Were back, and more chemical than ever


Were back, and more chemical than ever


--- The United Bay Area Chambers Of CommerceYes, were back, and better than ever. Bartolo Colon has just joined Melky Cabrera on the outlaw list, being suspended 50 games for rampant testosterone, and while you may not like it, it is what is it, and it glows in the dark.So we own it together, just as though they were the territorial rights to San Jose. Theres no need for us to be shy any longer. We are again on the cutting edge of syringes, topical creams, stuff you pour into your eyes, ears, nostrils and whatnot.So back off, all you outworlders. As Dobie Gray sang so many years ago in the song that should be the national anthem, The In Crowd, Other guys imitate us, but the originals still the greatest.Actually, we dont even know where the PED craze really started, just like nobody is actually sure what the first rocknroll song was. But the As of the late 80s were part of the first true craze (kind of the Sun Records of chemical enhancement), the Giants moved to the forefront when BALCO and session man Victor Conte had a series of hits in the early 2000s, and now in the space of a week, we get two more guys with the new synthetic testosterone craze.Which also isnt very new, except that baseball is now tracking more successfully for it.Now this may be a matter of shame for many of you, and you may choose to be either embarrassed or angry at this new development. If youre Buck Showalter or Jim Leyland or Mike Scioscia or Joe Maddon, you can fire out snot bubbles of fulminate rage about the advantages the As got when Colon was pitching, just as Don Mattingly and Kirk Gibson did a week ago.Well tough darts, middle schoolers. This is apparently what were good at finding and signing guys who have an athletic epiphany that comes in a handy tube.This is not to suggest that either the Giants or As actually knew Cabrera and Colon were packing heat, as it were. We have no way of deducing that without a handy paper trail that almost certainly does not exist. In fact, this is more coincidence than anything else.But appearance is everything in a shallow world, so we own what we have to own, and we will do it proudly."A FEW OF OUR GUYS CHEAT. GET YOUR 2013 SEASON TICKETS AND FIND OUT WHOS NEXT"

-- The Giants and AthleticsLook, we could give you some song, dance and magic tricks about how we abhor this kind of thing and how it makes us look bad, but youre not going to listen to that. If you think this is about the entire Bay Area, we cant help straighten you out.So were going to wear the coat, and were going to be loud about it. I mean, if you have to take your medicine, its better to down it in one gulp, make that Hello-Kitty-Dropped-Off-A-Building face and get on with your day.So thats what were doing. Yes, baseball can fix some of its drug testing by making it perfectly transparent and independent, and Bud Selig can look all cross and bothered about how this affects his legacy, and we can all breastbeat ourselves into an angina attack about this.But wheres the fun in that?So screw it. This is us, for good or ill. Were back, and more chemical than ever. You thought we were out of the loop, but you cannot keep us down forever. Your favorite team will be next. Your favorite player will take a 50 for eye of newt concentrate, Brazilian wombat extract or pixie blood, but dont you get all smug and self-righteous. We were here first, and that will never change. So back off, pretenders."OUR BOUNDLESS ENERGY COMES IN A TUBE. ASK US HOW."

-- The side of every bus in the nine-county area.Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com

A's lineup: Alonso returns for opener against Marlins

A's lineup: Alonso returns for opener against Marlins

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Marlins-A's coverage begins at 6pm with Pregame Live on NBC Sports California and streaming right here.

After missing four games, Yonder Alonso is back in the lineup as the A's begin a series against the Marlins Tuesday night.

Miami Marlins:
1. Dee Gordon (L) 2B
2. Giancarlo Stanton (R) RF
3. Christian Yelich (L) CF
4. Marcell Ozuna (R) DH
5. Justin Bour (L) 1B
6. J.T. Realmuto (R) C
7. Derek Dietrich (L) 3B
8. J.T. Riddle (L) SS
9. Ichiro Suzuki (L) LF
Jose Urena -- RHP

Oakland A's:
1. Matt Joyce (L) RF
2. Mark Canha (R) CF
3. Jed Lowrie (S) 2B
4. Khris Davis (R) LF
5. Yonder Alonso (L) 1B
6. Ryon Healy (R) DH
7. Stephen Vogt (L) C
8. Trevor Plouffe (R) 3B
9. Adam Rosales (R) SS
Jesse Hahn -- RHP

Pinder's potential 'coming to fruition' in chance with A's

Pinder's potential 'coming to fruition' in chance with A's

OAKLAND — With so much attention focused on who might be the next wave of A’s infielders coming up from the minors, Chad Pinder is making quite a statement in the present.

