Medical updates, roster moves, awards


by Charlie O. Mallonee

Alvarez shutdown for the season

The comeback of right-handed pitcher Henderson Alvarez has come to an abrupt halt after another disappointing development in his rehabilitation.

The A’s signed Alvarez expecting that he could return to pitching as soon as May as he recovered from shoulder surgery. There have been three attempts to get Alvarez ready in the minor leagues to make his major league comeback, but all have fallen short.

The next step is for Alvarez is to see Dr. James Andrews who will examine the shoulder and recommend further action. A recent MRI showed no structural damage but a second shoulder surgery looms as a possibility.

The 26-year-old Alvarez is under the A’s control for 2017, but a shoulder surgery would mean he would be unable to pitch next year. The A’s would have to decide if they would want to invest in a contract that would not pay off until 2018.

“I really feel bad for him,” Melvin said Tuesday. “This is a guy that’s worked so hard to get back with us and been right on the cusp a couple different times and had to go back and go through the rehab process again, which is very difficult to do, so my heart goes out to him.”

There is another Alcantara in the house

 The A’s have added another player to the expanded September roster. Infielder/outfielder Arismendy Alcantara was recalled from the Stockton Ports on Tuesday. This will be the fourth time Alcantara has been on the Major League roster this season.

Alcantara was used a pinch runner in the Tuesday night game versus the Angels. After Billy Butler singled in the eighth inning, Alcantara ran for Butler and scored the A’s second run of the game when Joey Wendle singled to right field.

A’s claim RHP off waivers from Tigers

 The A’s claimed right-handed pitcher Donn Roach off waivers from the Detroit Tigers. Roach was assigned to Triple-A Nashville. The Sounds will need pitching help for the Pacific Coast League Playoffs as they have lost three starting pitchers – Mengden, Alcantara and Cotton – to the A’s expanded Major League roster.

Roach started the season in the Seattle organization. He made four relief appearances for the Mariners and 17 starts for Triple-A Tacoma before being designated for assignment on August 6.

The TigerS claimed the 26-year-old Roach off waivers and assigned him to Triple-A Toledo. He made five starts for the Mud Hens and posted a 3-1 record with a 3.03 ERA.

Roach made his Major League debut in 2014 with the San Diego Padres. He has also pitched for the Cubs in the big leagues.

A’s nominate Doolittle for Clemente Award

 The Oakland A’s have selected relief pitcher Sean Doolittle as the A’s nominee for the 2016 Roberto Clemente Award for his outstanding efforts in the community.

Each Major League team nominates a player they believe deserves the award based on their service to the community.

Doolittle works to assist military families, is a leader among Major Leaguers in helping to create LBGT alliances  and hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for Syrian refugees at his home in Chicago.

The award is named after and is a tribute to the Hall of Fame baseball player and great humanitarian who lost his life in an airplane crash bringing aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua in 1972.

Fans can vote for their favorite nominee by posting the nominee’s hashtag to @MLB on Twitter or on Doolittle’s hashtag is #VoteDoolittle.

Scarsone named PCL Manager of the Year

 Nashville Sounds manager Steve Scarsone has been named Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year. The award is given based the voting of the league’s managers and media representatives.

Nashville – which won the American Southern Division title – had 22 players spend time with the Sounds before being called up to the Oakland A’s this season. Of the Athletics’ current 25-man roster, 14 were with Nashville before being promoted to Oakland.

Scarsone is in his fourth season as the A’s Triple-A manager having been the skipper in Sacramento prior to the move to Nashville. He has been a manager in the A’s minor league system in Class-A and Double-A as well.

Scarsone played seven seasons in the Major Leagues as a utility infielder.

Christenson awarded Texas League Manager of the Year

 Midland RockHounds manager Ryan Christenson has been named Manager of the Year in the Texas League. He is currently trying to lead his team to its second consecutive Texas League Championship.

Christenson is in his second year as manager at Midland. He managed for the A’s minor league teams in Beloit and Stockton before being promoted to the Double-A RockHounds.

Christenson spent parts of six seasons in the Major Leagues with most of his games being played for the Oakland Athletics. He also spent time with Arizona, Milwaukee and Texas.

A’s Update: the clubhouse fight; Butler to DL; both players fined

Butler Valencia

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The details are now coming out on the clubhouse fight between Billy Butler and Danny Valencia on Friday night in Chicago. Apparently, it was just as advertised. Butler told a shoe representative that Valencia was not wearing the brand named spikes in games that he is paid to wear, and Valencia took exception to Butler involving himself in his endorsement deals.

The situation deteriorated and yelling turned into a fight. Reports have Butler taking a punch off the side of his head that has now brought on concussion like symptoms. Butler was kept out of all three games in Chicago over the weekend. He would normally have been the Designated Hitter on Saturday and Sunday against left-handed starting pitchers.

The bottom line is that it appears Butler was stepping in on Valencia’s business and possibly affecting Valencia financially. Players get paid for wearing certain shoes, gloves, batting gloves, etc. As with most people, Valencia did not appreciate someone messing with his money. Does that make hitting a man on the side of his head and possibly giving him a concussion justified? No, of course not, but it does become more understandable.

A’s general manager David Forst told the media prior to the Cleveland game on Monday that both players have been fined undisclosed amounts. Forst said nothing about suspensions for the players which means none are probably forthcoming.

Butler has been placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list which means he will have to pass testing and be cleared by MLB before returning to play, so seven days off is a minimum. Infielder Arismendy Alcantara has been recalled from Triple-A Nashville to take Butler’s place on the roster.

Valencia is not in the lineup for the Monday night game with Cleveland but the Indians are are starting a right-hander on the mound for game one.

This situation is just another pothole on what has been a very rough road that has been the A’s 2016 season. Flare ups happen in every major league locker room and most go unreported because they end without injury. In this case, the flare up became a case of unacceptable workplace violence. Both players are very lucky they are highly paid athletes and not a couple of analyst working side-by-side in cubicles. If they were analyst, they would be unemployed tonight.