A's Prepare For Mariners As Home Opener At Oakland Coliseum Approaches

The Oakland Athletics headed into spring training with an assortment of question marks and positional battles. The season is finally here.

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Oakland Athletics Roster Cuts: Tyson Ross Sent Down, Graham Godfrey Likely Fourth Starter

Despite having himself a rather stellar spring, RHP Tyson Ross has apparently been sent back down to the minors, leaving the door open for Graham Godfrey to grab a spot in the rotation for the Oakland Athletics to start the 2012 season.

Per Susan Slusser on Twitter:

Seeing that the A's won't be needing a fifth starter until around the middle of the month, Ross can go down to Sacramento and get some more work in. He will likely be battling Jarrod Parker for that fifth spot, but should be slightly favored because of his great spring, posting a 2-1 record with a 1.80 ERA in five starts this spring, including Tuesday night's 4-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants.

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Oakland Athletics Injury Report: Daric Barton Placed on DL, Dallas Braden 'Shut Down'

Even though the Oakland Athletics have officially begun their 2012 campaign, they still have some roster moves to make before their home opener Friday. They made a few moves on Wednesday that cleared up some room, putting Daric Barton on the DL retroactive to March 24, while Dallas Braden will be shut down for a few weeks as well as both are dealing with shoulder injuries, according to MLB.com's Jane Lee.

Barton is yet to play in back-to-back games this spring as his arm strength in his surgically repaired right shoulder continues to build slowly, and has not come to pass as quickly as he'd hoped.

"We just felt like he needed, and he felt like he needed, several games in a row to feel good about where his arm strength is," manager Bob Melvin said.

With Barton sidelined, Bob Melvin will have both Brandon Allen and Kila Ka'aihue on the 25-man roster, with Allen the likely starter at first base. Allen is batting .303 this spring with two home runs and 13 RBIs, while Ka'aihue has three homers but only a .222 BA and a .256 OBP. According to Melvin, he's comfortable with them handling duties at first together.

As for Dallas Braden he received a platelet-rich injection in his nagging shoulder on Monday as well, which will unfortunately put him on the shelf for the next three weeks or so. Braden was looking good until a setback in Arizona during the rest of the A's trip to Japan left him reeling, now even further behind on his rehab and return. Melvin was quick to note that a timetable is in place, but not set in stone by any means:

"The schedule he was on, obviously we're not on any more," manager Bob Melvin said. "We're not even looking at a schedule right now, just seeing how he feels."

Two other pieces of note, Reliever Joey Devine is awaiting results on an MRI he had on Monday as he is dealing with some elbow tendonitis, while LHP Brett Anderson threw a 40-pitch bullpen session Tuesday, and is now throwing curves and sliders once more.

For more on the A's, head over to Athletics Nation.

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A's Roster Cuts: Oakland Sends Adam Rosales To AAA Sacramento

As the Oakland A's continue to await the rest of Major League Baseball to have their opening day, Billy Beane, Bob Melvin and the rest of the team's braintrust has been busy filling out the rest of their 40-man roster. They made a significant move on Monday after the team sent infielder Adam Rosales to AAA Sacramento, according to CSN Bay Area.

Rosales had himself a bit of a rough spring at the plate, batting a meager .167 without a home run and only two RBI in 12 games for Oakland. He had only 18 at bats, striking out four times while walking thrice, and was 0/2 attempting stealing bases.

The A's now have 27 men left on their roster, needing to cut two more players before their 'opening day' meeting with the Miami Marlins this Friday. But first, a three game Bay Bridge exhibition series with the San Francisco Giants.

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A's Vs. RiverCats: Tom Milone Named 3rd Starter After 6 Perfect Innings In 9-0 Exhibition Win

The Oakland Athletics officially opened up the 2012 MLB season with a pair of games against the Seattle Mariners. Now that they are tied for first place in the AL West, it is time for ... uh ... more exhibition games.

On Saturday, the A's played a game against their Triple A affiliate the Sacramento RiverCats at Raley Field in Sacramento. The game was an extremely one-sided affair that was called after the seventh inning due to rain. The A's were named the winners in the 9-0 contest.

Starting pitcher Tom Milone pitched six perfect innings, allowing no baserunners while striking out six. Coco Crisp and Josh Donaldson hit home runs in the winning effort.

The starter for the RiverCats, right-hander Jarrod Parker, did not fare quite as well as Milone, giving up six runs (three earned) in two innings pitched. A's manager Bob Melvin had stated that the bottom of the Oakland rotation is not yet set in stone and Parker is still a candidate for one of the slots.

But Parker likely did not do himself many favors in Saturday's outing.

After the game, Melvin did not hesitate in naming lefty Milone the A's third starter for the season.

It will be exciting to watch Milone's progress throughout the year. Elsewhere in the rotation news, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Dallas Braden -- whose timeline to rejoin the team was sometime in May -- has suffered a setback in his rehab and has strained his shoulder. The team is uncertain at this time how much this will extend his rehab and are waiting to hear back from doctors.

For more on the Oakland A's and their season opener in Japan, head on over to Athletics Nation.

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Oakland Athletics Lose Exhibition Game To Hanshin Tigers, 12-6

Japan's Hanshin Tigers took advantage of a struggling Tyson Ross and defeated the Oakland Athletics, 12-6, just 24 hours after the Tigers beat the Seattle Mariners.

Ross gave up eight runs and 10 hits in just four innings, with six runs being earned. His defense behind him didn't help as they committed three errors in the loss. Ross is slotted as the A's fourth starter this season.

Offensively, the A's looked good as they put up six runs headlined by a three-run home run by Kurt Suzuki who also hit a homer during Sunday's 5-0 win over Japan's Yomiuri Giants.

Both the A's and Mariners played the Tigers in lieu of their regular season opening matchup at the Tokyo Dome on Wednesday night. A's manager Bob Melvin was quoted on MLB.com speaking on the performance.

"I liked [the offense] better than the rest of the day," manager Bob Melvin said. "Today wasn't our best day. We've had a real good spring, been focused all spring, played good defense. But I don't want to take anything away from them. They made a great impression on us all game long. We just didn't play one of our better games."

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Oakland Athletics Win Exhibition Game Against Yomiuri Giants, 5-0

The Oakland Athletics played the second of two exhibition games in Japan on Sunday, handily defeating the Yomiuri Giants by blanking them in a 5-0 victory. Leadoff hitter Jemile Weeks has two hits and two RBI while Kurt Suzuki homered. Yoenis Cespedes went 0-for-4, but lefty Tom Milone was more than solid, tossing five shutout innings with seven strikeouts while only giving up two hits. A terrific tune-up for the A's as they get ready to take on the Seattle Mariners to officially kick off the 2012 MLB season.