Pinder enjoyed another big day at the plate Sunday with a two-run homer and a double in the A’s 12-3 loss to Boston. That came on the heels of Saturday’s 460-foot home run that made him just the fifth player to reach the second deck just above the Coliseum’s first level of luxury suites.

For fans around the country who might have seen that mammoth blast on highlight shows, it likely was their first introduction to the 25-year-old Virginia native. However, those within the organization witnessed Pinder’s steady rise through the farm system since he was drafted as a sandwich pick between the second and third rounds of the 2013 draft out of Virginia Tech.

“I don’t think it’s a shock what he’s doing,” said A’s designated hitter Ryon Healy, who was part of that same draft class. “I think he’s always been that caliber of player. He’s always had that potential and it’s coming to fruition right now and it’s really fun to watch.”

Pinder, who made his big league debut in September but began this season with Triple-A Nashville, is hitting .286 over 21 games with Oakland. He’s homered in four of his past eight, and he provided a boost over the weekend as the A’s took three of four from the Red Sox.

The right-handed hitting Pinder was in the lineup all four games — with the Red Sox starting lefties on the mound for the final three contests, the A’s stacked their lineup with righties, giving Pinder a stretch of consistent playing time.

He’s provided enough of a spark that he warrants consideration to remain in the lineup even though the A’s are scheduled to face right-handers during their two-game series with the Miami Marlins that begins Tuesday at the Coliseum.

Granted, it’s not the biggest sample size either way, but Pinder is actually hitting better against righties (.348, 8-for-23) than he is against lefties (.231, 6-for-26). Four of his five home runs also have come against right-handers.

Asked whether Pinder could draw more starts against right-handers, A’s manager Bob Melvin replied: “Potentially, yeah. You want to try to stay consistent with the lineups you have, but if you have a hot hand, you look for ways to get him in there.”

Working in Pinder’s advantage is the versatility he’s shown since being recalled from Nashville on April 16. The A’s always knew Pinder could handle second, shortstop or third as needed, but he’s also shown to be a capable option in right field with a strong arm for the outfield.

Pinder was the Texas League (Double-A) Player of the Year in 2015 and ranked No. 7 on Baseball America’s preseason list of A’s prospects. He’s making the most of his time in the majors.

On the minds of many Oakland fans is when a couple more infield prospects who are impressing at Triple-A — middle infielder Franklin Barreto and third baseman Matt Chapman — might get their first crack in the bigs.

Barreto, ranked as the No. 25 overall prospect in the majors in Baseball America’s most recent ratings, is hitting .311 with six homers and is tied with Matt Olson for Nashville’s RBI lead at 27. Chapman, ranked the 95th overall prospect, missed two weeks earlier this season with a wrist injury but has shown signs of heating up offensively. He’s hitting just .237 but has eight homers and 15 RBI.

Two other Nashville players, who have both seen time with the A’s, are putting up noteworthy numbers: Olson, a first baseman/outfielder, is hitting .276 with 10 homers and 27 RBI, and corner infielder/outfielder Renato Nunez is tied for the Pacific Coast League lead with 12 homers to go with a .245 average and 25 RBI.

The A’s are working with Barreto and Chapman to hone their approach at the plate and control the strike zone. General manager David Forst maintains the A’s will be patient with both, noting that Pinder benefited last year from a full season at Triple-A before his promotion.

“The calendar needs to turn over,” Forst said. “They need at-bats. Matt missed a couple weeks with the injury, but they just need more days and more at-bats. We don’t have an ‘X’ on the calendar anywhere where this is the day. We’ll know when it’s time.”