A's notes: Football makes appearance, Anderson progressing

September 29, 2012, 7:28 pm
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OAKLAND -- The A's may have a magic number of four to clinch a playoff spot, but a much more interesting number might be 90. If the team wins on Saturday it will be their 90th of the season. It is safe to say nobody in their right mind saw that coming at the start of the season. The A's haven't won 90 games since 2006 when they tallied 93 victories.-- Injured starting pitcher Brett Anderson continues to improve as he tries to accelerate the recovery from his strained right oblique. He was in the outfield playing catch again on Saturday. He threw from 120 feet. The team remains optimistic that he could be ready for the postseason. "After that we could get him on a mound," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "I would say Monday at the earliest if everything goes well today." Melvin stressed the team is trying to keep it's options open with Anderson but can't afford to rush him back. Once he gets on the mound and throws some pitches the A's will be able to get a better gauge on how ready he is. -- Melvin says he isn't going to shuffle the rotation for the remaining games of the season. Things could get interesting if there is a one-game playoff. Straily would be on turn to start that game. Here's the rotation as it shakes out the rest of the way.A's Rotation: Dan Straily (2-1, 3.60 ERA) vs. Jason Vargas (14-11, 3.94 ERA)
Tommy Milone (13-10, 3.74 ERA) vs. Erasmo Ramirez (1-3, 3.42 ERA)
Jarrod Parker (12-8, 3.44 ERA) vs. Martin Perez (1-3, 5.03 ERA)
Travis Blackley (5-4, 3.91 ERA) vs. Matt Harrison (18-10, 3.26 ERA)
A.J. Griffin (7-1, 2.71 ERA) vs. Ryan Dempster (7-3, 4.64 ERA)
How the remaining starts go for each pitcher could determine who makes a potential playoff rotation. The A's would have the luxury of going to a four-man rotation should they make it to divisional play. -- Coco Crisp is in the lineup playing a day game after a night game. It can be very difficult to see baseballs in the Oakland Coliseum during the day. If Crisp can survive a full game out there in the outfield while battling the sun, he is clearly a safe start for the long haul after suffering from allergic conjunctivitis in both of his eyes. He had only appeared as a pinch runner in two of the previous nine games before returning on Friday night and going 3 for 5 with a home run and three runs. -- The A's were throwing around a football before the game. Daric Barton brought the ball down to the field from the clubhouse. They played catch and made some mock interceptions and runbacks. At one point the ball was thrown to Yoenis Cespedes. He struggled to catch the ball. When he tried to chuck it back it went wobbling through the air. He laughed and joked that his shoulder was hurt by the ball. It looked like the first time he's ever picked up the pigskin. Many have remarked that Cespedes' speed and muscular build would make him a killer linebacker. As long as he isn't trying to catch or throw the ball he might make a pretty good football player. Like Bo, Yo knows.Cespedes has been a fast learner since joining the A's. He is making constant adjustments at the plate, is learning a new language, and a new outfield position. The full-extension diving catch he made in left field last night is proof that he is a remarkable athlete. "I think it goes right along with the way he has evolved as a player here since the first day in Spring Training," Melvin said. "He's picked things up very quickly, and once he feels comfortable he is just on to the next thing."The A's are hoping to make a deep postseason run. Maybe once he is done he can don the silver and black. Melvin even joked that Cespedes might get some looks at shortstop next year. -- Playing football is just another example of how loose the A's can be. As Jonny Gomes has remarked on many occasions, the team is playing for fun, not for contracts. That has worked for them all season. "We're trying to keep it as loose as we can," Melvin said. "It's starting to get a little much but we are trying to play today's game and worry about tomorrow, tomorrow." -- Stephen Drew is on an eight-game hitting streak. He is hitting .429 (15 for 35) over that span. Since joining the A's 16 games ago he is batting .271 with five home runs and 16 RBI. The team has a mutual option on his contract for next season. The day they acquired him via trade from the Diamondbacks, assistant general manager David Forst said they wanted to see how he played before considering bringing him back. Drew might be making a strong case to return. "We'd love to have him back," Melvin said of Drew. Drew's 2013 option is worth 10 million with a buyout of 1.35 M. The A's should be able to afford him easily if the front office agrees with Melvin's sentiments.

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