Cespedes needed to leave the game in the seventh inning due to a leg cramp, after which he was spelled by Collin Cowgill. Jane lee of MLB.com reported that Cespedes was experiencing some dehydration and will likely be held out of the next A's exhibition game against the Hanshin Tigers, but is expected to be ready to go on Wednesday when they play the Mariners.

Lee also reported that A's manager Bob Melvin is getting close to deciding on an Opening Day lineup.

Melvin decided to pack the of the order with speed, as Jemile Weeks, Cliff Pennington and Coco Crisp were handpicked for the No. 1-3 spots. Seth Smith, starting at DH, followed in the cleanup spot, with Yoenis Cespedes batting fifth.

The A's ultimately envision Cespedes batting third or fourth, but Melvin likes him in the No. 5 spot for now, not only to take away some pressure, but as a way of surrounding him with lefties, with Josh Reddick pegged to bat sixth.

Although it didn't seem this way early in the offseason, whichever lineup Melvin goes with will be a big improvement over 2011.

For more on the Oakland A's and their season opener in Japan, head on over to Athletics Nation.

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Oakland Athletics Tie Chicago Cubs 5-5 After Late Rally

The Oakland Athletics trailed for most of Tuesday's game with the Chicago Cubs, but a late rally tied the game up and eventually had the contest called after 10 innings. Brandon McCarthy made the start for the A's and worked four innings. The soon-to-be Opening Day starter allowed four runs (two earned) on five hits and three walks. He struck out just one batter.

Kila Ka'aihue belted his third home run of Spring Training in the eighth inning, while recently-signed outfielder Jonny Gomes hit a three-run homer in the ninth to tie the game, his second of the spring. Star outfield prospect Yoenis Cespedes went 2-for-5 on the afternoon with a strikeout.

Rodrigo Lopez worked five innings for the Cubs and pitched very well, holding Oakland to one run over five innings. He allowed just four hits and a walk. Tony Campana roped out four hits and stole his second base of the spring.

The A's are now 14-4-1 in Spring Training.

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Oakland A's Opening Day Roster: Brad Peacock, Jarrod Parker Will Not Travel To Tokyo

The Oakland Athletics continue to finalize their roster as they prepare for their flight to Tokyo later this week. The A's will play an exhibition double-header this Sunday against the Yomiuri Giants and the Hanshin Tigers, followed by their first two games of the regular season against the Seattle Mariners on March 28 and 29. The upcoming dates mean the A's have to have a 25-man roster in order by next week.

On the same day the A's decided to name Yoenis Cespedes their center fielder for the Tokyo trip, the team optioned Jarrod Parker to AAA-Sacramento and reassigned Brad Peacock to their minor league camp. Peacock had struggled in three appearances, giving up ten earned runs in seven innings. Parker had pitched fairly well, giving up four runs in eleven innings, but he wrapped up his big league camp walking seven Diamondbacks hitters.

Both pitchers are expected to return to the big leagues at some point, and both could very well re-join the active roster in April. Bob Melvin has indicated both pitchers remain in the hunt for the team's fifth starting pitcher spot. The job is not needed until April 17 due to days off, so one or the other could be up in Oakland by then.

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Grant Balfour Named Oakland Athletics Closer

In a move that likely left Jon Heyman a little surprised, Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin announced to the media today that Grant Balfour will open the season as the team's closer. Balfour was one of the co-favorites alongside Brian Fuentes heading into spring training and actually struggled in most of his outings. However, Melvin would appear to be most comfortable with Balfour coming into games in the ninth inning.

Balfour has made six appearances in March, giving up five runs in 5 2/3 innings of work. He served primarily as a set-up man to Andrew Bailey and Brian Fuentes in 2011, finishing the season with a 3.57 ERA in 62 innings of work. His previous career high in saves was four in 2008 and four in 2009, so this will be his first long look as a closer.

Brian Fuentes was a co-favorite in part because the A's would ideally like to build up his value and eventually trade him away. The same could hold true for Balfour as well. Although Balfour has been a very solid pitcher for the A's, his veteran status prevents him from being a long term option whenever the A's get their stadium situation figured out.

In a related note, Fautino De Los Santos is considered by most to be the A's closer of the future. He has put together a solid spring giving up one earned run in 5 1/3 innings. He will likely start the season as the right-handed set-up man while Fuentes will operate as the left-handed set-up man. If DLS is not the closer by August, it might be a minor upset.

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Yoenis Cespedes Will Be Starting Center Fielder For Oakland Athletics

When the Oakland Athletics re-signed Coco Crisp during the offseason, it seemed like business as usual for the team that had struggled in recent years. When the A's stunned the world a short time later by signing Cuban free agent Yoenis Cespedes to a four-year deal, it created an apparent logjam in the outfield. Both Crisp and Cespedes are natural center fielders.

There was a lot of speculation swirling about which of the two players would play in center, with Crisp in particular adamantly insisting he would retain his position. According to Joe Stiglich of the Mercury News, A's manager Bob Melvin has announced that it will be Cespedes patrolling center field on Opening Day in Japan, with Crisp shifting to left field ... for now.

Melvin stressed that the outfield isn't set in stone past Japan -- the A's will keep evaluating Cespedes in center once the team returns to the Bay Area and plays four exhibitions before resuming the regular season April 6.

But there's no reason to believe Cespedes won't stay in center if he plays capably and adjusts well to major league pitching.

Josh Reddick will complete the outfield as the everyday player in right.

For more on the A's and to discuss their outfield alignment, head on over to Athletics Nation.

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Athletics Option Chris Carter, Michael Taylor To Triple-A

The Oakland Atheltics had a busy day on Sunday, both on and off the field.

The A's optioned two of their former top prospects, first baseman Chris Carter and outfielder Michael Taylor, to Triple-A Sacramento. While both players are expected to make it back to the majors during the course of the season, many were hoping the two would be able to prove they belonged on the Opening Day main roster. The decision to option them back down is far from the end of the world, but disappointing nonetheless.

In happier news, the A's defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday, 11-2. Oakland has now won nine of their last 10 games. The starting pitcher for the D-Backs was former A's pitcher Trevor Cahill. Cahill gave up two runs in three inning, both runs coming on a home run by Kurt Suzuki. Cahill is now 0-3 in the Cactus League. Kila Ka'aihue and Brandon Moss also hit home runs. Moss finished the day going 3-for-3 with four RBI, despite not being in the starting lineup.

Lastly, Susan Slusser reported that Athletics reliever Joey Devine is expected to open the season on the 15-day disabled list, due to lingering soreness in his right biceps muscle.

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Athletics Spring Training: Oakland Split Squad Falls 7-2 To Giants, Defeats Cubs 4-3

The Oakland Athletics continue their Spring Training in Arizona. They played a pair of split squad games on Saturday and ended up with a close win and a blowout loss. At the end of the day, the Athletics were still sitting pretty atop the Cactus League with a 12-4 record.

