A's Insider notes: Jackson adjusts to hot corner

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A's Insider notes: Jackson adjusts to hot corner

May 23, 2011A'S PAGE A'SVIDEOPaul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.com

CoJack tested at the hot corner - He had a wry grin on his face when he said it, so he could have been joking. "I could tell you I'm super confidentbut I have to get out there," Conor Jackson said of his first career start at third base, and his fifth-ever appearance there. "I'll just go out there and be super-athletic." He merely needed to be competent. And he was more that that, actually. The Angels tested him early when Erick Aybar dropped a sacrifice bunt in front of him, and Jackson cleanly fielded it and threw him out. Jackson also deftly fielded a sharply-hit short-hop at his ankles and threw out the speedy Reggie Willits in the second. And Jackson survived a collision on the mound with first baseman Daric Barton to catch Mark Trumbo's high pop-up to end the sixth. "It's an opportunity for me," Jackson said, before the game. "I'm not going to shy away from any at-bats." For the past month, Jackson had been working with coach Mike Gallego on his fielding as the outfielder-by-trade has also played first base this season. "It's the same thing, in reverse," quipped A's manager Bob Geren. "Except, you have to throw the ball." Jackson also made two more clean plays in the ill-fated eighth, spearing hot shots from Bobby Abreu and Mark Trumbo for a pair of fielders choice outs.

Kouz improves - Jackson got the start at third because Andy LaRoche started at second, in place of Mark Ellis, who merely got the day off, and Kevin Kouzmanoff was still hindered by his right groin he strained on Saturday. "I thought it was a lot (more) serious at first," he said of the injury, which he incurred trying to beat out a ground ball at AT&T Park. "It was a relief when I woke up the next morning. That's the biggest test - how it feels the next morning." Geren said he was not "ready to use him" Monday night in the opener of the four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels, though Kouzmanoff did take batting practice and some grounders to test it out. He said he was also slowed a month ago by a similar tweak. If he's able to play Tuesday, the A's could definitely use his bat. He is 9-for-28 with three home runs in his career against Dan Haren, who is scheduled to start for the Angels. "Really?" Kouzmanoff said with a quizzical smile when I told him of his past success against Haren.Fuentes demoted? - Yes, and no. You see, it only seems as though Brian Fuentes has been the A's closer, what with his team-high nine saves. "I could use anybody," Geren said. "It's been that way, and everybody knows that." To prove his point, Geren used Fuentes in the eighth inningof a tie game. He walked Aybar, then got Bobby Abreu to hit into a fielders choice before giving way to Michael Wuertz. And oh yeah, Fuentes' man scored so he took the loss to fall to 1-7. Ouch. A day earlier, Fuentes seemed to question management's decision to use him in a non-save situation against the Giants, wondering aloud why the A's would not use fresh arms just called up. "When you're at home and it's a tie game, that's when just about every manager uses his closerthat's normal for a closer," Geren said. "When you're on the road, you don't want to do that unless you're forced to." Geren said he was limited to using either Jerry Blevins, Fautino De Los Santos or Fuentes. He chose Fuentes.
RELATED: Battle of the Bay Podcast -- Fuentes freaks
Moscoso to get the call - The move will not be made official until tomorrow, but, as expected, right-hander Guillermo Moscoso will be called up from triple-A Sacramento to start in place of the injured Tyson Ross. "He's pretty consistently throwing strikes and he's ready to go," Geren said. In eight appearances for the River Cats, including seven starts, Moscoso is 3-2 with a 4.02 ERA. He has 43 strikeouts and 13 walks, but has not gone more than six innings. A corresponding roster move will have to be made as well and the thinking is that reliever Fautino De Los Santos will be shipped back to Sacramento.Blevins DFA'd, but stays on 40-man? - To make room for Josh Outman, the A's designated for assignment Blevins, though announced the left-hander remained on the club's 40-man roster. Wait, what? According to the A's, Blevins was DFA'd "for procedural reasons. He was not optioned immediately because his optional waivers had not been secured at the time of (the) roster move." So, Blevins is expected to head to Sacramento. Got it?

Reigning AL MVP Trout to undergo thumb surgery, out 6-8 weeks

Reigning AL MVP Trout to undergo thumb surgery, out 6-8 weeks

ANAHEIM -- Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout has a torn ligament in his left thumb and will have surgery Wednesday that is expected to sideline him between six to eight weeks.

The Angels put the reigning AL MVP on the disabled list Monday for the first time in his career. The outfielder hurt himself a day earlier making a headfirst slide to steal second base in Miami.

At 25, Trout already is a two-time AL MVP. He is hitting .337 and has 16 home runs, second most in the majors.

Angels general manager Billy Eppler said an MRI revealed the tear. Team doctor Steve Shin arrived in Anaheim later Monday night, met with Trout and it was determined surgery was his best option.

"It was news no player wants to hear," Eppler said. "He's been put in a tough spot and it's something he's still digesting."

The Angels lost shortstop Andrelton Simmons to a similar thumb injury last season. He had surgery and was out slightly over five weeks.

Los Angeles was 26-28 going Monday night's game at home against Atlanta, and the lineup recently missed ailing slugger Albert Pujols.

Trout made his major league debut by playing 40 games for the Angels in 2011. Since then, he's been a five-time All-Star and has finished in the top two in the AL MVP all five seasons.

A year after hitting .315 with a .441 on-base percentage, 29 home runs, 100 RBIs and 30 steals, Trout was off to a dynamic start. He was leading the league in on-base percentage (.461) and slugging percentage (.742) when he was hurt.

"It's really hard to quantify (his loss)," Eppler said. "We're going to feel that impact and it's going to require multiple people stepping up in his absence. The team will fight as it always does. But he's in the heart of the order and a leader in the dugout. Those are tough to absorb."

Dodgers infielder weighs in on Harper's errant helmet throw

Dodgers infielder weighs in on Harper's errant helmet throw

Before the right hooks and haymakers, there was the helmet toss.

A very bad helmet toss.

As he made his way to the mound after getting hit by a pitch on Monday afternoon, Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper attempted to throw his helmet at Giants reliever Hunter Strickland. He missed by a wide margin.

Observers took notice, including Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner.

"What was worse, Harper's helmet throw or 50 Cents first pitch? Heads up in the #McCoveyCove," Turner tweeted shortly after the brawl between the Giants and Nationals.

Turner is referring to a ceremonial first pitch thrown by rapper 50 Cent prior to a Mets game in 2014.

Harper mentioned the helmet when addressing the situation after the game.

"I was trying to go after him, with the helmet or with myself, just doing what I needed to do keep it going, I guess," Harper told reporters.