A's Insider notes: Jackson adjusts to hot corner

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A's Insider notes: Jackson adjusts to hot corner

May 23, 2011A'S PAGE A'SVIDEOPaul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.com

CoJack tested at the hot corner - He had a wry grin on his face when he said it, so he could have been joking. "I could tell you I'm super confidentbut I have to get out there," Conor Jackson said of his first career start at third base, and his fifth-ever appearance there. "I'll just go out there and be super-athletic." He merely needed to be competent. And he was more that that, actually. The Angels tested him early when Erick Aybar dropped a sacrifice bunt in front of him, and Jackson cleanly fielded it and threw him out. Jackson also deftly fielded a sharply-hit short-hop at his ankles and threw out the speedy Reggie Willits in the second. And Jackson survived a collision on the mound with first baseman Daric Barton to catch Mark Trumbo's high pop-up to end the sixth. "It's an opportunity for me," Jackson said, before the game. "I'm not going to shy away from any at-bats." For the past month, Jackson had been working with coach Mike Gallego on his fielding as the outfielder-by-trade has also played first base this season. "It's the same thing, in reverse," quipped A's manager Bob Geren. "Except, you have to throw the ball." Jackson also made two more clean plays in the ill-fated eighth, spearing hot shots from Bobby Abreu and Mark Trumbo for a pair of fielders choice outs.

Kouz improves - Jackson got the start at third because Andy LaRoche started at second, in place of Mark Ellis, who merely got the day off, and Kevin Kouzmanoff was still hindered by his right groin he strained on Saturday. "I thought it was a lot (more) serious at first," he said of the injury, which he incurred trying to beat out a ground ball at AT&T Park. "It was a relief when I woke up the next morning. That's the biggest test - how it feels the next morning." Geren said he was not "ready to use him" Monday night in the opener of the four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels, though Kouzmanoff did take batting practice and some grounders to test it out. He said he was also slowed a month ago by a similar tweak. If he's able to play Tuesday, the A's could definitely use his bat. He is 9-for-28 with three home runs in his career against Dan Haren, who is scheduled to start for the Angels. "Really?" Kouzmanoff said with a quizzical smile when I told him of his past success against Haren.Fuentes demoted? - Yes, and no. You see, it only seems as though Brian Fuentes has been the A's closer, what with his team-high nine saves. "I could use anybody," Geren said. "It's been that way, and everybody knows that." To prove his point, Geren used Fuentes in the eighth inningof a tie game. He walked Aybar, then got Bobby Abreu to hit into a fielders choice before giving way to Michael Wuertz. And oh yeah, Fuentes' man scored so he took the loss to fall to 1-7. Ouch. A day earlier, Fuentes seemed to question management's decision to use him in a non-save situation against the Giants, wondering aloud why the A's would not use fresh arms just called up. "When you're at home and it's a tie game, that's when just about every manager uses his closerthat's normal for a closer," Geren said. "When you're on the road, you don't want to do that unless you're forced to." Geren said he was limited to using either Jerry Blevins, Fautino De Los Santos or Fuentes. He chose Fuentes.
RELATED: Battle of the Bay Podcast -- Fuentes freaks
Moscoso to get the call - The move will not be made official until tomorrow, but, as expected, right-hander Guillermo Moscoso will be called up from triple-A Sacramento to start in place of the injured Tyson Ross. "He's pretty consistently throwing strikes and he's ready to go," Geren said. In eight appearances for the River Cats, including seven starts, Moscoso is 3-2 with a 4.02 ERA. He has 43 strikeouts and 13 walks, but has not gone more than six innings. A corresponding roster move will have to be made as well and the thinking is that reliever Fautino De Los Santos will be shipped back to Sacramento.Blevins DFA'd, but stays on 40-man? - To make room for Josh Outman, the A's designated for assignment Blevins, though announced the left-hander remained on the club's 40-man roster. Wait, what? According to the A's, Blevins was DFA'd "for procedural reasons. He was not optioned immediately because his optional waivers had not been secured at the time of (the) roster move." So, Blevins is expected to head to Sacramento. Got it?