Half of the A's squad hosted the Chicago Cubs at Phoenix Municipal Stadium and ended up with a 4-3 win. Three of those four A's runs came in the bottom of the first inning. Cliff Pennington stole a base and scored on a fielding error and Seth Smith doubled in Manny Ramirez and Jonny Gomes. The run that ended up being the difference in the game came in the bottom of the sixth, when Brandon Allen hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Gomes. Yoenis Cespedes was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and is now batting .188 in Spring Training.

The other half of the Athletics split squad did not fare so well against the San Francisco Giants at Scottsdale Stadium, losing by a final of 7-2. Tim Lincecum picked up his second win of the spring, pitching six innings and giving up six hits and only one run, while striking out four. The good news for the A's was that five of those six hits off of Lincecum were for extra bases. Coco Crisp and Collin Cowgill each managed a triple against the Giants ace, while Daric Barton, Derek Norris and Kila Ka'aihue all picked up a double against the right-hander. The Giants roughed up Oakland pitching with home runs from Pablo Sandoval, Ryan Theriot and Angel Pagan, while Melky Cabrera and Nate Schierholtz had doubles.

Two-hit games by Cowgill and Barton in the Giants game were very positive signs for the Athletics. They will be hoping both players can make big contributions to the team in 2012.

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Yoenis Cespedes Has Huge Day In Spring Training Debut With Oakland Athletics

Yoenis Cespedes made his highly-anticipated Spring Training debut with the Oakland Athletics on Saturday and it looks like it was definitely worth the wait.

The Cuban center fielder, who signed a four-year contract with the A's as a hot-prospect international free agent, started Saturday's Spring Training game against the Cincinnati Reds in the second spot in the lineup. Odds are good that he'll soon be moving down in the order, particularly after his performance today.

Cespedes had two hits in four innings: he walked on six pitches in the bottom of the first, hit an RBI single in the second inning and blasted a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the fourth. Our dear friend Bay Area Sports Guy provides us with a video of the homer.

An OPS of 3.500 is certainly a great way to make a solid Spring Training debut. Cespedes was spelled by Collin Cowgill in the fifth inning, but he certainly made about as good a first impression as any Oakland fan could have hoped.

The A's went on to win the game, 6-3. Their Spring Training record, coincidentally, now also stands at 6-3.

For more on the A's and to discuss their newest prospect, head on over to Athletics Nation.

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Yoenis Cespedes Makes Oakland Athletics Debut, Batting Second In Spring Training Lineup

The Oakland Athletics have numerous big-name players at Spring Training camp this year, but none has gotten more attention than Yoenis Cespedes. The young outfielder out of Cuba signed a three-year deal with the A's in February and has reportedly looked great in simulated games and in workout drills. Now the 26-year-old outfielder will try his hand against live pitching.

And as for where you can catch the young phenom making his debut:

This is undoubtably an exciting day for the Athletics, their fans and Cespedes, and it is important to give the young slugger plenty of time to get his feet wet. His coaches and instructors know very little about his ability both on and off the field at this point and it will likely take some time for him to get adjusted to the American game.

In addition to batting second and playing center field this afternoon, Cespedes will be the DH on Sunday.

For more on the A's and to discuss their newest prospect, head on over to Athletics Nation.

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A's Spring Training 2012, Cactus League Schedule: Yoenis Cespedes Looking Ready For Cactus League Action

With the addition on cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes and veteran bad boy Manny Ramirez to the Oakland A's ball club this spring, there are certainly some additional eyes fixated on their camp this spring. And certainly so, as Cespedes has done nothing but what he's been billed to do, slap the leather off of all baseball's he sees. Although he hasn't seen any action in the cactus league yet, he'll be making some noise when he does:

Per John Shea on Twitter:

The A's have a trio of games this weekend, taking on the Colorado Rockies at Salt River Fields Friday, then face off with the Cincinnati Reds at Phoenix Municipal Stadium Saturday. Those games are at 12:10 p.m PT with coverage on MLB.tv. Sunday they host the Kansas City Royals at 1:05 p.m. PT (remember day light savings time!).

For more in depth discussion and analysis of the Oakland A's, make sure you head on over to Athletics Nation to get in on the action.

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A's Spring Training: Manny Ramirez Out For A's In Dodgers Cactus League Game

The Oakland Athletics' Wednesday Cactus League game against the Los Angeles Dodgers was going to be the first time that Manny Ramirez, who signed a minor-league contract with the A's, was going to face the Dodgers, his old team with whom he played for in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

According to SB Nation LA's Eric Stephen, the reunion never took place as Ramirez was a last second scratch due to back stiffness.

The scheduled reunion, however, didn't happen, as Ramirez was a late scratch with back stiffness. Chris Carter took Ramirez's spot in the lineup, batting cleanup as the designated hitter.

Ramirez was once one of the best ball players in Major League Baseball and is best known for his years as a Boston Red Sox outfielder and before that with the Cleveland Indians. He's now at the end of his career but his name still has the ability to fill some seats.

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A's Spring Training: Cactus League Highlights And Schedule

The Cactus League is in full swing and some members of the Oakland Athletics have gotten off to strong starts to the spring. Here are some of the highlights among the hitters and pitchers on the Cactus League roster.

Hitting

Brandon Allen, .571, 4 hits, 2 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI

Eric Sogard, .400, 4 hits, 2 HRs, 2B, 3 RBI

Josh Reddick, .600, 3 hits, 1 RBI

Wes Timmons, .333, 3 hits, 2B, 3 RBI

Jemile Weeks, .500, 3 hits, HR, 2B, 3 RBI

Pitching

Jarrod Parker, 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2.0 IP, 4 strikeouts

Travis Schlichting, 1-0, 4.50 ERA, 2.0 IP, 1 strikeout

11 pitchers have not given up a run

Here is the Cactus League schedule for the Athletics for this week.

Monday

Athletics (ss) @ Cubs, Mesa

Angels @ Athletics (ss), Phoenix

Tuesday

Athletics @ Brewers, Maryvale

Wednesday

Dodgers @ Athletics, Phoenix

Thursday

Athletics @ Dodgers, Glendale

Friday

Athletics @ Rockies, Salt River

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A's Spring Training: Yoenis Cespedes' First Workout [PHOTO]

The Oakland Athletics welcomed Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes to Spring Training on Sunday as he took part in his first practice alongside his new teammates. He took some batting practice alongside Manny Ramirez, and according to Jerry Crasnick, was very impressive with the stick:

Cespedes signed a four-year, $36 million contract this offseason, the highest ever for a Cuban defector. Cespedes joins an A's squad that currently has 16 outfielders in camp, and manager Bob Melvin says he has some catching up to do before making his Cactus League debut. Cespedes said that he'll need only about five or six days to be game ready.

