Beane hopes Manny will become 'restaurant-ready'

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Beane hopes Manny will become 'restaurant-ready'

PHOENIX -- Billy Beane successfully turned the Manny Ramirez signing into a two-day story Tuesday, which while he maintains is not the reason why the As signed the 40-year-old force of nature.

In fact, other than his new pet phrase, low-risk, he went to remarkable lengths to make this seem like a no-brainer baseball signing that had literally no asterisk to it.

RELATED: Manny set to join A's Friday

In double fact, when someone suggested that one of the high rewards of Ramirez would be that he could provide fat statistics for market come the trade deadline, he laughed a bit derisively and said, You mean like we have a 12-pound trout wed like to fatten up a bit and make restaurant-ready?

Therein lies the Beane conundrum he knows what everyone else thinks of the Ramirez signing, both good (he costs a pro-rated 340,000 and may still be able to hit like a dervish) and bad (hes a past-it rental who is just the latest version of Mike Piazza), and yet he wants people to see that he signed Ramirez because he might still be Manny Ramirez, available and eager to help the Oakland Athletics Baseball Club be a little more fearsome and a little less . . . well, you know.

In short, he wants Manny Ramirez to be thought of as his second Frank Thomas, rather than as the latest in a line of past-it stars who for the most part got a bit of early buzz then proved that they were actually out of options. And no, we mean playing baseball effectively options.

RATTO: Beane adding Manny a perfectly A's solution

In terms of the Manny signing, the one Id compare it most to is Frank, Beane said Tuesday, leaning against a dugout railing at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, yet another of the many parks and facilities the As are hoping to leave in the next few years. Frank was more expensive, and hed had some injury history, but his ending (with the Chicago White Sox) was not entirely pleasant, and we thought he had something left.

Which he did, as it turns out, performing as the closing act in the teams last playoff run.

But Beane also went to some efforts to leave the impression that if Ramirez hadnt worked out, there was no Plan B (Maggio Ordonez, Vladimir Guerrero, Johnny Damon, et. al.) to fill the DHfour-hole space that apparently cannot yet be filled by any of the As younger candidates, like Johnny Gomes, Kila Kaaihue or Chris Carter.

And while Beane also said, if one of them steps out and has a big first half, we are open to not bringing Manny up at all, that seems unlikeliest of all. Signing Ramirez and then not bothering to see if he has any Manny left seems even dafter than signing him at all.

To be sure, Beane is more than resistant to skepticism, as he has habitually chosen the path less taken sometimes to his greater glory, sometimes to his detriment. He doesnt mind the ridicule on the front end.

On the back end, though, he does have his ego investment, too, and the fallow years since 2006 have been dotted by signings like this that ran the gamut from ineffectual to wasted Piazza, Mike Sweeney, Thomas, again), Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Giambi and Hideki Matsui.

In short, Beane wants Manny Ramirez not to be viewed as what it seems to be a what-the-hell signing from a team that seems to do one a year, whether it needs it or not. And unless one of the DH candidates already in the dressing room (Ramirez is expected in work clothes on Friday) is planning to have an OPS like Mannys in 1999, he will get that opportunity.

And to be more than just your standard restaurant-ready trout.

Instant Replay: Manaea hurt in A's 8-5 loss to Angels

Instant Replay: Manaea hurt in A's 8-5 loss to Angels

BOX SCORE

ANAHEIM – The A’s endured one of those nights Wednesday when the scoreboard couldn’t convey the extent of their blues.

The tone of an 8-5 defeat to the Los Angeles Angels was set early, when starting pitcher Sean Manaea left after two innings with what was announced as tightness in his throwing shoulder.

From there, things gradually unraveled as the A’s lost their third in a row and took on what looks to be another injury to a key player. The seriousness of Manaea’s injury wasn’t immediately known, but his early exit added to the recent run of medical misfortune, as center fielder Rajai Davis, shortstop Marcus Semien and starter Kendall Graveman have all hit the disabled list over the past 12 days.

Graveman will be activated Thursday and start against the Angels, but Manaea’s condition will loom large as the 25-year-old lefty is considered a foundation piece for the A’s, now and for the future.

The A’s trailed 4-3 in the seventh when the Angels pulled away with four runs off Ryan Dull. Matt Joyce’s two-run homer in the eighth pulled them closer but they lost for the second night in a row at Angel Stadium and will have to win Thursday night to avoid a sweep. Wednesday’s loss dropped them back below .500 at 10-11.

Starting pitching report:
It was obvious early that something was bothering Manaea. His fastball, which usually sits in the low 90’s and gets into the mid-90’s, was hovering in the 88-89 range. The A’s led 2-0 before the Angels struck for three runs in the second. Danny Espinosa and Martin Maldonado each delivered RBI doubles that landed just past the diving reach of right fielder Matt Joyce and center fielder Jaff Decker, respectively. Another run scored on Cameron Maybin’s single.

