A's place Davis on DL, DFA Alcantara; recent acquisition called up

A's place Davis on DL, DFA Alcantara; recent acquisition called up

Rajai Davis, one of the A's key offseason acquistions, is headed to the 10-day disabled list due to a strained left hamstring.

The move is retroactive to April 22.

The A's also designated Rual Alcantara for assignment. The 24-year-old who was acquired in the 2011 Andrew bailey trade with Boston won the fifth starter job out of spring training, but posted a 16.71 ERA in three appearances this season.

To take their spots, the A's recalled right-handed pitcher Cesar Valdez and recently-acquired outfielder Ryan LaMarre.

Valdez,32, was recalled on April 20 to start against the Mariners. He allowed five hits and three earned runs in four innings. He was optioned to Triple-A Nashville the following day.

The 28-year-old LaMarre was acquired from the Angels on Sunday. In his only game with Triple-A Nashville on Monday, he went 1-for-5 with three strikeouts.

 

Instant Replay: Alcantara allows eight as A's lose to Rangers

Instant Replay: Alcantara allows eight as A's lose to Rangers

BOX SCORE

ARLINGTON, Texas – The A’s have mounted some impressive comebacks at Globe Life Park, but the task proved too steep in their series opener Friday night.

Raul Alcantara needed a do-over shortly after he took the mound, getting tagged for eight runs over two innings in a 10-5 defeat to the Texas Rangers.

The Rangers jumped ahead with three runs in the first, including Rougned Odor’s two-run homer. Then the roof caved on Alcantara in the second, when he issued two walks, hit another batter, committed a throwing error on a pickoff and eventually gave up Nomar Mazara’s first career grand slam to put the A’s in an 8-0 hole.

Jesse Hahn took over to begin the third and turned in an excellent outing given the circumstances. He ate up the final six innings on the mound and kept the game from getting further out of hand. The A’s began slugging their way back into it, with Matt Joyce hitting a deep shot for a three-run homer in the third and Khris Davis leading off the fourth with his third homer of the season.

But the comeback ran out of steam, and Texas tacked on a couple more as Mazara finished with a six-RBI night. With that, the two-time defending American League West champions won their first game of 2017 after they were swept by Cleveland to begin the season.

Starting pitching report

Alcantara (0-1), getting his first chance in a season-opening big league rotation, just couldn’t harness his command. Rangers center fielder Carlos Gomez, who also impacted the game with his defense, led off the bottom of the first by hustling out a double on a base hit to left-center. He was on third when Mazara brought him home with a fielder’s choice grounder on which it was ruled that Yonder Alonso never touched first base before throwing home late trying to get Gomez. Odor’s two-run shot to right would make it 3-0, and then it all went downhill in the second for Alcantara.

Former Athletic A.J. Griffin took the mound against his old club for Texas, but he left in the fourth after suffering abrasions on both knees and his right palm when he dove on an odd play while backing up home plate. He wound up charged with four runs over 3 1/3 innings.

Bullpen report

Hahn couldn’t have arrived at the ballpark knowing he’d get such a workout. Called up from the minors when John Axford went on the disabled list Wednesday, Hahn saved the rest of the bullpen by entering in the third and taking it to the finish line, holding the Rangers to two runs over six innings. He struck out three and walked one, and he’ll leave the A’s with some thinking to do on whether he should take the ball the next time Alcantara’s turn comes up. Hahn hadn’t pitched in an actual game since a March 25 exhibition in Arizona.

At the plate

Davis picked up right where he left off against the Rangers last year, when his 10 home runs in 18 games set a Texas single-season record for most homers by an opponent. He has three homers in the A’s first five games. Joyce’s three-run shot was his first homer as an Athletic.

The A’s had a real chance to put some pressure on the Rangers in the fourth, when they loaded the bases with one out as Griffin left and lefty Alex Claudio (1-0) came in with the score 8-4. Claudio fell behind 3-0 in the count but Semien wound up grounding into an inning-ending double play and the A’s wouldn’t get any closer.

A’s center fielder Rajai Davis, who has hit leadoff in four of the A’s first five games, is 2-for-21 to start the season and batting .095.

In the field

Gomez, an excitable player who the Rangers re-signed over the offseason, robbed Joyce of a homer in the first with a terrific leaping catch at the wall.

Attendance

A crowd of 34,235 showed up on a mild and breezy night in Arlington.

Up next

The middle game of this series provides a good matchup Saturday with Kendall Graveman (1-0, 3.00) and Yu Darvish (0-0, 5.68) taking the mound. Darvish is 3-9 with a 4.64 ERA against the A’s, with those nine losses his most by far against any major league opponent. First pitch is 5:05 p.m.

A's spring training Day 9: Alcantara trying to add new wrinkle

A's spring training Day 9: Alcantara trying to add new wrinkle

MESA, Ariz. — Right-hander Raul Alcantara, who could factor in as a starting or long relief option for the A’s, is experimenting with a split-finger fastball this spring.

Alcantara, who made five late-season starts last season in his first big league call-up, threw the pitch for the first time to hitters Tuesday, so he’s still in the infant stages with it. The A’s would like Alcantara to develop a solid third pitch to go with his fastball and changeup, though he does dabble with a curve and cutter too.

“In general, we’re looking for a ball that’s gonna dive, something where the bottom’s gonna fall out,” Oakland bullpen coach Scott Emerson said.

Alcantara, 24, faces crowded competition for the No. 5 starter spot with Jesse Hahn, Andrew Triggs and Paul Blackburn among those also going for it. Claiming the last spot in a seven-man bullpen is a possibility, though the A’s could surely utilize a second left-hander to go along with Sean Doolittle.

Making Alcantara’s case more interesting is that he’s out of minor league options, meaning he would need to make it through waivers unclaimed before the A’s could send him down.

Alcantara throws a hard changeup that clocked 86-87 miles per hour last season. Ideally, Emerson said his splitter would settle in the low 80’s.

Speaking through interpreter Juan Dorado, Alcantara said he’s gradually getting a feel for the new pitch.

“Obviously it’s a little more difficult on the hitters to know that there’s a different pitch,” he said. “They’re used to me throwing a fastball, a cutter and a change, and now implementing a split would just help me out to show them something different.”

CAMP BATTLE: Lefty Ross Detwiler, who re-signed with Oakland in the winter on a minor league deal, offers depth as a potential swing man who can start or relieve. Detwiler went 2-4 with a 6.14 ERA in nine games (seven starts) last season for the A’s. Those numbers look ugly in a short sample size, but Melvin values the veteran beyond what the stats show.

“I think he liked being here and we wanted him back.”

QUOTABLE: “I must be a little behind this year because the guys are hitting me a little harder than they normally do. Healy took me over the batter’s eye three times in a row.” — Melvin, who throws a couple rounds of batting practice every day.

NOTEWORTHY: The A’s will hold a pair of two-inning intrasquad games Thursday at the Lew Wolff Training Complex, with both set to start at 11:40 a.m.