He is projected to be a major-leaguer come opening day, but whether he'll usurp Coco Crisp for the center field position or take up the mantle in left will be the main question surrounding him this spring.

For more on the A's head over to Athletics Nation.

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Spring Training 2012: Yoenis Cespedes Will Be Introduced By Oakland Athletics On Sunday

Both Cuban free agent Yoenis Cespedes and the Oakland Athletics made waves this offseason when they announced that the in-demand center fielder would be making his home in the East Bay in 2012. Cespedes was a late arrival to Spring Training in Arizona but it appears as though American fans will officially be introduced to the newest member of the Athletics on Sunday.


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Jane Lee of MLB.com reports that the A's and Cespedes finalized their four-year deal on Saturday. General manager Billy Beane will introduce Cespedes as a member of the Athletics at a 9:00 a.m. PT news conference on Sunday. Cespedes will wear No. 52, which could end up being this year's hot seller for Athletics jerseys (behind Manny Ramirez, of course.)

A's manager Bob Melvin stated that the team would watch Cespedes work out on the field on Sunday, but the skipper plans not to use the outfielder until he feels the new arrival is ready.

For more on the A's and for continued Spring Training coverage, head over to Athletics Nation.

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Spring Training 2012: 16 Oakland Hits Lead To 9-2 A's Win Over Mariners

The Oakland Athletics played their second 2012 Spring Training game on Saturday. One day after they fell victim to a bevy of Seattle Mariners home runs in an 8-5 loss, it was the A's turn to play long ball. Oakland banged out 16 hits and two homers to pick up an easy first win of the season, 9-2.


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The M's got on the board first in the bottom of the first inning when Dustin Ackley walked and stole second base. Justin Smoak drove him in with a two-out single.

The A's jumped ahead in the top of the third when Seth Smith got a two-out single of his own to drive in Jemile Weeks. Jonny Gomes was up next and belted a two-run homer to center field to give Oakland a lead they would not relinquish.

Seattle closed the gap to 3-2 the following inning when Carlos Peguero hit a solo home run, but the Mariners would not have another baserunner cross the plate. Eric Sogard reached base to lead off the top of the fifth for the A's and Weeks followed up with a two-run homer.

Sogard, Collin Cowgill, Wes Timmons and Derek Norris each picked up an RBI in the game. Weeks, Timmons, Gomes, Sogard and Kila Ka'aihue picked up two hits each.

For more on the A's and for continued Spring Training coverage, head over to Athletics Nation.

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Oakland A's Spring Training News: Manny Ramirez Makes Debut, Will Play Every Other Day

All eyes will be on Manny Ramirez and the Oakland Athletics in Spring Training as the veteran slugger attempts to come back from a steroid suspension. Once arguably the most feared hitter in baseball, Ramirez has not played competitively in nearly a year and will take some time to get his timing back at the plate. With a 50-game suspension looming, he will have plenty of time to work in the batting cages.

Susan Slusser of SFGate.com caught up with Ramirez, manager Bob Melvin and a few others to discuss Manny being in camp:

After his two plate appearances in the Cactus League opener, Ramirez said that his timing was better than he had expected and that he was happy that he was seeing the ball well.

"I feel great," he said. "I made contact."

Ramirez saw only three pitches in his two at-bats, and manager Bob Melvin chalked that up to being anxious to do something right away with a new team. Melvin noted that Ramirez's first grounder was hit "on the button."

Melvin anticipates Ramirez playing essentially every other day in Arizona, which probably translates to most home games.

"He needs some consistent at-bats early on so we can get an early read," Melvin said.

Ramirez has plenty to prove in 2012 and most are in the belief that he will not be able to make much of a comeback after missing so much time. Should Manny get his swing back, he could provide the A's with a substantial boost from the DH slot in the lineup. That is far from guaranteed, though, and it will be up to the 38-year old slugger to put the work in if he hopes to have any shot at doing so.

For more on Ramirez and to discuss the A's in Spring Training, head over to Athletics Nation.

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Spring Training 2012: Oakland A's Set Lineup For Saturday's Game Against Mariners

The Oakland Athletics saw themselves fairly brutalized in their first Spring Training game on Friday. The Seattle Mariners bashed five home runs in the game and won by a final score of 8-5. The A's will have a chance to get the win back on Saturday and have already released their lineup for the game.


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A's beat reporter Jane Lee of MLB.com relayed Saturday's opening lineup via Twitter on Friday afternoon.

1. Jemile Weeks - 2B
2. Collin Cowgill - CF
3. Seth Smith - LF
4. Jonny Gomes - DH
5. Kila Ka'aihue - 1B
6. Josh Donaldson - 3B
7. Michael Taylor - RF
8. Anthony Recker - C
9. Eric Sogard - SS

Looking at the lineup, that seems like a surprisingly solid heart of the order. I was impressed with Cowgill last season, Smith and Gomes have plenty of power and Ka'aihue has the potential to be a good number-five hitter. We will have to wait and see how well this lineup produces tomorrow.

For more on the A's and for continued Spring Training coverage, head over to Athletics Nation.

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Spring Training 2012: Oakland A's Fall To Mariners In Spring Opener

The Oakland Athletics officially kicked off their Spring Training season on Friday afternoon as they took on the Seattle Mariners out in beautiful Arizona. The game was understandable sloppy with primarily backups getting the start and no pitcher worked more than 2.1 innings. In a matchup that went back-and-forth for most of the afternoon, the A's fell 8-5.

Graham Godfrey made the start for Oakland and was smacked around a bit. The 27-year old righty, who is in a battle for one of the back-end rotation spots, allowed two runnings in two innings of work while allowing two hits and a walk. In a bit of promising news, Godfrey managed to record four strikeouts in his brief stint on the mound.

He was relieved by Ron Milone, who is also battling for a roster post, and the lefty gave up two runs (one earned) on a hit and no walks. He also struck out four. Grant Balfour, a staple for the bullpen, surrendered three runs in his inning of work.

Josh Reddick, who came over from Boston in the offseason, got off to a strong start going 2-for-4 with a stolen base. Jemile Weeks smacked a double and drove in a run, while utility man Josh Sogard hit the lone home run of the day for the A's, a solo-shot in the seventh inning.

For more on the A's and for continued Spring Training coverage, head over to Athletics Nation.

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A's Spring Training: Cactus League Weekend Schedule

The Cactus League heats up (naturally) this weekend as play gets underway on Friday and many of the teams will play their first game by Sunday.

You can get a full list of participating teams and home fields here.

