Tokyo Diary -- First workout

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Tokyo Diary -- First workout

EDITOR'S NOTE: Kate Longworth is Tokyo-bound with the A's! Although it's not her standard practice to let strangers read her diary, she invites you to go behind the scenes with the A's up-and-coming players. Log on throughout the day for Kate's journal posts from Japan, and tune in nightly for her A's reports on SportsNet Central and NBC Bay Area. Whether the players are in the Tokyo Dome taking BP or trying exotic sushi, you can explore the streets of one of the most fascinating cities -- Comcast SportsNet is your ticket to Tokyo!
Tokyo Diary
Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saturday morning marked the Athletics' first workout at the Tokyo Dome. As we entered the Dome, after passing through security, we had to one by one, be let in to the facility through a pressurized door -- as to not offset the pressure inside, much like the MetroDome.Taking the field here, was incredible. The turf is in impeccable shape and the Dome, to me just looked like a thing of beauty. You hear so many stories about watching games here, how it is an experience like no other. And although there was just a handful of media members on the field when I first saw it, I could quickly envision what it's going to be like starting tomorrow, and I can't wait!And neither can the players. The team is currently in the visitor's clubhouse but will be moving over to the home clubhouse for some of the games next week. It's tighter spaces here than back at the Coliseum, but the players don't seem to mind one bit.Many of them brought along their own cameras and video cameras to capture the moment. A half hour before team stretch, most of the players were already out on the field taking it all in.The relievers found the bullpen placement interesting...it's behind home plate in a closed in room. So while a pitcher is warming up, facing his bullpen catcher, he can't see the action on the field. But Brian Fuentes quickly explained to the younger guys that there will be a TV in there so they'll know exactly what's going on.I overheard the outfielders discussing the Dome, jokingly concerned that it'll be tough to track a fly ball because the Dome and lights literally are the color of a baseball. Some of the players compared the Dome to Tropicana, but quicklyaknowledged it'll be a scene like no other when the fans are here.As the players took the field for the workout, we put amic on Jerry Blevins, and working along sideMLB Productions whomic'd Jonny Gomes. We'll be featuring this footage ofTokyoDome through the players' eyes on our Japan Special on CSN California."PlayersReact to a New Culture"I hung out in the dugout with the players as they came onto the field before stretching. We all commented on how unique the sunk-in dugout is with two rows of benches, and then two little seats above the steps for the manager and bench coach.And after we got over the new digs, we all recapped the first night in Tokyo. Luckily for the fans wanting to see good baseball from the A's, the players got sleep. I, however, did not. My body woke up at 6 am after a restless five hours of sleep -- maybe it thought I had to attend our3 pm newsroom meeting back home? Without Starbucks in me and minimal sleep over the last few days, I am guessing my internal clock will catch up, but right now the excitement keeps me going.And the players are sharing that same excitement. Tonight they have a free night, and many can't wait to go try some sushi and take in some of the culture."Money Matters"One thing that concerns the players is how much money they are spending. We're all still trying to figure out the Yen translation into US dollars. I've been told a roughguestimate is to drop the last two numbers and you will know a ballpark price range.For example, the soup I had last night was written in the menu at 1,094... so yes, I had a 10 bowl of soup!Wes Timmons was sitting with me when we learned of this shortcut translation...when we started talking money, he joked "it's fun, kind of like we're playing with Monopoly money because you don't really know what you're spending."After, we learned the Yen amount in US dollars."Ok, so I definitely should have eaten more at breakfast," Wes told me, moments after bragging about his great meal. "Apparently I spent 27 for the egg and toast I got at the buffet."It's humbling to see the minor league journeyman watching his dime. After all, he substitute teaches in the offseason to help makes ends meet for his wife and two kids... slightly different than some of the millions of dollars his teammates make each year."On Deck"Tonight we have a "Night on the Town with the Athletics." We will be dining with Brandon Allen, Josh Reddick and CollinCowgill and then hitting up a Karaoke spot. Rumor is Allen is pretty incredible. I am guessing more players will be stopping by as well, so I will send updates American Idol style on Twitter!

A's use three solo shots to avoid sweep vs Mets

A's use three solo shots to avoid sweep vs Mets

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK — Rookie Matt Chapman quickly atoned for a baserunning blunder by hitting a tiebreaking home run in the seventh inning that sent the Oakland Athletics over the Mets 3-2 Sunday, ending New York's four-game winning streak.

With the July 31 trade deadline nearing and far back in the NL wild-card race, the Mets now start a 10-game trip, and there's no telling whether veterans such as Jay Bruce and Lucas Duda will remain on the team when it returns to Citi Field.

Marcus Semien and Khris Davis also homered for Oakland, helping Bob Melvin post his 999th victory as a big league manager. Semien connected on the sixth pitch of the game, and Davis hit his 28th home run in the fourth.

Michael Conforto hit his 19th homer of the season and fifth of the Mets' 6-4 homestand that followed the All-Star break.

Oakland led 2-1 when Chapman opened the fifth with a double and moved up on a wild pitch by Rafael Montero (1-7). But with no outs, Chapman wandered too far from third base and was picked off by catcher Rene Rivera.

