OAKLAND -- The A's are keeping things in perspective as they seek their first division title since 2006. Especially now that they have that clinching celebration thing out of the way. "To get to tomorrow we have to win tonight," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "All hands on deck." Oakland pounced on the opportunity to pop the bubbly after insuring themselves a spot in the postseason. They have an opportunity to do it again on Sunday as the American League West champions if they can sweep the Rangers. While some might question their decision to celebrate with two games to play, it was important to reward the players for a long successful season. It sure looked like they had a good time but they cut it off early. "I think it's business as usual for us," Melvin said. "I think everybody got out of here at a decent hour, I know they did. I don't think anyone overdid anything."-- On Monday Brett Anderson threw from the mound for the first time since straining his right oblique. How he bounces back will determine if he has a chance to take the mound for the A's in a possible one-game playoff on Friday. While they still haven't ruled it out, they are keeping it close to their vest. "I think we need to get through these games here," Melvin said. "Trust me our front office has looked at this thing every angle you could possibly look at." Anderson is 4-2 with a 2.57 ERA, 25 strikeouts and just seven walks in six starts this season. He is the most experienced pitcher in the starting rotation. If he is deemed healthy enough to take the mound it could provide a big boost."I'm sure they have plenty of schedules and options, as a matter of fact I know they do," Melvin said. "His name is included on those so hopefully we get to that point." -- Yoenis Cespedes was voted the American League Rookie of the Month for September. Last month he hit .257 (28 for 109), with five doubles, two triples, seven home runs, 19 RBI, and scored 18 runs. He is the first A's player to win the award since Jemile Weeks in June of 2011. Melvin says the award is a feather in Cespedes' cap, but he's been a big-time player for Oakland all season. "It's not just the last month it's from the first day he got here," Melvin said. "He plays like a veteran, he carries the weight of our team on his shoulders; it doesn't bother him."-- Taking the mound on Tuesday is Travis Blackley. Last Thursday he gave up five runs against the Rangers and didn't make it to the second inning. He is 1-2 with a 7.00 ERA in four starts against Texas this year. The team needs the Australian-born pitcher to make like a boomerang and have a comeback performance. Melvin believes his starting pitcher's struggles are more mental than anything. "I think it's just trying to reflect on the good times and not think too much about a couple of bad starts," Melvin said. "Think more about that then a couple of tough games because he's had more good games for us than he's had bad." -- Relief pitcher Pat Neshek is not with the team. He is with his family in Florida to be with his wife as she gives birth to their first child. Even without Neshek the A's will likely lean heavily on the bullpen. One loss and they have no shot to win the division. Grant Balfour is one guy the A's won't be afraid to use. He entered the game last night with a one-run lead and struck out the side. He even hit 97-MPH on the radar gun. The "Mad Aussie" is usually an intense guy but he was on a whole other level on Monday. Balfour has 23 saves and is 16 for 16 since re-taking the closer's role."When he came in that game he was very confident and our team felt that," Melvin said. "That's why guys in the dugout were poised to go out on the field because they felt something good was going to happen with what he was bringing on the mound." -- Balfour may have been berserk on the mound on Monday but the fans may have outdone him. The announced crown of 21,162 included 5,000 walk-ups and they were loud and engaged in the game from the first pitch to the last. It looked like a much larger crowd than was announced. What they may have lacked in numbers they made up for in enthusiasm. "The fans were unbelievable," Melvin said. "It was really loud and really electric and really intense."-- The Orioles defeated the Rays on Tuesday so Oakland is half a game behind Baltimore in the American League Wild Card race. If they end up with the same record the Wild Card game will be played in Oakland. That is, if the A's don't sweep Texas and win the West.
Left-handed pitcher Ross Detwiler is staying with the A's.
The 30-year-old has reportedly agreed to a minor league deal with Oakland, according to Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan.
The deal includes an invitation to spring training.
The A's purchased Detwiler's contract from the Indians on July 17 and he went on to make nine appearances for the club, including seven starts.
In his time with the A's, Detwiler posted a 6.14 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 44 innings.
Sources: A's have signed left-hander Ross Detwiler to a minor league deal. He'll get an invite to big league camp.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 18, 2017
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.