The A's kick off Cactus League play on Friday when they host the Seattle Mariners in Phoenix. They'll return the favor by heading to Peoria on Saturday to play the M's again. On Sunday, the A's will get their first look at the National League Chicago Cubs.

Here is a look at the full schedule:

Friday

Seattle Mariners vs. Oakland Athletics - Phoenix

Saturday

Cleveland Indians @ Cincinnati Reds - Goodyear
Oakland A's @ Seattle Mariners - Peoria
Arizona Diamondbacks (ss) @ Colorado Rockies- Salt River
Arizona Diamondbacks (ss) @ San Francisco Giants - Scottsdale

Sunday

Kansas City Royals @ Texas Rangers - Surprise, noon
Cincinnati Reds @ Cleveland Indians- Goodyear
San Francisco Giants (ss) @ Milwaukee Brewers - Maryvale
Oakland A's @ Chicago Cubs - Mesa
San Diego Padres @ Seattle Mariners- Peoria
San Francisco Giants (ss) @ Arizona Diamondbacks - Salt River

Any other information needed can be found here. Check out the full schedule PDF here.

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A's Spring Training: Josh Donaldson Shines In Intrasquad Game

With Scott Sizemore out for the foreseeable future, the Oakland A's are going to need a third baseman to step up. If converted catcher Josh Donaldson keeps playing like he did in Thursday's intrasquad game, it might be his job to lose.

After a rocky start, Donaldson stood out in just four innings of play (via San Francisco Chronicle):

Donaldson, who converted from catcher to third when Scott Sizemore was injured on Saturday, made an error in the top of the third inning — then two batters later, ended the inning with a nice stop near the third-base line and a long, strong throw to first to get Chris Carter.

Then, in the fourth inning, Donaldson hit a three-run homer off Jim Miller to win the game.

Manager Bob Melvin liked the way Donaldson recovered so well after an error. Donaldson added:

"If I mess up, which is going to happen sometimes this year, they’re going to count on me the next play, so I’ve got to man up and make the play."

Meanwhile, the A's have strongly denied a report in El Nuevo Herald that they might have offered Cuban Adonis Garcia a three-year, $18 million offer.

For more on the A's, please check out Athletics Nation.

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Athletics Vs. Mariners: Oakland Sets Cactus League Opener Lineup

The Oakland Athletics get are getting some competitive action in on Thursday as they have put together an intrasquad matchup. This gives them a chance for some more competitive opportunities a day before they make their Cactus League debut against the Seattle Mariners Friday at 12:05pm PT.

Susan Slusser tweeted the A's Friday lineup and it is expected to be similar to what the team will debut against the Mariners in Japan later this month. Here is their lineup:

1. Jemile Weeks, 2B
2. Cliff Pennington, SS
3. Coco Crisp, CF
4. Manny Ramirez, DH
5. Seth Smith, LF
6. Josh Reddick, RF
7. Kurt Suzuki, C
8. Brandon Allen, 1B
9. Josh Donaldson, 3B

When Opening Day rolls around, Manny Ramirez will not be part of the lineup due to a 50-game suspension for his positive drug test. Cuban slugger Yoenis Cespedes is also expected into camp as soon as this weekend, and is expected to work his way into the starting lineup.

As the A's get their season started, the two most intriguing battles will be every outfield spot (starting and depth) after Crisp and Cespedes, and the newly minted third base battle. The loss of Scott Sizemore to a torn ACL opens the door for a host of players to step in. Josh Donaldson is getting first crack at the position. He came to the A's as a catcher, but has been working on third base all winter in an attempt to provide some versatility to make the roster. Now that Sizemore is done for the year, the timing could not be better for Donaldson.

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A's Spring Training: Intrasquad Game Thursday, Cactus League Opener Friday

As Oakland Athletics Spring Training is really starting to ramp up, A's beat writer Susan Slusser has some tasty tidbits on the team's intrasquad game this Thursday, and some insight on the lineup for Friday's Cactus League opener as well.

First off, the A's will use two 10-man rosters with four total DH's for their simulated intrasquad game Thursday, with the lineups as follows:

"Visitor" - Sogard 2b, Timmons 3b, Pridie rf, Carter 1b, Powell c, Green cf, Hunter lf, Fiorentino dh, Ortiz dh, Ladendorf ss.

"Home" - Cowgill cf, Moss lf, Taylor rf, Ka'aihue 1b, Donaldson 3b, Recker c, Choice dh, Norris dh, Horton 2b, Cabrera ss.

They had to borrow a few bodies from the minor league side in Josh Horton, Yordy Cabrera and Tyler Ladendorf, though Slusser expects a number of guys to take part in the game tomorrow, including Manny Ramirez, Kurt Suzuki, Jemile Weeks, Coco Crisp, Jonny Gomes and a few others.

Bob Melvin noted that the lineup tomorrow will be similar to that of opening day, aside from things like Manny as the DH (50 game suspension) and the assumption that Yoenis Cespedes will play opening day.

Melvin also noted that Daric Barton won't be taking part due to a recent cortisone shot in his shoulder, but could possibly DH Monday in a split-squad game.

Tomorrow's game can be found as a streaming webcast from the A's official site, and the weekend games will air on 95.7 FM The GAME with Vince Cotroneo and Ray Fosse on the mic.

For more on the A's, please check out Athletics Nation.

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Brandon McCarthy Selected As Oakland A's Opening Day Starting Pitcher

The Oakland Athletics are looking to rebuild their franchise after multiple down years and rebuilding typically comes with dealing your proven, veteran players to other teams to acquire younger, cheaper talent. The A's sent starting pitchers Gio Gonzalez to Washington and Trevor Cahill to Arizona, leaving quite the void at the top of their rotation. With few proven pitchers in the mix, Oakland has announced Brandon McCarthy will be the Opening Day starter in 2012.

Susan Slusser of SFGate.com provides the latest update from Spring Training in Phoenix:

Oakland might have many questions, but the identity of the team's Opening Day starter never was in real doubt.

For weeks, all signs pointed to Brandon McCarthy, the top returning healthy A's starter, and on Tuesday, manager Bob Melvin made it official, saying that McCarthy will go March 28 in Japan against the Mariners.

"I thought it was a natural based on what he accomplished last year," Melvin said.

After bouncing around with various clubs around the league, McCarthy finally got a chance to be in the rotation last season in Oakland. While making 25 starts for the A's, the 28-year old posted an ERA of 3.32 (and equally impressive FIP of 3.30) while posting a strong strikeout-to-walk ratio of 4.92, which ranked among the best in the American League.

There will be plenty of extra pressure as the A's take the field in Japan, but there was no better candidate on the roster to handle the starting pitching duties than Brandon McCarthy.

For even more on the team and to discuss the A's with other fans, head on over to Athletics Nation.