After the Mets tied it on an RBI grounder by Jose Reyes, Chapman launched a drive with two outs in the seventh. Chapman showed pop in the minors, and has homered four times since making his major league debut last month, including a drive Saturday night.

The Athletics made another mistake on the bases in the ninth when Jed Lowrie tried to steal second — with pinch-runner Rajai Davis already there, resulting in an out.

Rookie Daniel Gossett (2-5) gave up two runs and five hits in six innings. He snagged a line drive by Curtis Granderson just above his head in the fifth, preserving Oakland's one-run lead.

Santiago Casilla, a possible trade target in the next two weeks, worked the ninth for his 16th save in 21 chances. After Wilmer Flores singled with one out, pinch-hitter Yoenis Cespedes hit a flyball that got fans hollering it might leave the park, but it was caught way short of the warning track.

The A's improved to 3-10 in interleague play, still the worst mark in the majors. The start of the game was delayed 61 minutes because of rain.

Despite the defeat, it was not a total loss for Montero. He was 0 for 28 at the plate in his major league career before lining a two-out single in the fifth. He broke into a big smile and the ball was thrown into the Mets dugout for safekeeping.

Montero then scampered to third when Conforto struck out on a wild pitch that bounced toward the New York bench. Granderson's bid for a tying hit was caught by the right-handed Gossett, who took off his glove, rotated his left shoulder to work out a kink, spit, tilted his hat and shook his head as he slowly walked off the mound.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: Righty reliever Ryan Dull (strained knee) could rejoin the A's for the finale of the upcoming four-game series in Toronto. ... 1B Ryon Healy didn't start for the second straight game after getting hit in the head by a bad hop Friday.

Mets: Cespedes and INF Asdrubal Cabrera didn't start, with manager Terry Collins saying the veterans told him they could use a day off.

UP NEXT

Athletics: RHP Chris Smith (0-0, 2.77 ERA) starts in Toronto vs. LHP Francisco Liriano (5-5, 6.15). Smith made his first major league start earlier this month at age 36.

Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (11-3, 3.37) has won seven straight starts. He has a 1.51 ERA in that span, striking out 50 and walking 10. He'll face Padres LHP Clayton Richard (5-10, 5.35).

A's blow five-run lead, watch Mets walk off with victory

A's blow five-run lead, watch Mets walk off with victory

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK -- Wilmer Flores hit a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the New York Mets rallied from an early five-run deficit to beat the Oakland Athletics 6-5 Saturday night for their fourth consecutive victory.

Pinch-hitter Lucas Duda delivered a tying single with two outs in the eighth off left-hander Daniel CoulombeJay Bruce hit a two-run homer in the sixth to begin New York's comeback, and Jose Reyes tripled twice.

Flores connected on a 96 mph fastball from Simon Castro (0-1), sending a line drive to left field for the second game-ending homer of his career. That sent a frenzied crowd of 39,629 home happy - hours after fans lined up early in the heat outside Citi Field to get their Noah Syndergaard as Thor bobbleheads.

Matt Joyce hit a leadoff home run and Matt Chapman added a prodigious shot for Oakland, which scored four in the first off struggling Mets starter Zack Wheeler.

Sean Manaea took a shutout into the sixth but then wilted after throwing a career-high 115 pitches Sunday in his previous start, a win against Cleveland.

Hansel Robles (6-1) tossed a hitless inning to win for the second straight day.

MAN ON THE MOVE:
With Mets second baseman Neil Walker nearing a return from the disabled list, perhaps Monday in San Diego, Asdrubal Cabrera made his first major league start at third and played flawless defense after working out at the position once. Cabrera's only previous appearance at the hot corner came during his rookie season in 2007 with Cleveland. "He's a middle infielder who's going to play third base. Got great hands, great arm. He'll be fine," manager Terry Collins said. Cabrera initially balked at shifting from shortstop to second when he came off the DL about a month ago.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Athletics: Ryon Healy had a pinch-hit single after getting hit near the left temple by a bad-hop grounder Friday night. Healy went through the concussion protocol and was cleared, manager Bob Melvin said. ... Melvin said he would have news after the game regarding RHP Jharel Cotton, on the DL since July 4 with a blister on his right thumb. Cotton threw a bullpen Friday. Oakland needs a starter for Monday night at Toronto. ... INF-OF Chad Pinder (strained left hamstring) homered Friday on his rehab assignment with Triple-A Nashville and could come off the DL when Oakland begins a homestand next weekend. "That's kind of the target area," Melvin said.

Mets: Walker (left hamstring) went 1 for 3 with Triple-A Las Vegas at Memphis in the first game of rehab assignment. The switch-hitter has been on the DL since June 15. ... LHP Josh Smoker threw a scoreless sixth in his first outing since coming off the disabled list Thursday. Smoker had been sidelined since June 14 with a strained left shoulder.

UP NEXT:
Oakland rookie right-hander Daniel Gossett (1-5, 5.79 ERA) makes his eighth career start in Sunday's series finale against RHP Rafael Montero (1-6, 5.40). Gossett has given up 10 homers in 37 1/3 innings after yielding only four in 60 2/3 innings at Triple-A.