A's look to get off the deck vs. ex-mate Haren


A's look to get off the deck vs. ex-mate Haren

May 24, 2011

A'S (22-26) vs.
LA ANGELS (25-24)

Coverage begins at 6:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

ANAHEIM (AP) -- When Dan Haren earned his fourth win of the season April 17, he moved into a tie with Los Angeles Angels teammate Jered Weaver for the major league lead.

He's been unable to add to that total since, though he isn't entirely to blame.

Having been backed by minimal offensive support, Haren hopes the Angels lineup can take advantage of facing minor league call-up Guillermo Moscoso, who will make his first major league start for the visiting Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night.

Haren (4-2, 1.84 ERA) got off to a superb start to 2011, going 4-0 with a 1.16 ERA through his first five appearances. Although the three-time All-Star's performance has fallen off just a tad since then, his 2.34 ERA over six starts would typically be good enough to garner at least another couple of victories.

Los Angeles' offense, however, hasn't given Haren much of a chance.

Haren has received seven total runs of support in his last six starts, making for an AL-worst 1.49 run-support average in that span.

Against Seattle on Thursday, the right-hander allowed one run, three hits and four walks and exited after eight innings with the score tied at one. The Angels (25-24) went on to lose 2-1.

"Of course I want to be winning games," Haren told the Angels' official website. "I'm not going to stand here and say that winning doesn't matter. But the team winning is the No. 1 priority. Pitching good and the team losing - you don't get anything good from it."

Haren faced Oakland (22-26) once during his drought stretch, permitting one unearned run and three hits in seven innings of a 2-1, 10-inning loss April 27 in Anaheim. Haren, who won 43 games in three seasons with the A's and represented Oakland in the 2007 All-Star Game, is 2-0 with a 2.67 ERA in four starts against his former team.

Los Angeles' offense struggled through most of Monday's series opener, before breaking open a tie game with a three-run rally in the eighth and going on to win 4-1.

Torii Hunter's second double of the game brought home the tiebreaking run, one inning after he threw out the potential go-ahead run at the plate. Hunter is batting .467 with six RBIs in his last four games after hitting .042 with one RBI in his previous seven.

The four-time All-Star will look to continue his surge and spoil Moscoso's season debut.

Moscoso is expected to take the rotation spot vacated by the injured Tyson Ross after going 3-2 with a 4.02 ERA in eight games - seven starts - for Triple-A Sacramento. In his final outing for the River Cats last Tuesday against Nashville, Moscoso was tagged for five runs, six hits and three walks in three innings.

"He's throwing strikes, and he's ready to go," manager Bob Geren told the Athletics' official website. "He has a good breaking ball, and when he throws it at the right speed, it's pretty good."

The right-hander made one relief appearance last season for Texas after appearing in 10 games out of the bullpen for the Rangers as a rookie in 2009.

While the Angels are hoping to make things difficult for Moscoso, Haren could be poised for another strong outing against the light-hitting Athletics.

Oakland has plated 10 runs and batted .200 while losing its last six games.

Catcher Kurt Suzuki is 3 for 7 lifetime versus Haren, but is batting .150 with no RBIs during the losing streak for the A's, who haven't dropped seven straight since Sept. 27-Oct. 4, 2009.

Cueto toys with young prospect in Giants minor league game


Cueto toys with young prospect in Giants minor league game

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — There is no way to really ramp up the intensity when an All-Star pitcher makes an appearance in minor league camp, so Johnny Cueto instead found a way to have a bit more fun. 

While getting his work in against A-ball hitters, Cueto had a prolonged, smile-filled battle with 19-year-old Jasrado Chisholm, one of the Diamondbacks’ top prospects. The sequence between Cueto and the shortstop from the Bahamas: 

  • Cueto just missed with a two-strike inside fastball, so he went right back to the same spot, freezing Chisholm, who smiled and nodded at Cueto, who laughed back. 
  • The next time up, Chisholm took two vicious hacks, trying to crank a homer onto Hayden Road. He missed both breaking balls by about a foot. 
  •  Before the third pitch, Cueto yelled something at Chisholm and smiled. “I was telling him to keep his eye on the ball,” Cueto said. “Because every time he was swinging, he was taking his eye off the ball.”
  •  The advice worked. Chisholm hung in on the third pitch, lining a single to left-center. Cueto laughed and pointed his glove at the teenager. He promptly picked him off of first base. “He probably doesn’t know I have a quick move,” he said. “I was having fun with a kid who wanted to actually hit against me.”

Nobody has more fun than Cueto, even on a sun-baked minor league field. He capped his day by standing in for an at-bat of his own, and he stood and watched as a young Diamondback struck him out.

The work on the mound was just what was needed: 7 innings, 85 pitches, 10 strikeouts, 0 runs. Cueto, who missed the opening weeks of camp, is ready for the season.

“I feel strong,” he said. “I feel really good."

Kerr, Warriors in preliminary stages of planning for Durant's return

Kerr, Warriors in preliminary stages of planning for Durant's return

OAKLAND -- Though Kevin Durant is eager to get back to the court, Warriors coach Steve Kerr and his assistants are in preliminary stages of planning his return.

One thing is certain: There will be restriction on the number of minutes Durant is plays in the first few games after he receives medical clearance.

“It’s something we’ll consult the training staff on,” Kerr said Saturday after practice. “I imagine we’ll ease him back by playing him shorter minutes to start, so he can build up his rhythm and his conditioning.”

Durant has been out since Feb. 28, when he sustained a sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL) and bone bruise to his left knee. After several days of strict immobilization, he has over the past week progressed to the point where he is engaging in vigorous workouts and shooting sessions.

Yet Durant will not be re-evaluated until next Thursday, which means he likely will not be cleared before the week of April 3. Not until then will the coaching staff devise a plan to reintegrate Durant.

“That obviously has a domino effect on the entire rotation,” Kerr said. “When we get to that point, we’ll figure that out. But it’s not something I’m giving a lot of thought to right now because he’s still at least a couple weeks away.”

The Warriors lost five of seven in the immediate aftermath of Durant’s injury but have recovered to win the last six in a row.