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Scott Sizmore Injury: Athletics 3B Out For Season With Torn ACL

The Oakland Athletics got the worst case scenario news on Monday as Scott Sizemore's MRI revealed a torn ACL. The team is reporting the diagnosis and that Sizemore will be out for the 2012 season. According to Susan Slusser, Sizemore will wait two weeks for surgery as he needs the swelling in his knee to go down. Sizemore hurt the knee during a fielding drill, going down down with what onlookers described as an audible pop.

The end of Sizemore's season means there is now a wide open battle at third base. The battle will include Wes Timmons, Adam Rosales and Eric Sogard, as well as newly converted Josh Donaldson, who had previously been a catcher. As Slusser pointed out, the A's look at Rosales and Sogard primarily as utility players who can fill in around the infield. That could give Donaldson a better shot at winning the job out of camp. Donaldson actually spent his winter in the Dominican league playing third base, boosting his chances of getting a starting job.

The A's get the competition in gear with an intra-squad game on Thursday and get their first opponent Saturday when they host the Seattle Mariners.

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Oakland Athletics Spring Training 2012: A's Searching For A Temporary Designated Hitter

The Oakland Athletics have signed Manny Ramirez to be their designated hitter in 2012, a move that will bring to shortage of media interest and scrutinizing. The only problem is that Ramirez will still need to serve a 50-game suspension at the outset of the season, due to a 2011 violation of MLB drug policy. The A's will need to fill the DH role for those 50 games and are currently weighing their options during Spring Training.

Joe Stiglich of the Mercury News reports that there are plenty of in-house candidates for the job.

[Jonny] Gomes and [Seth] Smith have the most proven major league track records of all the D.H. candidates, but their career left/right splits are quite drastic. Smith has hit right-handers much better than left-handers over his career (.290 vs. .202), and Gomes is better against left-handers (.281 vs. .224).

A's manager Bob Melvin could platoon the two.

Smith would appear to be the more likely candidate, but the platoon option sounds intriguing considering their splits. Smith came to the A's in a trade with the Colorado Rockies during the offseason. In 2011, he hit 15 home runs with the Rockies and slugged .483.

For all news and information regarding the Oakland A's, please visit Athletics Nation.

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Oakland Athletics Spring Training 2012: Scott Sizemore Injury Update

The Oakland Athletics experienced a troubling incident at Spring Training camp today, as third baseman Scott Sizemore suffered a left knee injury during the first hour of the team's full squad workout. He was practicing fielding drills and planted his foot while fielding, resulting in an "audible pop" from his knee.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, who first broke the news on Saturday via her Twitter feed, offered some more information later in the day on her A's blog. At last report, Sizemore was still waiting to get an MRI and more specific news or updates about his injury will not be available until Sunday at the earliest.

Slusser did get some comments from backup third baseman Josh Donaldson, who was expected to be fighting with several others, including Sizemore, for playing time this season.

Donaldson, who played third during winter ball, reiterated today what he'd told me earlier in camp: He is here to win a job by any means necessary. He can catch, play third, outfield, first base, and he said today he played second twice at Triple-A Sacramento last year and nearly played shortstop once.

"I believe in my ability to play third and contribute at the major-league level, prove myself to Bob (Melvin) and Billy (Beane) and those guys," Donaldson said. "I'm hungry to win a job. I'm here to win a job."

It is clear that Donaldson wants to play. Hopefully his playing time will not come due to a significant injury to Sizemore.

For all news and information regarding the Oakland A's, please visit Athletics Nation.

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Scott Sizemore Injury: Oakland Athletics 3B Suffers Knee Injury

According to the San Francisco Chronicle Oakland A's beat writer Susan Slusser, A's third baseman Scott Sizemore has suffered a left knee injury within the first hour of team's first full-squad workout. Slusser says that Sizemore is getting an MRI today to asses the damage to his knee, and according to an onlooker, there was "an audible pop" when the third baseman planted his foot. It is currently unclear exactly how Sizemore injured his knee and what the extent of the damage is, if any, but Slusser did say on her Twitter account that he appeared to be in significant pain.

Sizemore, who was acquired via trade from the Detroit Tigers in 2011, finished the season for the A's with .249 batting average, 76 hits and 42 runs including 11 home runs in 93 games. If his knee injury proves to be one that would keep him out for an extended period of time, his primary backups, Eric Sogard and Adam Rosales, could get some playing time, though Slusser believes that the A's would be more likely to look outside the organization for a replacement at third base.

For more on the A's spring training and Sizemore's injuries, head to Athletics Nation, and follow the SB Nation Bay Area StoryStream.

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A's Spring Training: Manny Ramirez Arrives at Camp [VIDEO]

The Oakland Athletics' spring training now has the potential to get a little more interesting. Manny Ramirez made his first appearance for the team today, taking some batting practice and talking to reporters. Per the San Francisco Chronicle, Manny expressed his gratitude to the A's for giving him a chance to play baseball again after his life took some strange and dark turns.

Ramirez said he thought he might never get another chance. "It feels good, let me tell you," he said. "I'm happy I've got a job. ... I thought I'd lose my family and my career, that was not easy."

Ramirez said he wants to show his children "when you have a problem, you can get up and fix it."

He knows not everyone will accept his return to the game, and he offered no apologies for his positive drug test, though he said, "Sometimes when you don't got God in your heart, you do stupid things."

Ramirez said he believes he can be a good example for the A's younger players. "I can tell them what happened to me," he said. "You don't want to be in a deep hole. ... Everyone knows my story. I can tell them how I changed, and the way I used to think."

Ramirez, once he's done serving his 50-game suspension to start the year, will try to make a difference at DH. See Manny take some swings below.


For more in depth discussion and analysis of everything Athletics, make sure that you head over to Athletics Nation to get in on the action and show off your fanhood. For more on baseball in general, head over to SB Nation's dedicated MLB hub.

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A's Spring Training: Coco Crisp or Yoenis Cespedes In Center Field? [VIDEO]

With the signing of Yoenis Cespedes and the re-signing of Coco Crisp the Oakland Athletics have themselves a good old fashioned positional battle as to who will be take the reigns in center field this season, which CSN Bay Area's Kate Longworth dove right into at A's camp on Thursday.

Bob Melvin was sure not to get into any specifics, staying right on the surface of things when talking about the competition between Crisp and Cespedes. Melvin knows Crisp has experience in left field in his career, but also knows that he's a veteran professional that knows the outfield well at O.Co. Should be interesting to see how it pans out down the line this spring.

For more in depth discussion and analysis of everything Athletics, make sure that you head over to Athletics Nation to get in on the action and show off your fanhood. For more on baseball in general, head over to SB Nation's dedicated MLB hub.