With Travis sidelined, Stanford can't slow down surging Oregon Ducks

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AP

With Travis sidelined, Stanford can't slow down surging Oregon Ducks

BOX SCORE

EUGENE, Ore. -- Chris Boucher had 16 points and 10 rebounds, Dylan Ennis scored 15 and No. 11 Oregon rolled to a 69-52 victory over Stanford on Saturday.

With preseason All-America forward Dillon Brooks on the bench and his left leg in a boot to protect a sprained foot, the Ducks (18-2, 7-0 Pac-12) broke a 104-year-old school record with their 16th consecutive win and 38th in a row at home.

Jordan Bell and Tyler Dorsey each had 11 points for Oregon, which overcame 19 turnovers by shooting 11 of 25 from 3-point range and outrebounding Stanford 40-29.

Marcus Allen had 13 points as the only scorer in double figures for the Cardinal (11-9, 3-5). Stanford went more than eight minutes of the second half without a field goal, shot just 32.3 percent overall (20 of 62) and had two players foul out.

Oregon spotted the Cardinal the first five points and then hit four straight 3-pointers in taking a 16-7 lead. The margin grew to 20 late in the half as the Ducks went 8 of 17 beyond the arc and 14 of 26 (53.8 percent) overall.

Stanford, meanwhile, went the last five minutes of the half without a field goal and trailed 40-22.

The Ducks, who led by as many as 25 late in the game, have won their last six games by an average of 24.3 points.

BIG PICTURE

Stanford hasn't swept a conference road trip since 2010. The Cardinal hope to have leading scorer Reid Travis (16.6 ppg) back from a shoulder injury in time for a visit to California in eight days.

Oregon finishes the first half of the Pac-12 season next week at Utah and Colorado, a road trip it hasn't swept in four tries since the Utes and Buffaloes joined the conference in 2011.

UP NEXT

Stanford, now 0-6 against ranked teams, hits the Pac-12 midpoint at California on Jan. 29.

Oregon goes for its first 8-0 start to conference play in 91 years at Utah on Thursday. The Ducks finished 10-0 in the Pacific Coast Conference in 1925-26.

Ex-Warrior rips Thunder for not defending Westbrook after Pachulia incident

Ex-Warrior rips Thunder for not defending Westbrook after Pachulia incident

Late in the first half of Wednesday night's game against the Thunder, Warriors center Zaza Pachulia made hard contact with Russell Westbrook, sending the Oklahoma City star sprawling to the ground.

The referees reviewed the play and gave Pachulia a flagrant foul.

Replays show Pachulia appearing to stand over Westbrook and none of his Thunder teammates coming to his defense.

Raja Bell, a 12-year NBA veteran who was briefly a Warrior during the 2009-10 season, was not happy with the reaction of the Thunder players.

"You are supposed to come flying across the court. You don't have to punch him, because that's a lot of money. But he should catch a forearm across his shoulder, a shove in the back, you ain't gonna knock down Russell Westbrook, the everything to the team I'm playing on, who feeds me, who makes me better, you ain't gonna do that and just stand over him and ice grill him. Not a chance," Bell said on Thursday during the NBA Crossover show on CBS Sports.

The incident started a war of words between Westbrook a Pachulia following the game.

"I don't know. He hit me kind of hard. But it's alright. I'm going to get his ass back. Straight up," Westbrook said when asked about what happened on the play.

He was then asked if he noticed Pachulia standing over him.

"I didn't see that until just now, but I don't play that game. I'm going to get his ass back. Whenever that is, I don't know, but I don't play that game," Westbrook said.

Pachulia responded to Westbrook's comments moments later.

"I can't worry about that kind of comment. I'm part of an amazing team and we have a great goal of winning a championship. I'm all in with my energy, 100 percent. So we're thinking about this team, staying healthy, moving forward, getting better, getting to the playoffs and playing for the championship. That's what I'm thinking about. I'm not thinking about those kind of comments.

"That team is not there, so they may be thinking about other stuff like getting me back. Okay, you can get me back. But again, it's my 14th year, we all know what my game is, to play hard, not dirty. If it was a hard foul, it was a hard foul. It wasn't dirty at all. I'm not worried about this," Pachulia told the media.