Hernandez, sloppy defense doom A's in opener

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Hernandez, sloppy defense doom A's in opener

April 1, 2011BOX SCORE A'S POSTGAME VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
OAKLAND (AP) Felix Hernandez pumped his fist and marched off the mound with his usual swagger and sense of humor.King Felix made a little more history for the Mariners on opening day doing what he does best: throwing heat.Hernandez found his dominant Cy Young form in a hurry, pitching a five-hitter for his 14th career complete game and the majors' first this year as Seattle beat the AL West rival Oakland Athletics 6-2 on Friday night."After the first inning I said, 'I'm winning this game and then I'll go a complete game,'" Hernandez said, beaming.He tossed the first complete game on opening day in franchise history, too.Chone Figgins hit a go-ahead solo home run in the sixth inning off Craig Breslow (0-1). Ichiro Suzuki singled twice, drove in a run and stole a pair of bases as the Mariners won their opener under new manager Eric Wedge to end a five-game losing streak in Oakland. Seattle spoiled the A's opener played before a sellout crowd of 36,067 that included 1,000 standing-room only tickets.
GUTIERREZ: A's wilt under Opening Day expectations
Suzuki moved within one hit of tying Edgar Martinez's franchise record of 2,247.Hernandez (1-0) dazzled after allowing Josh Willingham's two-run, two-out homer in the first. He faced the minimum in each of the next six innings, allowing only a leadoff single to David DeJesus in the fourth before Landon Powell's base hit to begin the eighth."He's never going to give in," Figgins said. "He's not a Cy Young for nothing. He's not one of the best pitchers in the game for nothing."Hernandez, who won the 2010 AL Cy Young Award despite only 13 victories, struck out five and didn't walk a batter in a 108-pitch gem. DeJesus struck out swinging to end the 2-hour, 50-minute opener. The right-hander is now 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA in his four career opening-day outings."He's no joke," new teammate Jack Cust said.The previous pitcher to throw a complete game on opening day was Ben Sheets for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2007 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, according to STATS LLC."If you talk about opening day you can't ask for much more than that," Wedge said of his ace.
VIDEO: Brad Ziegler postgame
Willingham wasted little time showing why the A's acquired him from Washington this winter to be their new cleanup hitter and upgrade an offense that managed only 109 homers and 663 runs last season, the team's second-fewest in the last 28 non-shortened seasons.Willingham sent the second pitch he saw from Hernandez over the out-of-town scoreboard in left - the first opening-day homer allowed by Hernandez. Willingham became the 10th player in Oakland history to hit a home run in his first at-bat with the A's. Frank Thomas last did it on April 3, 2006.Cust scored an insurance run against his former club to start the Mariners' three-run seventh, when Oakland committed two of its five errors. A's catcher Kurt Suzuki gave everybody a scare when he went down writhing in pain after being clobbered by a scoring Miguel Olivo, but Suzuki stayed in the game to finish the inning before taking a seat with a mild left ankle sprain. Powell replaced him to start the eighth.Oakland last committed five errors in a game on July 6, 2007, at home against Seattle. The A's also had four errors during their season-opening 5-3 loss to the Mariners here on April 5 a year ago."Just a poor night all the way around. Too many walks, too many errors," manager Bob Geren said. "You're not going to see that from this club very often. That's not the recipe that we need to win."
Trevor Cahill hung tough in his first opening-day start but labored and saw his pitch count climb in a hurry. The right-hander, an 18-game winner in his second full major league season last year, allowed one run on four hits in 4 2-3 innings, struck out eight and walked four.Cahill escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fourth after consecutive errors by third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, who had his first career two-error game. Cahill left with runners on first and second with two outs in the fifth - at 105 pitches."I think there were a little more nerves than normal," Cahill said of the A's. "That's not our brand of baseball."New designated hitter Hideki Matsui went 0 for 3 and grounded into a double play in his Athletics debut.Mark Ellis, who matched his career best with a 13-game hitting streak to end last season, hit an eighth-inning single.Hundreds of tailgaters took to the parking lot early on a spectacular spring day in the Bay Area, when first-pitch temperature was 64 degrees.NOTES: Hernandez threw 73 of his pitches for strikes. The Mariners twice had pitchers go 8 1-3 innings on opening day. ... Oakland went 7-2 against Seattle at home last season. ... The uniforms worn by Matsui and Suzuki will be auctioned off Sunday to aid earthquake and tsunami relief efforts in their native Japan. ... The Mariners opened away from Safeco Field for the third straight year. They are 4-4 against the A's on opening day, including 2-3 in Oakland. ... Wedge is encouraged by the recent progress of Seattle CF Franklin Gutierrez, on the 15-day disabled list with stomach gastritis. "We're hoping antibiotics is going to take care of it," Wedge said. ... Mariners closer David Aardsma threw his second bullpen session Thursday as he recovers from hip surgery. "I think we'll see him sooner than later," Wedge said. ... Injured A's closer Andrew Bailey (strained forearm) played catch as far out as 120 feet, while RHP Rich Harden (strained lat muscle below his shoulder) threw a bullpen session. Both are on the DL to start the year.