Bullpen report:
Frankie Montas gave up a run over 2 1/3 innings after being called into early duty when Manaea got hurt. Dull, trying to keep it a 4-3 game, did not have his command in the seventh. He threw a wild pitch, hit Danny Espinosa with a 1-2 pitch and then allowed Maybin’s two-run single that keyed Los Angeles’ four-run seventh.

At the plate:
It was a big night for Yonder Alonso, who had a two-run single in the first and then homered in the sixth to pull Oakland within 4-3. Alonso already has four homers, putting more than halfway to his 2016 total of seven in the season’s first month. The A’s struck out 13 times, giving them 24 strikeouts over the first two games of this series.

In the field:
It took until the seventh inning for the A’s to be charged with an error that snapped their streak of six consecutive errorless games. Stephen Vogt couldn’t hold on to Dull’s glove flip on Martin Maldonado’s squeeze bunt. But even before then, this wasn’t a sharp defensive effort. Joyce got caught off guard in the fourth when Maybin tagged up and made it to second on a fly to right. Joyce’s gesturing afterward seemed to suggest nobody was letting him now the runner was tagging. An inning later, Decker seemed stunned as the lumbering Albert Pujols went first to third on Andrelton Simmons’ single.

Attendance:
The announced crowd was 30,248.

Up next:
Kendall Graveman (2-0, 2.00) is set to come off the D.L. on Thursday and make his first start since April 14, when he was lost to a strained right shoulder. He’ll be opposed by Ricky Nolasco (1-2, 4.76), who took the Opening Night loss against the A’s at the Coliseum when he allowed three runs over 5 2/3 innings. First pitch is 7:05 p.m.

 

Instant Replay: Arroyo, Morse go deep, Giants walk off on Dodgers

Instant Replay: Arroyo, Morse go deep, Giants walk off on Dodgers

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — Michael Morse hoped to bring a little levity to a battered clubhouse Wednesday. On his first day as a Giant since the 2014 World Series, he ended up bringing the most thrilling win of the season. 

Morse’s pinch-hit homer in the eighth shook AT&T Park and tied the game. His good friend Hunter Pence won it with a sacrifice fly in the 10th, giving the Giants a 4-3 win over the Dodgers. 

The 10th-inning rally started with Gorkys Hernandez’s single off Ross Stripling. Hernandez stole second and Conor Gillaspie drew a walk, and both runners were safe when Adrian Gonzalez went to third on Nick Hundley’s bunt. Pence flied out to deep left on the 10th pitch of his at-bat. The Giants had been 0-13 when trailing after seven. Morse  helped change all that.

Morse’s homer came an inning after Christian Arroyo’s first career homer. The newcomers saved a night that started with nothing but failure. 

The Giants entered with four games this month where they failed to put a runner on the first time through the order. Lefty Alex Wood stayed with the theme. Brandon Belt finally touched first with a one-out walk in the fourth but it wasn’t until the sixth that a Giant — Drew Stubbs — picked up a hit.

By that time, the Dodgers led 3-0. Johnny Cueto worked around some early trouble but Corey Seager got to him in the sixth. The young shortstop led off with a mammoth blast on a 3-2 pitch that landed a couple dozen rows up in left-center. The homer was tracked at 462 feet per Statcast, tied for the longest in the Majors this season.

The Dodgers went up 2-0 when Chase Utley blooped a single to left with the bases loaded. Utley was 1-for-31 at the time. Andrew Toles beat out a grounder to bring home a third run. 

The Giants looked dead in the water, but Wood — the Dodgers’ swingman — was pulled after 77 pitches and old friend Sergio Romo immediately opened the door. Buster Posey hit a one-out single and Arroyo lined a slider just over the fence in left-center.

Morse’s first at-bat as a Giant in three years sent an even bigger charge through the park. He got a 97 mph fastball from Pedro Baez with two strikes and blasted it to left. Morse held his arm up right away and screamed as he rounded first.

Starting pitching report: Cueto was charged with three runs on seven hits and two walks. He’ll finish April with a 5.10 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. After holding opposing hitters to a .238 average last year, he’s getting hit at a .271 clip this season. 

Bullpen report: Steven Okert did a great job of settling the place down, throwing a scoreless inning before Arroyo’s homer and retiring two more immediately after. 

At the plate: The 21-year-old Arroyo calmly clapped his hands once as he rounded first. He was pushed out of the dugout for a curtain call as the park roared. Most impressive of all, his mom, Kimberly, didn’t drop a single nacho as she celebrated in the stands.

In the field: Stubbs made a diving catch to open the seventh and Gorkys Hernandez followed with a nifty sliding catch at the wall.

Attendance: The Giants announced a crowd of 41,572 human beings. Thursday will be the 500th consecutive (announced) sellout.

Up next: Matt Moore (1-3, 5.87 ERA) will try to turn his month around. The Dodgers will trot out young lefty Julio Urias, who spent three weeks in the minors to control his innings count.