SaberCats lose close one to Soul in Philly

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SaberCats lose close one to Soul in Philly

PHILADELPHIA The San Jose SaberCats (3-2) fell to the Philadelphia Soul (4-1) 61-55, in front of 9,303 fans at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday night, as San Joses late comeback fell just short. Quarterback Mark Grieb finished his night completing 25-47 passes for 333 yards and five touchdowns. Wide receiver Samora Goodson led the way, catching six for 118 yards and two fourth quarter touchdowns. Soul wide receiver Tiger Jones led the way with four touchdown receptions and fullback Derrick Ross added three scores in the victory.

The first three possessions of the game came without points, as the SaberCats held Philadelphia scoreless on their first two drives. San Jose opened the scoring as Grieb hit wide receiver James Roe for one of his two touchdowns on the night, this a seven-yard scoring strike to put the SaberCats on top 7-0 midway through the first quarter.

On a fourth down from the SaberCats eight yard-line, Jones made a catch over the wall, which knotted things at seven. On the ensuing kickoff, Ruschard Dodd-Masters brought it back to the house on a 57-yard return to give San Jose the lead right back. After forcing a Grieb fumble, the Soul capitalized with a four-yard touchdown run by Ross, and after a missed extra point, San Joses lead was 14-13.

San Jose scored a pair of rushing touchdowns, as fullback Tommy Taggart and offensive lineman Mark Lewis each found the end zone from a yard away. Those two scores were sandwiched around a two-yard scoring reception by Philadelphias Emery Sammons. On the last play from scrimmage in the half, Ross scored on a 39-yard screen pass from Raudabaugh, which cut the San Jose lead to 28-26 at the half.

To open the third quarter, Grieb found wide receiver Huey Whittaker for a 16-yard strike, and San Jose extended their lead to 34-26. Ross found paydirt for the third time on the night with 4:42 remaining in the third, as he scored on a three-yard run, cutting the SaberCats lead to 34-33.

Philadelphia continued their 28-0 scoring run, as Raudabaugh found Tiger Jones (twice) and Emery Sammons on successive drives, following a trio of interceptions by defensive back Kent Richardson, and the lead grew to 54-34. Grieb hit Roe from 12-yards out to pull San Jose back within 13 points with 2:31 remaining. Raudabaugh hit Jones once more, and Grieb found Goodson from 34-yards out to cut Phialdelphias lead to 61-48. After a successful onside recovery by defensive back Vince Hill, Grieb found Goodson again, this time from 37-yards out, and the Soul lead was trimmed to 61-55 with 14 seconds left. San Jose recovered another onside kick, but Grieb was ruled to have fumbled the ball with one second remaining and the comeback fell just short.

Courtesy San Jose SaberCats Media Services

A's spring training Day 8: Top pick AJ Puk attracts a crowd

A's spring training Day 8: Top pick AJ Puk attracts a crowd

MESA, Ariz. — The A’s are excited about 2016 top pick A.J. Puk, that much was apparent by the crowd the lefty attracted for his first “live” bullpen session Tuesday.

Among those watching closely were executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane, general manager David Forst, manager Bob Melvin and pitching coach Curt Young.

Puk, who shaved about 20 pounds off his 6-foot-7 frame over the winter, looked strong against a group of hitters that included touted infield prospects Franklin Barreto and Yairo Munoz.

Melvin in particular liked the way Puk, the No. 6 overall pick out of the University of Florida, worked his curve ball into the mix. That’s a pitch he hadn’t used since high school, but he dusted it off back in the fall instructional league with some encouragement from minor league pitching coordinator Gil Patterson, and he’s working to sharpen it this spring as a complement to his fastball, slider and changeup.

“It’s just nice to have another pitch that’s slower than my other three pitches,” Puk said before Tuesday’s workout.

“It’s a four-pitch mix,” Melvin said. “He’s really starting to distinguish between this slider and curve ball. It was quite a crowd around his cage too. When you’re a young kid you tend to notice that, but I thought he responded really well.”

Puk, 21, is rooming with shortstop Richie Martin, a teammate at Florida whom the A’s made their top pick in 2015. They also lived near each other in Tampa this offseason and worked out together.

Puk comes off very quiet upon meeting him, but Martin warns against being fooled.

“It takes him a while, but once he feels comfortable he’ll break out. You’ll see.”

Melvin was impressed with Puk’s physical shape, saying he’s fielded his position well in pitchers’ fielding drills.

CAMP BATTLE Jesse Hahn will start the A’s Cactus League opener Saturday against the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs. It’ll be a chance for Hahn to make an early impression in his bid for the fifth starter spot.

“After the year he had (in 2016), it’s important for him this year. We have to show some faith in him,” Melvin said. “He performed well for us the year before. Last year wasn’t really consistent. We’ll try to get him out there and get him off to a good start.”

Kendall Graveman will take the ball in Sunday’s spring home opener against the Angels. Sonny Gray and Sean Manaea both will pitch Monday against the Giants and Jharel Cotton and Andrew Triggs will be among the group throwing Tuesday against the Indians.

PROSPECT WATCH: Sean Murphy, the A’s third-round pick in June, has shown a very strong throwing arm early in camp. Is it any wonder Melvin, an ex-catcher, was impressed?

“The kid can throw, it’s special,” Melvin said. “We really like him.”

NOTEWORTHY: Still no word on when reliever Santiago Casilla will arrive at camp from the Dominican Republic. Melvin said he isn’t concerned at this stage, and noted that Casilla has been working out at the team’s complex in the Dominican Republic and gave a motivational talk to the younger players there.

Cousins thanks Sacramento: 'Wouldn't trade it for anything'

Cousins thanks Sacramento: 'Wouldn't trade it for anything'

The Kings traded DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, prompting the All-Star big man to post a heartfelt message on his Instagram account.

Words can't even express how hard it is for me to have to leave the city of Sacramento and all of the amazing people that I have met while out here. I gave it my all for you and you gave it right back. The most amazing fans on the planet and I just want you to know that your support has meant everything to me. It's hard to believe that it was seven years ago that this young kid from Alabama showed up in Sacramento scared and not knowing a soul. As I look back upon my time here, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I have met so many amazing people, many of whom went out of their way to make me feel right at home from day one. Each and every one of you have played such an important part in my life and helping me become the person I am today. I don't just consider you all as fans, you all are my family...and a couple thousand miles aren't going to change a thing. Thank you Sacramento. 
#LoyaltyisLove #sactownkingforever

Cousins, 26, averaged 27.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.3 blocks and 34.4 minutes per game for the Kings this year.

Words can't even express how hard it is for me to have to leave the city of Sacramento and all of the amazing people that I have met while out here. I gave it my all for you and you gave it right back. The most amazing fans on the planet and I just want you to know that your support has meant everything to me. It's hard to believe that it was seven years ago that this young kid from Alabama showed up in Sacramento scared and not knowing a soul. As I look back upon my time here, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I have met so many amazing people, many of whom went out of their way to make me feel right at home from day one. Each and every one of you have played such an important part in my life and helping me become the person I am today. I don't just consider you all as fans, you all are my family...and a couple thousand miles aren't going to change a thing. Thank you Sacramento. #LoyaltyisLove

A post shared by DeMarcus Cousins (@boogiecousins) on