Ross excited for new opportunity in Oakland

794838.jpg

Ross excited for new opportunity in Oakland

OAKLAND -- The A's have added yet another live arm. All they had to do was make a phone call.

Tyson Ross has returned to Oakland for the fifth time this season, but this time he will pitch out of the bullpen. The East Bay native was last recalled to pitch in Bartolo Colon's place on August 23. He went six innings allowing five runs and was immediately sent back to Triple-A with a new role. "Maybe his best chance is in the bullpen," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "The stuff does stand out, and there's a chance coming out of the bullpen for shorter stints that the velocity may even pick up." Many have wondered if Ross would be better served as a relief pitcher. Now we get to find out for sure. The statistics certainly indicate pitching out of the bullpen will help the right-handed pitcher. First time through the lineup batters have a .247 average against him, second time though it jumps to .307, and the third time through it escalates to .397. "It's going to be a more intense focus as far as seeing one time through the lineup or one inning at a time," Ross said. "I think it's a little bit easier to lock it in on just those three or four hitters, not having to worry about mixing it up the second time through." Ross is ready to embrace the role especially because it means he gets to play for his hometown team in a pennant chase. "It's awesome," Ross said. "I've been an Oakland A's fan my whole life. I remember back in high school when those were the good days, it's exciting to be in the clubhouse, be down on the field, and help contribute."Ross says the team told him they were happy with what he's been doing on the mound. They let him know they wanted to put him in the bullpen for the season to relieve pressure on the guys that have been here all year. "It kind of sucked getting sent down but it was nice to know they were happy with the results," Ross said. "Whatever little bit I can do to help out and contribute will be a good thing."In his Major League career Ross has been a mediocre starting pitcher. In 13 starts for the A's this season he is 2-9 with a 6.45 ERA. As a reliever the team might be able to get the most use out of his talented skill set. He will be used in long relief for now."When he's feeling good he can throw 96 to 97-mph with sink," Melvin said. "At this point in time we are looking at more length but maybe down the road he is a guy that can pitch deeper in games." The experiment hasn't exactly gone as planned yet. He has allowed four runs -- three earned in two innings in Sacramento since being converted to a reliever. Granted, it is a work in progress. "I've done it a little in the past and had some success," Ross said. "I just have to learn from the other guys as far as getting my routine down and learning where my role fits in."

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's first road sweep of 2017

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's first road sweep of 2017

BOX SCORE

The A’s sprung to life offensively in the late innings Sunday and polished off their first road sweep of 2017.

They scored all five of their runs over the final three innings to beat the Chicago White Sox 5-3, continuing an odd stretch of streakiness. The A’s swept the New York Yankees in four at the Coliseum, then turned around and dropped four in a row to the Houston Astros before arriving in Chicago and taking all three from the Sox. It’s their first sweep on the road since they won four in Kansas City from Sept. 12-15 of last season.

The weekend’s events provided a morale boost for a team that began the series an American League-worst 9-25 away from home. The sweep also featured numerous contributions from a pack of recently promoted young players fresh from the minors.

The A’s had no answer for left-hander Derek Holland through six-plus innings, mustering just four hits off the veteran. But trailing 2-0, they got on the board with Jed Lowrie’s pinch-hit RBI double in the seventh. The next inning, Khris Davis singled home the tying run and Yonder Alonso followed with a go-ahead single down the left-field line to put the A’s up 3-2.

They tacked on two insurance runs in the ninth on back-to-back homers from Adam Rosales and Matt Joyce.

Sonny rebounds: Sonny Gray (3-3) avoided the early trouble that plagued his last start, working seven innings and being rewarded with a victory thanks to the A’s eighth-inning rally. He struck out seven and walked just one. That was a key as Gray had issued seven free passes combined in his previous two starts. Adam Engel hit a 2-1 fastball for a homer in the third, then Jose Abreu scored on a passed ball in the fourth to give Chicago a 2-0 lead. But Gray held the Sox to just four hits over his seven innings.

Sign of things to come? Franklin Barreto got a look as the No. 2 hitter in the order Sunday, a spot that some scouts feel he’ll be well suited for as his career unfolds. He singled to the opposite field in his first at-bat, then struck out looking in his next two trips to the plate. In the eighth, his broken-bat single to left jumpstarted Oakland’s two-run go-ahead rally. Barreto is 4-for-10 in his first two games with the big club.

Joyce provides a lift off the bench: Joyce entered as a pinch runner in the seventh and connected for his 10th homer, right after Rosales had gone deep himself. Joyce became the fourth Athletic to crack double figures in homers, and the A’s improved to 31-26 when they hit at least one home run (they’re 3-16 when they don’t).

Doo does it again: Lefty reliever Sean Doolittle continued to deal since coming off the disabled list. He threw a scoreless eighth with two strikeouts and has allowed just one hit over five innings in six appearances since his return.

An unwanted milestone: The Sox scored their second run on a passed ball by Josh Phegley, which accounted for Oakland’s 50th unearned run, most in the majors. They had just 43 unearned runs all of last season.

Former A's catcher Stephen Vogt claimed by NL Central team

Former A's catcher Stephen Vogt claimed by NL Central team

A new team believes in Stephen Vogt.

The former A's catcher, who was designated for assignment on Thursday, was claimed by the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.

The A's announced the transaction shortly before their game against the White Sox.

News of the Brewers making the waiver claim was first reported by ESPN.

The Brewers were the only team to place a waiver claim on Vogt, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

Vogt, a clubhouse leader and one of the longest tenured A's, hit just .217 with four home runs and 20 RBI in 54 games this season.