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A's Spring Training 2012: Position Players Report Saturday

The Oakland Athletics' pitchers and catchers reported to spring training last Saturday, but the rest of the squad wil be reporting this Saturday to complete the team. Here is a a quick look at the host of players that will be at the A's Phoenix facility this weekend:

At first, Brandon Allen, Daric Barton, Chris Carter, Kila Ka'aihue will battle for playing time. At shortstop, Cliff Pennington leads the depth chart, but will face competition from the likes of Adam Rosales and Eric Sogard. Jemile Weeks is locked in at 2nd, while Scott Sizemore is tops at third but will face his share of competition.

In the outfield, Collin Cowgill, Coco Crisp, Jonny Gomes, Jermaine Mitchell, Josh Reddick, Seth Smith, and Michael Taylor will all look to impress. Seth Smith looks to be the frontrunner in left, with Coco Crisp in center and Josh Reddick in right. And of course, Manny Ramirez will make a big splash upon his arrival.

Behind the plate, the presumptive starter is veteran Kurt Suzuki, with Anthony Recker, Derek Norris, and Josh Donaldson all due a look.

Non-roster invites include catchers Ryan Ortiz, Landon Powell, and Max Stassi, infielder Wes Timmons, and outfielders Michael Choice, Jeff Fiorentino, Grant Green, Cedric Hunter, Brandon Moss, and Jason Pridie.

For more in depth discussion and analysis of the Oakland A's, make sure you check out Athletics Nation to get in on the action and show off your fanhood.

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A's Spring Training 2012: Brandon McCarthy Ready For Challenges Ahead [VIDEO]

Last year at this time Oakland A's pitcher Brandon McCarthy was unsure whether or not he'd be even making the Athletics rotation, but this year during Spring Training, McCarthy is ready to grab the bull by the horns as the likely opening day starter for the A's in 2012.

With both Dallas Braden and Brett Anderson coming off of injuries, McCarthy will have a lot of weight on his shoulders this season. Here McCarthy talks to CSN Bay Area about what he expects heading into the season, while catcher Kurt Suzuki and skipper Bob Melvin talks about how McCarthy and the rest of the team are coming together as a majority of the players are still getting to know each other.

For more in depth discussion and analysis of the Oakland A's, make sure you check out Athletics Nation to get in on the action and show off your fanhood.

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2012 Offseason: Could Manny Ramirez Have Been Better? MLB.com's Richard Justice Thinks So

The Oakland Athletics are in a win-win situation. If they get the good Manny Ramirez, they're getting one of the best hitters of his generation at the tail end of what should be a Hall of Fame career. If they get bad Manny, it won't be for long since he's coming cheap enough that getting rid of him won't be a hassle.

But it's pretty sad that it's come to this, as MLB.com's Richard Justice points out.

"Unfortunately, he may never get the credit he deserves for being a great player. Some will debate whether he was malicious or just a bit different. Regardless, there are former managers and teammates who believed he just didn't care about anything other than money."

Justice was almost frustrated with Ramirez. So much talent, so much time wasted. For Ramirez to have all of his stated faults, and still produce at the level that he did, does leave you wondering what could have been if he was all the way dialed in, all the time. It's pretty scary to think about the level of production he could have been capable of.

Other than Albert Pujols and Barry Bonds, there wasn't a more consistently dangerous hitter than Ramirez in his prime. Alex Rodriguez was prolific as well but his postseason numbers were up and down. Ramirez was consistent, no matter the time of year. If the Athletics get at least a piece of what made him worthy of $200 million over the course of his career, they could be getting a piece worth the risk.

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A's Spring Training 2012: Stadium, Cactus League Map And More

The Oakland Athletics pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training this past weekend and have begun throwing their bullpen sessions. Position players report Friday February 24 and the team will conduct its first full workout on Saturday February 25. The schedule flies by after that as the team begins their spring training game schedule a week later on Friday March 2. The A's have a limited schedule this year as they will be heading to Japan for a series with the Mariners the final week in March.

If you are planning on heading down to Arizona for some A's spring training action, Phoenix Municipal Stadium is a great place for some action. The A's spring training home is based near downtown Phoenix at 5999 E. Van Buren Street. It is located north of I-10 Exit 153 (48th) street. Tickets range from $12 for outfield reserved seats to $25 for field box seats. Tickets are easy to get at the stadium, or you can order them online ahead of time.

The Cactus League setup in the greater Phoenix area does require some driving to get to the various stadiums. The closest stadiums to the A's at Phoenix Muni are the Giants at Scottsdale Stadium, the Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium and the Cubs at HoHoKam Stadium. Here is a complete map of stadiums in the greater Phoenix area.

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Oakland Athletics Spring Training 2012: Manny Ramirez Signing 'Classic Billy Beane'

Manny Ramirez has joined the Oakland Athletics under the terms of a minor league contract. It's a curious decision when you think about the baggage that comes with "Manny being Manny." However, Athletics Nation thinks this might be one of those moves that really doesn't have any downside.

To me this move makes sense in quite a few ways. First and foremost, it costs the A's nothing really other than $500K which I think Lew Wolff burped up after his breakfast burrito this morning.

Second, Manny is suspended 50 games so the A's don't really have to make any decisions with him until then. If the A's find that Chris Carter or Brandon Allen or someone else can be a beast as a DH prior to then, then you just release Manny.

To me it's classic Billy Beane.

The A's have struggled to find consistent bats in recent seasons since the departure of Frank Thomas. Why not take a shot here. If it doesn't work out, you don't lose much.

For all news and information regarding the Oakland Athletics, please visit Athletics Nation.

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Manny Ramirez Signing Is Virtual No-Lose For Oakland Athletics

The Oakland A's have come to terms on a minor league contract with former Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez. Although Ramirez will serve a 50-game suspension before joining the A's in the regular season, he provides upside with relatively low risk. For more reaction to the signing, head over to Athletics Nation.

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Manny Ramirez Signs Minor League Contract With Oakland Athletics

The circus is coming to town for the Oakland Athletics. Reports indicate that slugger Manny Ramirez has joined the Oakland Athletics under the terms of a minor league contract. ESPN is reporting the deal is worth approximately $500,000, but nothing official is out there yet.

As expected, the deal is low risk for the A's as they get to see if Manny still has something left in his bat. Ramirez would be the team's designated hitter, although he would not do so until after serving his 50-game suspension for a failed drug test. He will be able to participate in spring training with the team and will get to play in extended spring training while serving the suspension. This would give the A's plenty of time to evaluate what he can still bring to the table.

If Manny has something left in his bat, he and newly-signed Yoenis Cespedes could provide a strong 1-2 punch in the middle of the Oakland lineup. The A's have struggled to find solid bats in recent seasons, pretty much since the departure of Frank Thomas. Neither Cespedes nor Ramirez is a sure thing, but they are relatively low risk gambles for the low payroll A's. If they pay off, this team suddenly could turn into a modest contender.

