McCarthy shows 'great progress' after brain trauma

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McCarthy shows 'great progress' after brain trauma

SEATTLE -- The gravity of Brandon McCarthy's situation sunk in amongst the A's players and coaches. While the team has to suit up and play a game, the battle for McCarthy and his family is far more serious. McCarthy, 29, is still in stable condition, and he is progressing. A's head athletic trainer Nick Paparesta said that McCarthy has been able to communicate, get out of bed, eat solid food, and drink fluids without issue. Paparesta continued, saying the signs are very encouraging just three days after undergoing a two hour surgery on his brain to ease the pressure from a epidural hemorrhage and to stabilize a skull fracture incurred after getting hit in the head by a line drive on Wednesday. "By no stretch of the imagination are we out of the woods, but everything is going great and he's showing great progress at this time," Paparesta said. "Brandon is progressing well, he actually got out of his bed three times today. He's sat in a chair. He's had a very good, progressive day."Paparesta didn't sugarcoat matters at all. He maintained that the situation is still life-threatening. "First and foremost, we need to look at his life and making sure he stays alive. This is serious stuff and we want him to live." Paparesta said. "The next phase that we'd look at is him being able to go through and have normal gross motor mechanics and a skill set where he can go through his normal life.""You are going to stay cautiously optimistic at this stage," Paparesta added. "The fact that he is able to get up and sit in his bed, he got out of his bed today and sat in a chair and ate food today, he fed himself. Those are obviously great signs that he can have full function again."While the team is in Seattle taking on the Mariners, McCarthy is on everyone's mind. McCarthy isn't just the ace of the starting rotation, he is a friend and a teammate. "It's hard to kind of take in," Tommy Milone said. "A guy like that who has been a real asset to the team and a friend to all of us. It's hard to imagine what he is going through and what his family is going through."Milone says he sent texts to McCarthy's phone that were returned by his wife Amanda. She has been updating fans on Twitter as well. The A's are getting medical updates and keeping the team informed of McCarthy's progress. They held a meeting on the team plane prior to flying to Seattle to let everyone know what was going on. "We definitely have some heavy hearts here," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "The good news is it seems like each and every day he is getting better."According to Paparesta, McCarthy will remain in the hospital indefinitely. He says days two and three are the most important, and McCarthy is on his third day. At this time the biggest concern is making sure the swelling in his brain doesn't come back. The A's have overcome some tough obstacles this season. Veteran starting pitcher Bartolo Colon was suspended 50 games for violating MLB's drug policy, veteran leader Brandon Inge had season-ending shoulder surgery on Wednesday, but those events pale in comparison to what McCarthy's is dealing with. Losing McCarthy is a big blow to the A's young roster for a myriad of reasons. "Me and Mac have kind of been road dogs," rookie starting pitcher Jarrod Parker said. "We've done a lot together on the road. He's kind of a guy that took me under his wing and he's taught me a lot in this game.""He's awesome," Milone said. "He's one of those guys that has everything to give. He wants to give knowledge and information and when you have a bad start or good start he wants to talk to you about what happened." While Colon led by example in his time with the A's, McCarthy was the unquestioned leader of the staff because he provided key insight in addition to his skills on the mound."The way he carries himself and the stuff he does off the field and in the weight room and training room," Parker said. "He's been huge for us to teach us how to prepare as starting pitchers."In McCarthy's absence the A's have recalled rookie pitcher Dan Straily. He will be starting on Tuesday against the Angels in Anaheim. Straily described his return to the big leagues as bittersweet based on the circumstances."If I could have stayed down there all the way through the playoffs with Sacramento and have McCarthy still be here, that's the way I would have rather had it," Straily said. Straily has made three starts for the A's this season and the team has won all three of them. In his short time with the team he said McCarthy made an immediate impact on him."My locker was next to his and everyday if I had a question no matter how stupid it might have seemed he answered it with respect," Straily said. "I just hope for the best for him." The A's will move forward with a starting rotation that has four rookie pitchers, the oldest of which is Milone, who is 25. Brett Anderson, the most experienced pitcher in the rotation is 24-years-old. In the thick of a pennant race and without McCarthy, the youth knows they have to mature quickly. "It's something we are going to handle as a team," Parker said. "We've faced a lot of stuff this year and this is another chapter in the great story we've got going."

