Anderson pitches through pain in postseason win

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Anderson pitches through pain in postseason win

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OAKLAND -- After making six innings of shutout ball look easy, Brett Anderson admitted that his right oblique was still hurting him during the game. That news may come as surprise to the Tigers hitters who stepped into the batter's box against him. Anderson allowed just two hits and struck out six batters in a win-or-go-home game. A mere 20 days ago the young lefty strained his right oblique and was thought to be lost for the season.
PRATT'S INSTANT REPLAY: A's stave off elimination
Anderson, 24, hit 93-MPH on the radar gun and had command of his biting slider. He battled through the pain to win his first postseason start and keep the A's alive in the American League Division Series."It was just kind of dull and annoying," Anderson said of his right oblique. "It wasn't like I'd throw one pitch and it would throb or pull. It was just kind of there. You have to deal with it and go out and compete."Anderson fired off 80 pitches, 45 of which were strikes. He may have been fighting through some pain but he really settled into a groove late in the game as he retired nine of the last 10 hitters he faced. After he completed the top of the sixth by striking out Miguel Cabrera, much to the delight of the sold-out crowd, A's manager Melvin broke the news that he was done for the night."There was a long discussion with him because he wasn't aware there was a pitch count with him," Melvin said. "Earlier in the game I don't think he felt as good as he did later in the game. But 19,20 days off, we weren't looking for any more than that." Anderson did his best to plead his case. He wanted to stay in the game but trusted his manager's decision. "I told him I could go," Anderson said. "Not knowing how today was going to play out, 80 pitches was enough and I had confidence in our bullpen and they did the job." "Annoying" pain aside, Anderson said his start in Game Three against the Tigers was the most fun he has ever had on the mound. He plans to show up on Wednesday and do his treatment like normal in hopes of getting prepared to make another start. He credited the raucous Oakland Coliseum crowd for helping make his first postseason start memorable. Anderson induced 10 ground ball outs and only one fly out. That one ball that was hit in the air was a rocket off the bat of Prince Fielder to leadoff the second inning, that center fielder Coco Crisp made a highlight reel catch on to keep it inside the park. "You don't ever expect a guy to rob a home run for you," Anderson said. "When he hit it I was hoping it wasn't going to leave the yard, at that point for a double. Then I see him fly through the air and make the catch."
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The catch by Crisp was as soothing as a liberal smattering of icy hot. The defense made several nice plays behind Anderson including a double play to end the third. He did himself several favors as well. He struck out Austin Jackson and Omar Infante swinging in seven total pitches to start the game, and got Cabrera on one pitch to end the first."You don't really know how the game is going to go until you end up there on the mound," Anderson said. "I was fairly sharp the first two hitters and got some strikeouts and kind of set the tone a little bit."After working through the nerves, he was able to focus on Detroit's hitters. Battling with the Tigers lineup ended up being a welcome distraction. "You aren't worried about your oblique when you are facing a Triple Crown Winner or Prince Fielder or whoever is in their lineup," Anderson said. The A's will have to hope Anderson's effort brings them some momentum. They won't be able to get him back out on the mound unless they win their next two games and survive elimination at the hands of the Tigers.

Plouffe will push Healy away from third base, but not combative situation

Plouffe will push Healy away from third base, but not combative situation

Trevor Plouffe and Ryon Healy have some history to fall back on before they even start playing together as A’s teammates.

No doubt, their futures are intertwined as well.

Plouffe officially joined Oakland on Wednesday when the team announced his one-year deal that’s worth $5.25 million, plus incentives based on various numbers of plate appearances. General manager David Forst said on a media conference call that he envisions Plouffe as the primary third baseman. That means Healy — coming off an impressive rookie campaign at third — will see the majority of his innings at first base and designated hitter.

Plouffe and Healy grew up in Southern California and both went to Crespi Carmelite High School, though Plouffe, 30, is five years older. But it wasn’t until this winter that they’ve gotten to know each other better, as the rainfall in Southern California drew them both to the same indoor training facility.

They played for the same high school coach, Scott Muckey, which is how Plouffe first heard of Healy.

“I remember hearing about him when he was in high school,” Plouffe said Wednesday. (Muckey) told me about Healy and the kind of player he was. He didn’t give players a lot of credit, so when he did, I took notice.”

Healy works out in the offseason at the Hit Factory in Newberry Park. Earlier this winter, Plouffe popped in with Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas.

“It’s kind of coming full circle,” Healy said. “We never thought, being (five) years apart, that we would be teammates. We haven’t had (much of a) prior relationship, but he’s always reached out to me when appropriate. I’ve heard nothing but nice things about the guy. We worked out , chatted and exchanged numbers, and we’re starting that relationship early.”

Plouffe was limited to 84 games last year with Minnesota due to rib and oblique injuries, hitting .260 with 12 homers and 47 RBI. Before that, he averaged 18 homers and 68 RBI from 2012-15, twice topping the 20-HR mark. The Twins non-tendered Plouffe in December rather than pay him the roughly $8 million he was likely to receive in arbitration. That made Plouffe a free agent.

He and Healy make compelling workout partners, as Plouffe’s arrival in green and gold is likely to push Healy over to first, where he played in college and early in his minor league career. But it’s not a combative situation, and the offseason workouts help to build chemistry.

“I was kind of taking my reps at third and first, continuing doing that routine to be prepared for that possiblity,” Healy said. “It doesn’t seem like anything is set in stone. I still have to prove to them I’m ready to play major league baseball come spring time.”

The right-handed hitting Healy will form a platoon at first with Yonder Alonso, Forst said, and see time in a DH rotation that figures to also include Khris Davis, Stephen Vogt, Matt Joyce and possibly others. But Forst noted that Healy also needs to stay sharp at third base.

“It’s easy to envision a scenario where (Plouffe) gets the bulk of time at third base and we still have 500 plate appearances for other guys like Ryon. We have every intention of getting at-bats for Ryon. Trevor is not gonna be out there 162 times, we know that. Ryon is going to have to continue to be ready at third base.”

Forst said the A’s are still scanning the free agent and trade market for potential additions, both on the position-player and pitching side.

Oakland reportedly has agreed to a two-year contract with reliever Santiago Casilla that has yet to be finalized.
 

A’s agree to terms with Gray, Hendriks and Vogt to avoid arbitration

A’s agree to terms with Gray, Hendriks and Vogt to avoid arbitration

The Oakland A’s avoided arbitration with right-handed pitchers Sonny Gray and Liam Hendriks and catcher Stephen Vogt when they agreed to terms on one-year contracts for the 2017 season, the club announced today.

Gray went 5-11 with a 5.69 ERA in 22 starts last year in a season shortened by two stints on the disabled list.  His ERA was more than 2½ runs higher than his previous career high and his five wins follow back-to-back 14-win seasons.  Gray went 33-20 with a 2.88 ERA 76 games over his first three seasons with the A’s and now has a 3.42 ERA in his career, which ranks ninth in Oakland history.

Hendriks compiled a 3.76 ERA and .270 opponents batting average in 53 relief appearances in his first season with the A’s.  He had an 8.27 ERA and .394 opponents batting average in 11 games before going on the disabled list in early May with a strained right triceps.  Hendriks then logged a 2.23 ERA and .222 opponents batting average in 42 games following his return from the DL.

Vogt played in a career-high 137 games last year and hit .251 with 14 home runs and 56 RBI.  He also had career bests with 123 hits, 30 doubles and 46 extra base hits.  Vogt was named to his second consecutive American League All-Star team.

The only remaining arbitration eligible player on the A’s roster is Khris Davis.

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