents a particularly good opportunity. "Right when I saw I was being drafted by the A's, that was my first thought," Robertson said. "They move us through the system quick. Bring young guys through, that's what excited me the most about the A's giving us the opportunity." "Once I got drafted, I started looking at their system and stuff like that," Olson said. "I'm really excited to see how quickly I can move through. Hopefully it works out well."They'll have to do it in the A's traditional white cleats. Something both prospects are excited about. Olson actually wore white cleats in high school. Robertson had to get sneaky with it."I was always a white shoe guy, but they said mostly black," Olson said. "So I'd tried to sneak a lot of white in there. Now that I can show off the white all over, I love it."Q&A's Have you seen Moneyball? Olson: "I haven't seen moneyball I have to."
Robertson: "I saw moneyball, I loved it. The story, everything, I thought it was fantastic." What were you doing when you got the call?Olson: "I was just sitting in my basement with my family, and my high school coach came over, there was no certainty I was going to be drafted on the first day so we didn't want to have a huge party if it was going to be a disappointment. It was awesome."

Robertson: "Living in California, we don't really have basements When the A's called my name on TV, I was on the phone with my area scout, he said 'get your white shoes, your going to Oakland' and I heard my whole house just go crazy. It was something I'll remember for the rest of my life." Who are you most excited to meet today?Olson: "I wanted to see Reddick, just because of what he has done this year. I was surprised when I saw him, not that he doesn't look like a ball player, he looks different than he does on TV."
Robertson: "Kurt Suzuki and Dallas Braden, because we have the same agent."

A's blow it again in ninth, swept on walk-off grand slam in 10th

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USATI

A's blow it again in ninth, swept on walk-off grand slam in 10th

BOX SCORE

TORONTO  — Steve Pearce became the latest Blue Jay to hit a game-ending home run.

Pearce hit a tiebreaking grand slam in the 10th inning and Toronto beat the Oakland Athletics 8-4 on Thursday to complete a four-game sweep.

"Hopefully we just keep the ball rolling," Pearce said. "We're getting down to the end of the season so we've got to step it up and this was a great series to get it started."

Oakland reliever Liam Hendriks (3-2) walked the bases loaded with two outs before Pearce hooked a 3-2 pitch down the left field line and into the second deck. The grand slam was the second of his career and first since May 2015.

The Blue Jays won consecutive games on home runs for the first time in team history.

Kendrys Morales, who hit a game-winning homer in the ninth inning Wednesday, had two more home runs Thursday. Morales connected off Sean Manaea in the fifth and added a tying blast off Blake Treinen in the ninth, the 19th multihomer game of his career.

Treinen got the ninth in place of Santiago Casilla, who blew Wednesday's game. The Athletics have blown five of their past six save opportunities.

"We're just having trouble finishing off games," manager Bob Melvin said.

Toronto has hit four game-ending home runs this season, the third-highest total in team history. They hit six in 2011.

Josh Donaldson also homered for Toronto, a solo blast in the first.

Roberto Osuna (3-0) worked one inning for the win.

Marcus Semien had three hits and a walk for the Athletics, who have lost 12 of 13 in Toronto.

In the fifth, one batter after Blue Jays manager John Gibbons was ejected for arguing ball and strikes with home plate umpire Will Little, Stroman and catcher Russell Martin were both tossed. An irate Stroman charged toward home plate to confront Little, and had to be restrained by Martin and bench coach DeMarlo Hale.

Right-hander Chris Smith replaced Stroman and Miguel Montero took over for Martin.

Stroman allowed three runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings, walking a season-high six. Asked about the ejection afterward, he had little to say.

"When it comes to umpires or any of that, I'm not going to be making any comments about that," Stroman said. "I want to make my next start."

Oakland struck quickly against Stroman, scoring three runs in the first against a pitcher who had allowed just four earned runs combined in his previous four July starts. Ryon Healy drove in a run with a groundout and Bruce Maxwell followed with a two-run single.

Donaldson replied with a one-out blast in the bottom half, his 10th, and Morales connected to begin the fifth, his 19th.

Toronto tied it in the sixth when Jose Bautista hit a leadoff double and scored on Justin Smoak's two-out single.

Troy Tulowitzki tried to score from second on Darwin Barney's two-out single in the seventh, but was thrown out at home plate by a strong throw from right fielder Matt Joyce.