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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Mariners swing pair of trades, bolster rotation with addition of Smyly

Mariners swing pair of trades, bolster rotation with addition of Smyly

SEATTLE -- Jerry Dipoto's 11th trade this offseason rounded out the Seattle Mariners roster with his top target.

"I've probably spent more time through the course of our offseason trying to acquire Drew Smyly than any other thing that we've done," the general manager said Wednesday.

Seattle made pair of deals on Wednesday that ultimately landed Smyly, a pitcher Dipoto thinks will fill out the Mariners starting rotation. Seattle also landed a potential key reliever, getting right-hander Shae Simmons from the Atlanta Braves.

The Mariners acquired outfielder Mallex Smith from Atlanta, then sent him to Tampa Bay along with infielder Carlos Vargas and left-hander Ryan Yarbrough for Smyly. Smith was also an offseason target for the Mariners but when Seattle acquired Jarrod Dyson from Kansas City last week, Smith instead became the conduit in helping to obtain Smyly.

"It became apparent to us over the last two or three days that we were able to access Drew Smyly by making the deal with Atlanta that tapped into Mallex Smith," Dipoto said. "So effectively these were two deals that were interlinked."

Smyly is the centerpiece of what Seattle was trying to accomplish as the Mariners seem to have rounded out a starting rotation that appeared to be a major question at the start of the year. The acquisitions of Smyly and Yovani Gallardo from Baltimore last week appear to have filled out a rotation where Felix HernandezHisashi Iwakuma and James Paxton were the only certainties.

Smyly, 27, made 30 starts last season for Tampa Bay, throwing a career-high 175 1/3 innings and striking out 167. He was 7-12 with a 4.88 ERA, but starting pitching is one of Tampa Bay's strongest assets, and Rays senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager Erik Neander felt comfortable making the deal because of the depth the Rays have in that area.

Smyly was 15-15 with a 3.95 ERA in 49 starts for Tampa Bay after being acquired from Detroit in the 2014 trade deadline deal that sent David Price to the Tigers. He is arbitration eligible after winning $3.75 million in an arbitration hearing last season.

"He fits our ballpark particularly well. He's a pretty extreme fly-ball pitcher with the low walks, high strikeouts, who in our ballpark, with what we think is a greatly improved outfield defense fits us like a glove really," Dipoto said. "If as we expect he shows up and does his thing it should fit very well for us in this ballpark."

What Smith may be able to add was attractive to Neander, who said the trade was made to help position the Rays to be competitive in 2017. He stopped short of saying he expects Smith to make the team coming out of spring training.

"We need to get better," Neander said. "To do that, we need more competition" for jobs.

Simmons is also a key acquisition for Seattle, providing another power arm in the bullpen. Simmons, 26, made seven appearances last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery and threw just 6 2/3 big league innings. Before elbow issues, Simmons was 1-2 with a 2.91 ERA in 26 appearances during the 2014 season.

"He's had a strong history with striking (batters) out and (we're) really excited to plug him in," Dipoto said.

The cost for Seattle to complete to two deals meant giving up two of its top pitching prospects in Yarbrough and Luiz Gohara. Yarbrough, 25, was named the Southern League pitcher of the year after going 12-4 with a 2.95 ERA at Double-A Jackson last season. Gohara, 20, was 7-2 with a 1.81 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 13 starts at two Class A stops.

Seattle also sent lefty Thomas Burrows to Atlanta and designated right-hander Cody Martin for assignment to make room on its 40-man roster.