A's give Anderson the ball to face Twins

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A's give Anderson the ball to face Twins

April 8, 2011

A's (2-4) vs.
MINNESOTA (2-4)

Coverage begins at 1 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The biggest offseason addition for the Minnesota Twins was second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Unfortunately, the Japanese import won't be available in their first game at Target Field.

The injured Nishioka will miss the home opener Friday when the Twins and Oakland Athletics start a three-game series.

Nishioka broke his left fibula when Nick Swisher slid into him while breaking up a double play in a 4-3 loss to the Yankees on Thursday.

NEWS: MLB headlines

The Twins (2-4) said they believed the play was clean, and Swisher sought out Nishioka in the X-ray room after the game to apologize. Nishioka was placed on the 15-day disabled list, and he will be examined Friday.

"It was a good play, breaking up the double play," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Not even an issue."

Matt Tolbert replaced Nishioka, who had five hits in 24 at-bats during the six-game, season-opening trip.

The Twins saw their home run production drop by 30 in 2010 after the opening of Target Field. They might be able to go deep more often now that 14 black spruce trees have been removed from the batter's eye area.

NEWS: Spotlight on the Minnesota Twins

Last season, players complained the trees affected sight lines as they swayed in the wind and interfered with the batter's ability to lock in on pitches. Still, Minnesota went an AL-best 53-28 at home.

"I honestly hope it plays about the same because we won games, and I kind of like winning games at home," Gardenhire told the Twins' official website.

The fans almost surely will give Justin Morneau a huge welcome in his first home game since July 4. Morneau hit four of his 18 homers last year at Target Field before suffering a concussion July 7 at Toronto that sidelined him for the rest of the season.

Power was also a concern for Oakland (2-4) after managing 109 homers for the second-worst total in the AL in 2010. The Twins and A's are among a group of teams tied for the lowest mark this season with two.

Joe Mauer will be behind the plate Friday for Minnesota, although Gardenhire usually prefers that backup Drew Butera catch Carl Pavano (0-1, 15.75 ERA). The Twins' opening day starter was scheduled to start Thursday in New York, but was pushed back after a rainout Wednesday.

"Last year, it so happened I had great success with Drew," Pavano said. "I've also had a lot of success with Joe, so we'll see where it falls this year."

Pavano took advantage of Target Field to go 6-1 with a 3.34 ERA in his last nine home starts in 2010. He is trying to recover after giving up eight runs over four-plus innings in last Friday's 13-3 loss at Toronto.

The right-hander is 2-0 with a 3.15 ERA in three career starts against the Athletics. Oakland newcomer David DeJesus is 11 for 26 against him.

It's unclear if second baseman Mark Ellis will be in the lineup after he didn't start Thursday's 2-1 win at Toronto because of an inner-ear problem and dizziness. Ellis entered the game in the eighth inning and singled in the ninth, but the A's are not sure if he will be on the team flight to Minnesota.

REWIND: A's salvage a game in Toronto, 2-1

The A's went 2-4 at Target Field last season.

Brett Anderson (0-0, 1.50) had one of the victories, and is 2-1 with a 3.72 ERA in three starts against the Twins. The left-hander gave up one run over six innings Saturday in a 5-2 home loss to Seattle.

Warriors eye veteran guard Calderon after release of Weber

Warriors eye veteran guard Calderon after release of Weber

OAKLAND -- Briante Weber’s 20 days with the Warriors came to an end Saturday night, creating a roster opening expected to be filled by veteran point guard Jose Calderon.

“We think we have something in place, but it’s not finalized,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after a 112-95 victory over Brooklyn.

Calderon is in the process to be bought out by the Lakers, after which he will become a free agent. Once he clears waivers, the Warriors, according to multiple sources, will be waiting to offer a physical examination and a contract.

Though Warriors president/general manager Bob Myers stopped short of identifying Calderon by name, his insinuations late Saturday night line up with what was learned from league sources.

“You find that in the playoffs, experience matters,” Myers told CSNBayArea.com.

“I don’t want to diminish (Weber’s) contribution and say he’s not capable,” he added. “He could help a team. But I think sometimes you go with experience when going into the playoffs.”

While Weber is 24, with limited NBA experience, Calderon is 35 and has 12 seasons in the league, including three playoff appearances with two different teams. Moreover, Calderon is a career 41.1-percent 3-point shooter.

Calderon has played sparingly this season and has appeared only once, for five minutes, over the last nine games. In November, his most active month, he played in 11 games, averaging 5.5 points and 3.0 assists while shooting 54.5 percent from the field and 45.0 from beyond the arc.

