Cahill, A's beat Rangers in series-opener

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Cahill, A's beat Rangers in series-opener

April 29, 2011BOXSCORE A'SVIDEOMLBPAGE MLBSCOREBOARD

OAKLAND (AP) Sleep-deprived first-time father Kurt Suzuki didn't realize how tired he truly was until hitting a wall in the fifth inning.He had already done plenty in his first game since welcoming newborn daughter, Malia."It was good to be back out here. It had been a long couple days," Suzuki said. "I was running on Adrenalin."Suzuki came off the paternity leave list and delivered a go-ahead RBI single to help Trevor Cahill stay unbeaten and the Oakland Athletics topped the Texas Rangers 3-1 on Friday night.Cahill (4-0) overcame a three-walk first inning to pitch seven scoreless innings against the rival Rangers, who kicked off a seven-game West Coast road trip all against the division with a punchless performance to lose for the fourth time in five games. Texas fell into a first-place tie with the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West.Grant Balfour pitched the eighth and Brian Fuentes finished for his seventh save in nine chances after allowing Michael Young's two-out RBI single."We had runners out there and we just needed a base hit at the right time," said Rangers manager Ron Washington, who lost on his 59th birthday. "It would have been the difference in the ballgame. We didn't get it. Even against Trevor we had bases loaded, runners on second and third and just didn't get a hit off him at the right time."Cahill outdueled C.J. Wilson (3-1) and quickly found his rhythm after escaping his 26-pitch first inning unscathed. Cahill, who on April 11 received a new five-year contract worth 30.5 million, issued three free passes in an inning for the fifth time in his career but the first since July 17, 2009, against the Angels during his rookie season."Walking three guys in the first inning put things in perspective: 'I've got to throw strikes,'" Cahill said. "I just started pounding the zone a little bit more."Cahill had walked only eight batters total in his first five starts this season before the four total walks Friday. The right-hander allowed seven hits and also struck out four while improving to 7-2 for his career against Texas.Mitch Moreland, Young and Elvis Andrus each had two hits for Texas, which has gained or lost ground in the division race each of the last 14 days after holding a two-game lead for three straight days from April 13-15.Suzuki did some early catching work in the bullpen to get back in a groove but he started at designated hitter. Manager Bob Geren said Suzuki would be back behind the plate Saturday. His two-out RBI single in the third put the A's ahead, then Josh Willingham added an RBI double in the fifth. Suzuki also grounded into a fielder's choice in the seventh as Oakland's third run against Wilson came home.Suzuki left Anaheim on Wednesday to return to the Bay Area, where his wife, Renee, gave birth to the couple's first child Thursday morning. Malia weighed in at 8 pounds, 3 ounces."It's an exciting time in anybody's life," Geren said. "He was all smiles today. He was looking forward to coming back to work."Regular A's DH Hideki Matsui had the night off against a lefty starter but was slated to start Saturday.Oakland played its first game back home since the venue was named the Overstock.com Coliseum this week."I still call it the Coliseum," quipped Washington, a longtime A's third base coach before taking the Texas job.Texas clinched the club's first AL West title since 1999 at the Coliseum last Sept. 25 and went on to reach the franchise's first World Series before losing to the San Francisco Giants in five games.A's center fielder Coco Crisp missed his second straight game with tightness in his left quadriceps, but tested the injury before the game. He could be back Saturday. Left fielder Willingham returned to the lineup after missing Wednesday's series finale against the Angels with a tweaked back.Former Rangers pitchers Rich Harden and Brandon McCarthy received their AL champion rings - featuring 137 diamonds - from Texas director of baseball operations Matt Vinnola and media relations director John Blake outside the Oakland clubhouse before the game.Notes: Oakland pulled in a left-hander from nearby Alameda - the A's are calling him "Alameda Eddie" because they don't know his last name - just to throw batting practice before the A's opened the series in which they will face three lefty starters. Even longtime equipment manager Steve Vucinich didn't have additional details on the man, and he was also a mystery to manager Bob Geren. Word is he's Eddie Delzer, former Cal State Fullerton star. ... The Rangers signed veteran RHP reliever Justin Miller to a Triple-A contract and he is scheduled to join the Round Rock team Monday. The 33-year-old Miller could be called upon to help Texas' taxed and beat up bullpen. ... Injured A's closer Andrew Bailey (strained forearm) threw with a batter in the box with no problems. How he felt Saturday was to determine his next step. ... Warriors swingman Dorell Wright threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Warriors stay ready, strike gold amid the 2017 NBA Draft scramble

Warriors stay ready, strike gold amid the 2017 NBA Draft scramble

OAKLAND -- Considering their status as reigning champs without a pick, members of the Warriors personnel department could have turned out the lights and left team headquarters to watch the NBA Draft from a nearby tavern.

They instead stayed in business mode Thursday night, observing the draft-night chaos up close, waiting for the right moment and the right player.

And for the second consecutive year, the Warriors paid a team for its 38th overall draft pick, sending a reported $3.5 million to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for the rights to Oregon big man Jordan Bell, the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.

“Everybody we talked to had a lot of good things to say about him,” president/general manager Bob Myers said. “He’s one of the few guys we looked at and really wanted to see if we could get. I actually was not optimistic we would be able to get him. But somehow it came to fruition.”

Myers added that the Warriors, along with many mock drafts, projected Bell as a first-round pick.

Bell led the Pac-12 in field-goal percentage (63.6) while shooting almost exclusively in the paint. The 6-foot-9 center/forward was sixth among Pac-12 rebounders at 8.8 per game and 13th in steals at 1.3 per game.

The Long Beach Poly High product possesses a wingspan a fraction shy of 7-feet and bears, by some accounts, a resemblance to Draymond Green inasmuch as he is a defense-first player with a deep reservoir of energy.

