Angels nip A’s in Cactus League; No WBC for Gray

February 27, 2017

MLB, Oakland Athletics

Oakland Athletics first baseman Mark Canha hits a RBI-double against the Los Angeles Angels during the third inning of a spring baseball game in Mesa, Ariz., Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

By DANIEL DULLUM
Sports Radio Service
Sunday, February 26, 2017

MESA, Ariz. – Following the Oakland Athletics’ 5-3 Cactus League loss to the Los Angeles Angels Sunday, A’s manager Bob Melvin was upbeat about the positives he saw.

On starting pitcher Daniel Gossett, who is working for a shot at making the rotation, Melvin said, “He got outs. It probably wasn’t the command he’s used to having, probably some nerves for his first start. But this is a results-based game.”

Gossett pitched at three different levels in the A’s farm system last year, compiling a combined 10-6 record with an ERA of 2.69 in 27 starts for Single-A Stockton, Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville. He also led the A’s minor league system with 151 strikeouts.

Melvin’s other observations…
On Alejandro De Aza, who tripled and scored in the third inning and laid down a sacrifice bunt to set up a run: “He’s an interesting guy, gets a bunt down, he can play all three outfield spots, We’ve seen him give us trouble when he was with the White Sox, but so far, so good, He’s going to get some playing time here.”

On catcher Josh Phegley “I’ll usually go five with a starting catcher, but we know he can throw.”

NO WBC FOR GRAY
Various media sources, including ESPN, report that the Athletics’ Sonny Gray will not be allowed to pitch for Team USA in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. Oakland general manager David Forst said the A’s right-hander was denied insurance coverage for the event.

Last August, Gray was placed on the disabled list with a strained right forearm and threw only one inning after he returned to the active roster. Because Gray didn’t pitch in 10 innings or more after August, his physical status became an issue for the company that insures players for the WBC.

Forst told the media that even though MLB pushed for Gray to receive an exemption, the final call is up to the insurance company.

Gray is the second player denied insurance to play in this year’s WBC. Catcher Russell Martin of Toronto was left off the Team Canada roster after having arthroscopic knee surgery last fall.

A’s players who are participating in the World Baseball Classic include John Axford (Canada), Santiago Casilla (Dominican Republic), non-roster invitees Ryan Lavarnway (Israel) and Cesar Valdez (Dominican Republic), and minor leaguers Jake Sanchez (Mexico) and Joey Wegman (Israel). Earlier, Liam Hendriks opted to leave Team Australia and Khris Davis won’t play for Team Mexico.

SUNDAY’S GAME
The Angels edged Oakland powered by a three-run seventh inning.

Oakland used eight pitchers, including Gossett. Aaron Kurcz (0-1) gave up three earned runs and walked two in one-third inning while taking the loss. Michael Brady and Tucker Healy each struck out two while working the eighth and ninth innings.

A’s shortstop Franklin Barreto had two hits; Ryan Lavarnway, Mark Canha and Jaycob Brugman each drove in a run.

THE WEEK AHEAD
The A’s travel to Scottsdale to face San Francisco Monday, host Cleveland on Tuesday, travel to Peoria to face San Diego on March 1, then return to Hohokam to host Texas (March 2), San Francisco (March 3), Cleveland (March 4), and travel to Peoria to play Seattle (March 5). March 6 is an off-day.

CACTUS NEEDLES: This is the Athletics’ 49th Spring Training in Arizona, and their third spring at Hohokam Stadium since returning to Mesa in 2015. The A’s previously spent 33 seasons at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. … Oakland lost its spring opener 4-3 to the Chicago Cubs at Sloan Park in Mesa. Matt Joyce and Matt Chapman homered for the A’s, and Rajah Davis stole two bases. … The A’s have 70 players in camp, the most since having 78 in camp back in 1982. This includes the 40-man roster, plus 30 non-roster invitees. The breakdown: 34 pitchers, six catchers, 19 infielders and 11 outfielders.

TAGS: Oakland Athletics,A’s,Cactus League,Sports Radio Service

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