Casspi thanks Kings after trade to Pelicans: 'Definitely isn't easy'

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USATSI

Casspi thanks Kings after trade to Pelicans: 'Definitely isn't easy'

The Kings traded Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, prompting the forward to post a heartfelt message on his Instagram account.

I want to thank the Sacramento Kings organization for the opportunity to play basketball in front of the great fans of Sacramento. My wife and I felt in Sacramento like being home and this is something we both will cherish for ever. This definitely isn't easy for me and my family to leave, and you all know how much I love our city, organization and fans but the time has come. I want to wish nothing but success to my Kings. I will definitely will follow and cheer from afar. 
Always a big part of my heart, 
Omri #18

Casspi, 28, averaged 5.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 18 minutes per game for the Kings this year.

A's spring training Day 7: Rosales readies himself everywhere

A's spring training Day 7: Rosales readies himself everywhere

MESA, Ariz. — Adam Rosales has a real simple plan for which infield position he chooses to try to get work at.

“Wherever there’s less guys, I go over there,” he explained with a smile.

The sun came out and the A’s finally got on the field for their first full-squad workout Monday after being rained out Sunday. That meant Rosales, back for his second go-round as an Athletic, got his first chance to prepare for what figures to be a super-utility role, which is how he’s carved out a nine-year major league career.

All indications are that he’ll be the primary backup infielder, capable of spelling Jed Lowrie at second base, Marcus Semien at shortstop, Trevor Plouffe at third and even fill in at first base or left field in a pinch.

Though Rosales, who spent 2010-12 with Oakland and re-signed in January on a one-year $1.25 million deal, is well-versed in preparing himself all over the diamond, one position in particular is one that he says is most difficult to master in limited time.

“Shortstop,” he offered without hesitation. “There’s a lot more going on there, a lot less room for error. At shortstop, especially with a guy like Mike Trout running, you’ve got to be in good rhythm, good timing, get rid of the ball and make an accurate throw.”

Depending on how the A’s prioritize their 25-man roster, Rosales could very well be the only backup infielder. That means fellow infielders Joey Wendle and Chad Pinder would start in the minors if the A’s were to keep a fifth outfielder or third catcher. But because the A’s have some players who can fill in at multiple spots, there’s numerous ways they can choose to configure the roster when it comes time to pare it down.

Rosales, 33, said walking back into the A’s clubhouse for the first time made him “feel like I’m back home.” So much of the support staff — equipment guys, clubhouse guys — are the same as when he was here before. He was also happy to see former infield mate Mark Ellis walk through the door Sunday. He says Ellis, a teammate from 2010-11, instilled in him the importance of being a great defender. Ellis is working as a part-time spring instructor.

“He told me, the No. 1 reason he was in the big leagues was because of this,” Rosales said, holding up his glove. “I was such a young player then. I’d always work with him, how to turn double plays. Just to have him around is awesome.”

NOTEWORTHY: Sonny Gray and Kendall Graveman were among the pitchers who faced hitters for the first time this season. Bruce Maxwell caught Gray, his first time behind the plate with Gray other than the one inning Gray threw in an abbreviated start at Anaheim toward the end of last season. Maxwell said Gray’s changeup in particular looked good.

Manager Bob Melvin has been very impressed early on with Graveman’s command. Graveman said he’s trying to improve his changeup, in an effort to induce weak contact from righties and get them on the their front foot, which could then make him more effective on the inside corner.

CAMP BATTLE: There could be a good fight for the seventh and final spot in the bullpen, and it would seem being left-handed could give someone an edge. Sean Doolittle is the only lefty currently projected among the A’s top six relievers. Melvin had good things to say about Daniel Coulombe, a lefty who made 35 appearances in relief last year and also saw a bit of time with Oakland in 2015. Coulombe posted a 4.53 ERA last season but struck out 54 in 47 2/3 innings.