MLB Team Report - Oakland Athletics - INSIDE PITCH
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Oakland Athletics have always known they'll have a tough roster decision to make when reserve outfielder Craig Gentry comes off the disabled list. Outfielder Sam Fuld is making that decision harder by the day.
Fuld signed a minor league contract with the A's in February and made the Opening Day roster, taking Gentry's role as the No. 4 outfielder. In his first two games, Fuld hit .333 with two triples, two RBIs and one run. He also flashed his defensive skill in the outfield.
Fuld is out of options, so if they designate him for assignment, they'll risk losing him to another team. A's manager Bob Melvin said "we'll deal with that" decision when Gentry is activated from the disabled list. Gentry recovered from a back injury and is eligible to be activated Saturday, but he took a three-day paternity leave for the birth of his daughter and needs to play in a few minor league games, Melvin said. Gentry will most likely rejoin the team when the A's open a series Monday at Minnesota.
The longer Gentry is gone, the more chances Fuld will have to make his case for sticking with the A's.
"I knew he was a good player, but he's probably even a little better player than I thought," Melvin said. "He does a lot of things that don't show up in the box score. For a left-handed hitter he handles left-handers well. He plays all three of the outfield spots flawlessly. He made a game saver (Thursday) night. Runs the bases well. He's just a good ballplayer. I think when you're around him every day you get a better handle on how good a player he is."
Fuld said that at just 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds, he has always had to do the "little things" in baseball.
"Just being who I am physically, I've had to do things that don't show up in a box score," said Fuld, a Stanford product. "You may not see it on a given night but over the course of a week or a month I think coaches and teammates appreciate some of that stuff. That's the difference between winning a couple games over the course of the month. It's always been important to me."
Fuld was drafted by the Cubs in the 10th round in 2004 and played parts of three seasons with them before being traded to Tampa Bay in 2011. After playing parts of three seasons for the Rays, he became a free agent in December then signed with the A's.
Now Fuld is waiting to find out whether he'll be moving to a new baseball home this season.
"It's tough," Fuld said. "It's really tough. I think sometimes people lose sight of the fact this is real life. It's a job and I've got a wife and three kids. We're trying to figure out where we're going to be tomorrow or in a week or whenever. There's a lot of logistical things that can't help but get in the way of your thinking.
"But, having said that, I know that the best way to handle it is just to kind of be in the moment, just worry about preparing for tonight's game, worrying about the next pitch. It's easier said than done, but I know that' really the best way to handle it because those external thoughts, they just get in the way and they can definitely be detrimental in how you play."
MLB Team Report - Oakland Athletics - NOTES, QUOTES
STREAK: Won one
NEXT: Mariners (RHP Felix Hernandez, 1-0, 3.00 ERA) at A's (RHP Dan Straily, 2013: 10-8, 3.96)
--RHP Dan Straily had his scheduled start Friday night against Seattle pushed back one day when the game was postponed because of unsafe conditions on the infield dirt after heavy rains the night before. Straily, who went 10-8 with a 3.96 ERA last year, will make his season debut and face Mariners RHP Felix Hernandez. Straily had been scheduled to face RHP Chris Young.
--OF Michael Taylor cleared waivers and agreed to be outrighted to Triple-A Sacramento. Taylor hit .274 with three home runs and 10 RBIs in the spring for the A's, but he led the team with 17 strikeouts in 62 at-bats. Taylor was beaten out for the Athletics' fifth outfield spot by Sam Fuld, and he was designated for assignment March 29.
--2B Hiro Nakajima was outrighted to Triple-A Sacramento. The Japanese import, who batted .188 in his rookie season last year, was given little chance to crack the Athletics' middle infield this season after the offseason acquisition of INF Nick Punto. Nakajima batted just six times in the spring, singling twice.
--INF Jake Elmore was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 28 with a strained left quad. Acquired from the White Sox on Feb. 27, Elmore hit .314 for Oakland in spring training. The A's optioned Elmore to Triple-A Sacramento on March 29, but they voided that move Thursday in order to place him on the DL. He likely will be sent to Sacramento when he is eligible to be activated.
--RHP Ryan Cook (right shoulder tightness) threw a hitless, scoreless inning Thursday night in a rehab appearance for Class A Stockton. He is eligible to return Saturday and is expected to activated that day.
--RHP Josh Lindblom, recalled Wednesday to start the second game of day-night doubleheader against the Cleveland Indians, was optioned back to Triple-A Sacramento on Thursday. Lindblom allowed two runs on five hits over 4 2/3 innings and received a no-decision Wednesday in Oakland's 6-4 loss. Lindblom struck out two, walked two and gave up a two-run homer to UT Mike Aviles.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "My thought process was, 'Just get a pitch you can swing as hard as you can with, and then swing as hard as you can.' Probably nine times out of 10, I strike out with that approach." -- CF Coco Crisp, on his approach while leading off the 12th inning. He hit a home run, giving the A's a 3-2 win over the Seattle Mariners.
MLB Team Report - Oakland Athletics - ROSTER REPORT
--INF Jake Elmore (strained left quad) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 28. He will likely be sent to Triple-A Sacramento as soon as he is eligible to be activated.
--RHP Fernando Rodriguez (Tommy John surgery in March 2013) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21. He threw in several minor league games the final two weeks of spring training and will continue his comeback during a 30-day rehab assignment at Triple-A Sacramento. A's manager Bob Melvin said April 2 that he expects Rodriguez to be on the A's 25-man roster at some point this season.
--RHP Ryan Cook (right shoulder tightness) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21. He is eligible to return April 5 and is expected to do so then. He threw in a minor league game March 22. Cook is scheduled to pitch one inning April 4 for Single-A Stockton at Visalia.
--RHP A.J. Griffin (right flexor tendinitis) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21. He is unlikely to be available to start for Oakland until May at the earliest.
--OF Craig Gentry (lower back strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21. He played in several minor league games the final week in Arizona, and he is expected to return April 5, the first day he will be eligible to be activated.
--LHP Eric O'Flaherty (Tommy John surgery in May 2013) went on the 60-day disabled list Feb. 17. He was throwing long-toss at the start of spring training, and he is on track to join the A's sometime during midseason.
--RHP Jarrod Parker (torn right ulnar collateral ligament) went on the 60-day disabled list March 20. He had a second Tommy John surgery March 24, and he will miss the entire season.
RHP Sonny Gray
LHP Scott Kazmir
RHP Jesse Chavez
RHP Dan Straily
LHP Tommy Milone
RHP Jim Johnson (closer)
RHP Luke Gregerson
LHP Sean Doolittle
RHP Dan Otero
LHP Fernando Abad
RHP Evan Scribner
LHP Drew Pomeranz
1B Daric Barton
2B Eric Sogard
SS Jed Lowrie
3B Josh Donaldson
INF Nick Punto
INF Alberto Callaspo
1B/DH Brandon Moss
LF Yoenis Cespedes
CF Coco Crisp
RF Josh Reddick
OF Sam Fuld