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Oakland Athletics Spring Training 2012: A's May Add More Players

Pitchers and catchers reported to camp for the Oakland Athletics on Saturday, but it appears that the front office is still working on moves to round out the roster as Spring Training draws near.

Jane Lee at MLB.com reported that A's manager Bob Melvin addressed the media on Saturday and said there is a "definite possibility" that the team will be adding more players prior to the Feb. 25 reporting date for position players.

"There are probably some questions I have to shy away from, based on the fact that I'm not certain we're done on what the roster is going to look like," Melvin said. "But I think we've shown this offseason that we're not afraid to make some moves."

Melvin may just be alluding to the rumors that the A's are on the verge of signing free agent slugger Manny Ramirez and reliever Koji Uehara, but given the signing of Yoenis Cespedes and the other strange offseason moves that Oakland has made, it would seem that all bets are off at the moment.

For all news and information regarding the Oakland Athletics, please visit Athletics Nation.

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Oakland Athletics Pitcher Brett Anderson Nearing Return To Baseball Activities After Surgery

The Oakland Athletics are looking to rebuild their pitching staff and they may be getting a big boost to their efforts with the return of Brett Anderson. The 24-year old southpaw missed most of the 2011 season after undergoing Tommy John Surgery on his left elbow and has been busy rehabbing in preparation for the upcoming year. Spring Training is right around the corner and Anderson is about to take a big step towards his return to baseball.

And another update:

Anderson will likely continue his rehab work throughout Spring Training and will throw numerous bullpens each week. Should everything go to plan, it sounds like the left-handed starter could begin a Minor League assignment by late-July and then see some time in Oakland for the stretch run.

Should Anderson hit a snag in his recovery, he may elect to just sit out the entire 2012 season and prepare for a big year in 2013. No reason to risk ruining your career for a few meaningless starts in September.

For more on the A's, head on over to Athletics Nation.

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Spring Training 2012: Oakland Athletics Pitchers And Catchers Report On Saturday

The Oakland Athletics will have their pitchers and catchers reporting to camp on Saturday as Spring Training officially gets underway. It has been an odd offseason for the A's as they have dealt away several young and talented arms. 2012 Spring Training will be one to keep a close eye on, even a week before newly-acquired Cuban star Yoenis Cespedes reports with the rest of the position players.

Here are the pitchers and catchers scheduled to report on Saturday.

40-Man Roster Pitchers:

Brett Anderson
Grant Balfour
Jerry Blevins
Dallas Braden
Andrew Carignan
Bartolo Colon
Ryan Cook
Fautino De Los Santos
Joey Devine
Sean Doolittle
Pedro Figueroa
Brian Fuentes
Graham Godfrey
Brandon McCarthy
Tom Milone
Jordan Norberto
Jarrod Parker
Brad Peacock
Tyson Ross
Neil Wagner

40-Man Roster Catchers:

Josh Donaldson
Derek Norris
Anthony Recker
Kurt Suzuki

Non-Roster Pitcher Invitees:

Fabio Castro
Edgar Gonzalez
Sonny Gray
Jim Miller
Travis Schlichting
Evan Scribner
Erick Threets
Merkin Valdez

Non-Roster Catcher Invitees:

Ryan Ortiz
Landon Powell
Max Stassi

It will be interesting to see if any of the invitees can force their way onto the roster. Merkin Valdez, who spent last season with the Texas Rangers, seems like a good candidate to be able to break into the uncertain bullpen situation in Oakland.

For all news and information regarding the Oakland Athletics, please visit Athletics Nation.

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Spring Training 2012: Oakland Athletics Roster And Non-Roster Invitees

The Oakland Athletics' pitchers and catchers report to spring training this Saturday, with the rest of the squad reporting later next week. Here is a a quick look at the host of players that will be at the A's Phoenix facility:

The projected starting rotation, depending largely on where you look, consists of 1. Brandon McCarthy, 2. Bartolo Colon, 3. Dallas Braden, 4. Tom Milone or maybe Brad Peacock or maybe Jarrod Parker or perhaps Graham Godfrey, 5. who knows? This order is probably not correct, and the point is - it's still very up in the air. Add in Brett Anderson still getting healthy and there are a host of talented arms to take up the five spots.

However it shakes up, the remaining staff on the current 40-man roster consists of Grant Balfour, Jerry Blevins, Andrew Carignan, Ryan Cook, Fautino De Los Santos, Joey Devine, Sean Doolittle, Pedro Figueroa, Brian Fuentes, Jordan Norberto, Tyson Ross, and Neil Wagner. Grant Balfour is currently the most probable candidate as the closer but will face competition from Joey Devine, Brian Fuentes and Fautino De Los Santos.

In the field, the A's probably have just as many questions. At first, Brandon Allen, Daric Barton, Chris Carter, Kila Ka'aihue will battle for playing time. At shortstop, Cliff Pennington leads the depth chart, but will face competition from the likes of Adam Rosales and Eric Sogard. Jemile Weeks is locked in at 2nd, while Scott Sizemore is tops at third but will face his share of competition.

In the outfield, Collin Cowgill, Coco Crisp, Jonny Gomes, Jermaine Mitchell, Josh Reddick, Seth Smith, and Michael Taylor will all look to impress. Seth Smith looks to be the frontrunner in left, with Coco Crisp in center and Josh Reddick in right. Of course, Yoenis Cespedes will be in the mix in center, but he is still working out the final details to get himself to camp.

Behind the plate, the presumptive starter is veteran Kurt Suzuki, with Anthony Recker, Derek Norris, and Josh Donaldson all due a look.

That takes care of the 40-man roster, but the A's have also invited 18 non-roster players to the desert with a chance to make the club. On the mound, they'll take a long look at Fabio Castro, Edgar Gonzalez, Sonny Gray, Jim Miller, Travis Schlichting, Evan Scribner, Erick Threets, and Merkin Valdez.

In the field, they'll look at catchers Ryan Ortiz, Landon Powell, and Max Stassi, infielder Wes Timmons, and outfielders Michael Choice, Jeff Fiorentino, Grant Green, Cedric Hunter, Brandon Moss, and Jason Pridie.

The 40-man roster as it stands now and the 18 non-roster invitees don't even make up the whole group that the A's will be evaluating during Spring Training. Toss in newly-signed Cuban OF Yoenis Cespedes and possibly designated hitter Manny Ramirez and you've got a lot of fresh faces and tough decisions.

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A's Spring Training 2012: Yoenis Cespedes, Possibly Manny Ramirez Could Bring Cactus League Circus

As the Oakland Athletics get ready to report for spring training, we take a look at some of the interesting position battles and storylines. For more on the A's, check out Athletics Nation.

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