Manaea allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings.

"It kind of stings a little bit," Manaea said. "We had an opportunity to win and just didn't put it together."

Oakland broke a 3-all tie against Ryan Tepera in the eighth when Semien's two-out single scored Jaycob Brugman, but Morales answered in the ninth.

GETTING THE AX

Oakland RHP John Axford, the NL saves leader in 2011, was designated for assignment. Melvin said it was tough to cut Axford, citing his veteran presence in the clubhouse. Axford went 0-1 with no saves and a 6.43 ERA in 22 appearances.

WORST IN THE FIRST

Blue Jays pitchers have an AL-worst 6.35 ERA in the first inning.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: C Josh Phegley (left oblique) was placed on the 10-day DL and C Ryan Lavarnway was recalled from Triple-A Nashville. ... RHP Ryan Dull (right knee) was activated off the DL, taking Axford's spot on the roster.

Blue Jays: Quality control coach Derek Shelton replaced first base coach Tim Leiper (illness) midway through the game.

UP NEXT

Athletics: RHP Daniel Gossett (2-5, 5.40) starts the opener of a three-game home series against Minnesota. Gossett has allowed at least one homer in seven of his first eight starts. Newly acquired LHP Jaime Garcia (4-7. 4.30) goes for the Twins.

Blue Jays: LHP J.A. Happ (3-7, 4.13) starts the opener of a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels. Happ allowed a season-high seven earned runs in his previous outing, a July 23 loss at Cleveland. RHP Parker Bridwell (4-1, 3.09) starts for the Angels.

There was so much more to Bill King’s life beyond the broadcast booth

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USATI

There was so much more to Bill King’s life beyond the broadcast booth

When the Hall of Fame presents Bill King with the Ford C. Frick award Saturday, it will be big not only for the multitude of fans that listened to him but the colleagues who worked alongside the legendary A's broadcaster.

“I think he was the very best radio sports broadcaster we’ve ever had in this country,” NBC Sports Bay Area’s Greg Papa said. “He’s just a radio genius. To me, he epitomized the Bay Area as a sportscaster because he was the Bay Area. His word choice, his vocabulary, the way he was able to describe things. In so many ways he was the perfect Bay Area radio broadcaster.”

King was the rare breed of broadcaster, someone versatile enough and knowledgable enough to excel at announcing three major sports — football with the Raiders from 1966-92, basketball with the Warriors from 1962-83 and baseball with the A’s from 1981 until his death in 2005.

It was baseball that was nearest to his heart. And while his expertise at describing a ballgame was unparalleled, there was so much more to King’s life beyond the broadcast booth. That’s something current A’s radio play-by-play man Ken Korach discovered in the decade he worked alongside King after joining the A’s in 1995.

Korach, who chronicled King’s career in the 2013 book “Holy Toledo: Lessons from Bill King, Renaissance Man of the Mic”, found himself visiting art museums with King during A’s road trips.

“He was a patron of the arts and the ballet, the opera,” Korach said. “One thing that people may not know is that he was a wonderful impressionist painter. He painted landscapes that were absolutely beautiful, breaththaking.”

Korach has one of King’s paintings hanging in his den.

Like King, Papa also announced three different sports at the same time for a period — football with the Raiders, basketball with the San Antonio Spurs and baseball with the A’s. When he joined the A’s television booth in 1990, King was a crucial resource for him.

“When I began doing A’s TV in 1990, I would listen to Bill and have a legal pad out and take notes,” said Papa, who still calls Raider games. “It was better than any research I could do. He was so meticulously prepared.”

Korach chuckled when recalling King’s idiosyncrasies in the booth, such as insisting the window always remain open regardless of the elements.

“Even if it was December in Cleveland, and it was a Raider game and snowing and 5 degrees, the window would stay open,” Korach said. “He was real meticulous with the way he would set up the table when broadcasting the game, all of the notes in a certain place. And the wind would just wreak havoc. There was one game when literally I was on the air and he just took all of his stuff and slammed it on the ground, he was so upset and frustrated.”

For many years King was bypassed for Cooperstown, his excellence in three sports probably robbing him of being appreciated in one specific sport. On Saturday, he gets the ultimate tribute in being inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Korach and his wife, Denise, will be on hand for the ceremony.

“The most important thing,” Korach said, “is what it means to A’s fans, and fans in the Bay Area in general.”