A's Insider notebook: Crisp covers for rusty Cahill


A's Insider notebook: Crisp covers for rusty Cahill

Feb. 27, 2011

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.

49ers GM Lynch speaks with Harbaugh about Michigan prospects

49ers GM Lynch speaks with Harbaugh about Michigan prospects

PHOENIX – John Lynch’s draft preparation as a first-year NFL general manager prompted him to make a phone call Monday to Jim Harbaugh.

“I talked to an old 49ers coach yesterday,” Lynch said at the NFL owners meetings. “He was great. He has a lot of players who are draftable. (He) gave me a lot of great information, and it was entertaining, as it always is with Jim.

“He just said, ‘Fired up for you, man,’ then we started talking about his players. He had to go to a meeting and I had to go to a meeting, so it was quick.”

Before Lynch could quiz Harbaugh about some of the Wolverines’ draft-eligible prospects, Harbaugh had a brief chance to catch up with his brother, John, the Baltimore Ravens head coach.

“It was fun because right when we called, his brother was right there,” Lynch said.

“So John came over and before I could get on the phone, John and Jim were talking. I said, ‘Hey, you’re cutting into my time, give me the phone.’ We had a good time.”

Michigan’s top prospects are safety Jabrill Peppers, who won the Paul Hornung Award as the nation’s most-versatile player, and edge rusher Taco Charlton.

Lynch said he does not ask “lazy questions” of any college coach about his former players. Instead, he’s looking at specifics, such as what position a player is better suited to play at the NFL level.

Harbaugh, who was let go after the 49ers' 8-8 season of 2014, enters his third season at his alma mater after two seasons with 10-3 records.

NFL centralizes replay reviews, Del Rio wants more freedom in challenges

NFL centralizes replay reviews, Del Rio wants more freedom in challenges

PHOENIX – Fans won’t see special teams players leaping over the long snapper in an attempt to block a field goal or extra point. Seattle’s Kam Chancellor made some big plays with that technique, but won’t have the chance anymore.

The NFL outlawed that option on Tuesday as one several rule changes enacted at the league meetings.

“There are some safety concerns,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “that are legitimate.”

The NFL also centralized replay reviews, taking that power away from officials on the field. NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino and associates at the NFL’s command center will handle reviews in an effort to add consistency to important calls.

Del Rio hoped replay challenges would be expanded further, but a proposal by Seattle and Buffalo allowing coaches to challenge any play save scoring plays and turnovers, which are automatically reviewed, did not pass.

“I think there are a number of coaches who feel like, if there’s an obvious error, we should have a mechanism to correct it,” Del Rio said. “We catch most of them, so you’re talking about a small percentage. It’s hard to move the needle for such a small percentage. That’s the problem. The fact is, if it’s important enough that we’re willing to use that challenge, we’d like that right and ability. Things happen, and you don’t want to lose a big game, a game that decides whether you advance in the playoffs or make the playoffs and it’s something you could overturn, that you could challenge or change. Why not?”

Here's a list of new rules and bylaws adopted by the league on Tuesday.