Feb. 27, 2011
URBAN ARCHIVEA'S PAGE A'SVIDEOMychael UrbanCSNBayArea.com
MESA, Ariz. -- The A's arrived at HoHoKam Park for their Cactus League opener against the Cubs on Sunday just as the skies stopped pounding the desert with hail.They spent the rest of the day pounding Chicago pitching, rallying from the 4-0 hole that starter Trevor Cahill dug with an 18-hit attack on the way to a 15-7 victory.Eight of the hits came from four players -- with two hits each -- who likely won't make the team, but it was one of the regulars who provided the biggest blow of the day. Leadoff man Coco Crisp blasted Cubs newcomer Matt Garza for a third-inning grand slam that tied the score and drew some self-deprecating humor from Cahill, who allowed four runs on five hits and a walk over one-third of an inning.
RECAP: Crisp's slam leads A's outburst in big win over Cubs
"You mean I'm off the hook for the loss?" Cahill cracked.Crisp's homer, a no-doubter in any park, provided a glimpse of the sneaky power he possesses. It comes from his quick hands and wrists more than from brute strength, and it's pretty clear that Crisp's hands are just fine thus far.Cahill, a right-hander who won 18 games last season, said he was generally pleased with his outing despite the ugly bottom line, saying he made plenty of good pitches. They just happened to get whacked."Obviously you want to do well all the time," Cahill said, "but I'd rather have a bad outing now than later on. For now, it's all right."A LONG TIME COMING
Righty reliever Joey Devine and lefty Josh Outman, a leading candidate for the No. 5 spot in the rotation, made their long-awaited returns to competitive action Sunday. Devine gave up a hit and a walk while throwing a scoreless third inning, and Outman followed with two shutout innings of three-hit work.Devine hadn't pitched in a big-league game since 2008. Outman last faced big-league hitters in mid-2009."After the last warmup pitch, when they threw the ball around the infield, I realized, 'I'm finally back,'" said Devine, who admitted he was nervous all day before taking the mound. "I just wanted to finish my outing without any pain I wanted to be able to walk away feeling good."Both pitchers are nearing full recovery of the Tommy John surgeries that interrupted their blossoming careers, so at this point in camp, the results were a secondary concern."I got through it and felt good," Outman said, and that should have A's fans feeling pretty good, too.SICK BAY
New outfielder David DeJesus did not play because he wasn't feeling well in the morning, and Geren suggested he'll probably give DeJesus another day off Monday, putting him in line to make his A's debut in the team's home opener Tuesday.Righty reliever Michael Wuertz was cleared to play long toss Sunday after several days of inactivity to combat a minor case of shoulder tendinitis. He could make his way into a game by the end of the week, Geren said.Shortstop Cliff Pennington looks like a man dying to get into a game, but it probably won't happen for another week. The team's unofficial medical motto this year -- "Don't Rush It" -- means that every precaution will be taken as Pennington builds strength in his surgically repaired left shoulder. MATSUI-MANIA
Hideki Matsui did not make the trip to Mesa; he'll make his A's debut Sunday against the Angels, for whom he played last season. His lack of action didn't stop the horde of Japanese media that tracks his every move from showing up for Geren's morning press briefing at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, though, and the session was interrupted briefly by fans screaming as "Godzilla" took the field.Just another day in the life of an international superstar."That must be an interesting feeling," said Geren. "It's like walking the red carpet every day."GAMERS
Tyson Ross, another candidate for the No. 5 spot in the rotation, took over for Cahill with two on and one out in the first inning and promptly got out of the jam with a double play. He also worked a scoreless second inning, allowing one hit. Bobby Cramer, also fighting for No. 5, gave up a run on two hits and a walk over two innings of work. Outfielder Michael Choice, Oakland's top pick in the 2010 draft, singled in his first two at-bats and scored two runs. One of his hits came on a fairly routine ground ball to second base that he simply beat out with hustle and speed. Moments later he scored easily from first base on a double high off the wall by catcher Anthony Recker. Outfielders Matt Carson (two doubles) and Jai Miller (single, triple), Choice and Recker each had two hits, as did newcomer Josh Willingham, who chipped in with an RBI single. Daric Barton doubled, too. Brad Ziegler gave up a hit and a walk while wrapping up the victory with a scoreless ninth inning.