It’s a comparison that Bell, asked about it, embraces.

“Draymond, because people always say I’m undersized,” Bell told Basketball Insiders last month. “He’s one of those players you can’t really say what position he is, but he’s a force on defense.”

Moreover, Myers cited Green as one of the players best suited to mentor Bell.

“Draymond is a good one,” the GM said. “He’s not afraid to tell players what he thinks. He’s going to be a good teacher.”

Bell in three seasons became the Ducks’ all-time leader in blocks. He blocked eight shots in a Midwest Regional win over Kansas that sent Oregon to the Final Four. He became during the NCAA Tournament the first player since Hakeem Olajuwon (in 1985) to snag at least 12 rebounds in five consecutive tournament games.

“Defending is one of my best attributes,” Bell told Basketball Insiders. “Being able to switch 1-through-5. Play small ball. Blocking shots. Timing. Decision-making on offense.”

These are the characteristics that prompted the Warriors to put a red-letter “B” next to Bell’s name on their draft board -- even though his offensive skills are unrefined.

“We love his ability to defend,” Myers said. “He could probably defend most positions, and in the NBA that’s huge. To be able to switch pick-and-rolls, rebound, block shots, finish, there are a lot of boxes he checks.

“ . . . We just like the way he plays basketball. We’ll find a place for him.”

The Warriors also are closing in on a deal for one of Bell’s Oregon teammates. Forward Chris Boucher is expected to sign a two-way contract with the team.

“That’s something we’re trying to move toward,” Myers said of Boucher, who is rehabilitating an ACL surgery.

“But we like players that win. We like players that can play. I don’t care what school they are or what their background is, or what position. Winners. That’s what we’re trying to do, is win. If we end up getting that done, that’s another player that was on a very good team.”

Kings finish 2017 NBA Draft with night that can turn franchise around

Kings finish 2017 NBA Draft with night that can turn franchise around

SACRAMENTO -- The Kings had a big draft night. The kind of night that might turn a franchise around. They entered the evening with three picks, including two in the top 10. With their first selection, they filled the franchise’s biggest need when they drafted De’Aaron Fox and then they went to work.
 
Vlade Divac and his team of front office execs jumped on an early trade, dealing the No. 10 overall selection to the Portland Trail Blazers for No. 15 and No. 20. North Carolina’s Justin Jackson was too appealing to pass on, and like Fox, he fit a major position of need. 
 
Sacramento came back with the 20th selection, taking one of the biggest risk/reward picks in the draft. Duke’s Harry Giles is playing on rebuilt knees, but before that, he was one of the top prospects in all of basketball. If he can stay healthy, the Kings may have drafted the biggest steal of the night. 
 
They topped off the evening with the selection of Wooden and Naismith Award winner Frank Mason III with the 34th overall pick. The Kings entered the night without a single point guard and they ended it with two very exciting options. 
 
“I’m very excited about the talent that we brought here tonight,” Divac said. “They’re going to just be an addition to what we’re trying to build here in the second half of the season.”
 
The Kings turned down overtures to move up to draft Fox. The 19-year-old speedster will step in and immediately compete for the starting point guard spot and he’s very excited to be a King.
 
“It’s just the vibe that I got when I was out there,” Fox told local Sacramento media via phone. “I felt like they really wanted me.” 
 
John Calipari is known for his bevy of All-Star bigs throughout the league, but he’s also produced a long line of big-time guards. Sacramento is hoping that Fox can live up to the billing of other former Calipari guards like Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans and John Wall. According to Divac, the Kings were so high on Fox, they would have taken him higher. 
 
“Screaming,” Divac said about the reaction in the room to Fox falling in their lap. “It was a guy that we all loved and in some way, if we had the number 1 pick, he would’ve been our guy.”
 
“De’Aaron is our future,” Divac added.
 
Without a perfect fit at 10, Divac made an adjustment on the fly to add more assets. The decision to trade 10 for 15 and 20 was very similar to the last season when the Kings dealt the eighth overall pick for No. 13, 28 and the draft rights to Bogdan Bogdanovic. By splitting the pick in two, the Kings were able to land two talented pieces that mesh with the current roster build.
 
Jackson and Fox know each other well. The duo played AAU ball together and Fox says he considers Jackson an older brother.  He is friends with Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere from their Kentucky connection.
 
“I feel like we can grow together,” Fox said of the Kings’ young core. “Of course, it’s going to take some time, but every franchise takes time.”
 
Fox is the jewel of the night and Jackson will compete for time at the wing, but Giles is the wildcard. The 19-year-old big can play the four and the five and has elite potential. 
 
“I’m so excited he was there for us at the 20,” Divac said. “That kind of talent you can’t pass.”
 
The Kings have done their homework on Giles. The type of knee injury that he sustained is similar to former NBA players Danny Manning, Amaré Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin. Manning and Martin each played 15 years in the league and Stoudemire lasted 14 seasons before retiring in 2016. After meeting him in person in Sacramento and working him out, they are very confident that he will be able to overcome his injuries and have a successful career in the NBA. 
 
Mason III will remind Kings fans of Isaiah Thomas, another undersized point guard that fell to the second round. The Kansas star posted 20.9 points, 5.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds for the Jayhawks last season. He’s a hard-nosed leader that can jump out of the gym and will instantly become a fan favorite in Sacramento. 
 
It’s a huge haul. Sacramento added two points guards, a wing and a big from some of the best basketball schools in the country. More than that, they added high character winners to a changing culture. 
 
For the first time in a while, the Sacramento Kings have accumulated assets. They have hit the ground running in their attempted rebuild and for one night, they are the talk of the NBA.