Not that this made releasing Weber any easier. He had, in a short span of time, become popular with his teammates. Though Weber declined postgame interview requests, Stephen Curry spent a few minutes consoling and encouraging him.

Kerr struggled a bit in announcing that the team was releasing Weber, though the move was made by the front office in consultation with the coaching staff.

“We are making the decision thinking it’s the best thing for the team,” he said. “We make every decision based on that.

Weber played two minutes Saturday, scoring four points on 2-of-3 shooting. He logged a total of 46 minutes spread over seven games.

“He’s a good kid, did everything we asked of him,” Myers said. “But sometimes you’ve got to make tough decisions. Sometimes you’re not even right, but you make the best decision you can at the time.

“But he’s got a future in the NBA. He’ll have options. That’s the best thing about his situation. He’ll be able to choose what’s best for him.”

Sharks Jones, Tierney find more success in Vancouver in 4-1 win

Sharks Jones, Tierney find more success in Vancouver in 4-1 win

VANCOUVER – One of the more appealing NHL road cities, Vancouver dazzles with its beautiful mountain scenery and walkable downtown avenues.

The Sharks undoubtedly relish those aspects of their trips to British Columbia, but more importantly they’ve enjoyed them on a professional basis, too. San Jose won its 10th straight game at Rogers Arena on Saturday, 4-1, kicking off the final push to the playoffs with a victory coming out of the bye week.

“I think we definitely got better as the game went on, and that’s what you’re looking for,” said Mikkel Boedker, who was one of four Sharks’ goal scorers. “We came out with the win.”

Two Sharks in particular have enjoyed their recent excursions into Vancouver. 

Martin Jones was the best player on the ice, making 35 saves in his hometown. He was relied upon early as the Sharks predictably struggled to get their legs underneath them in what was their first game since last Sunday.

Jones made an impressive stop on Loui Eriksson in the first period, and in the second he stopped Jannik Hansen from point blank range with the Sharks holding a 1-0 lead. Later in the second, it was saves on Alex Edler and Hansen again that preserved San Jose’s 2-1 lead at the intermission. Vancouver was outshooting the Sharks 30-16 after 40 minutes, but trailed.

The Sharks rewarded their goalie with scores by Boedker and Logan Couture on the power play to make the final few minutes of the third period relatively easy.

“When [Jones] plays like that it gives us confidence, and we’ve just got to stick with it and keep creating chances, and we did that tonight,” said Boedker, who snapped a 19-game goal drought.

“[Jones] was our best player tonight,” coach Pete DeBoer said.

Jones improved to a perfect 4-0 in Vancouver, all in a San Jose sweater, with a 1.25 goals-against average and .959 save percentage. He spent the bye week in the area, and had several supporters in the stands.

“It’s always fun playing in front of friends and family,” Jones said. “Happy to get the win here.”

Chris Tierney is another player who seems to thrive in Vancouver. He notched a pair of assists and centered the team's most effective line, after getting his first career two-goal game here earlier this month.

His new line, featuring wingers Tomas Hertl and Joel Ward, opened the scoring in the second period, with Hertl finishing off a pass from Tierney after Ward’s breakaway attempt crept just wide of the net. Later, Tierney got a secondary assist on Patrick Marleau’s second period goal, restoring the Sharks' lead at 2-1.

“They did a good job. I thought some of those guys had our better legs early,” DeBoer said of his third line. “It took some of our veteran guys a little longer to get into it.”

Tierney, who was scoreless in eight straight games since his last time at Rogers Arena on Feb. 2, said: “I thought we generated some good chances. I think we can get better, too. We kind of talked on the bench throughout the game of what we can kind of do to improve and where each other is going to be on the ice, but it felt good playing with those guys. It’s easy to create offense with them.”

In seven career games in Vancouver, Tierney has four goals and three assists for seven points.

“Something about the Vancouver air, or Canadian air,” he said. “I always feel good when I play here.”

After dropping a 2-1 overtime decision to Boston in their final game before the break, the Sharks had a five-point lead over the rest of the division headed into a week off. Saturday’s win pushes the lead back up to five points again on Anaheim and Edmonton, and they now have games in hand on both of those teams, too.

It all adds up to a good start in what is the final stretch before the postseason, and a quest for a division title. Overall, the Sharks are 3-0-3 in their last six games, and have just one regulation loss in their last 11 (5-1-5).

“It’s huge, that’s what you play the regular season for,” said Boedker, when asked about the Sharks padding their lead. “You keep trying to gain as many points as you can, and lately we’ve had some overtime losses, but we keep gaining points.”