Olney: Brian Cashman has “full confidence” of Steinbrenners

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If you ever had any doubt that the Yankees own New York, just look at the back page of the New York Daily News today.

Pretty impressive feat — no, I didn’t use that word because of Rex Ryan — especially on a weekend when the Jets are playing the Patriots in the divisional playoffs.

Anyway, Bill Madden and Roger Rubin wrote this morning that the Steinbrenners were “bothered by Cashman’s blueprint,” specifically that the club was going into the season with a thin starting rotation and little in the way of protection for closer Mariano Rivera. Cashman expressed confidence with in-house options Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson for the bullpen, but team brass ultimately decided that Rafael Soriano was an insurance policy that they couldn’t turn down.

Despite the difference of opinion, Buster Olney of ESPN.com hears that Cashman still has “full confidence” of the Steinbrenners. Jon Heyman of SI.com hears the same, adding that while Cashman preferred to keep the first-round draft pick, he “in no way threw a body block” to prevent the Soriano signing.

So, it sounds like Cashman was overruled in this instance. But is this really a big deal? And do we have any evidence that this hasn’t happened before? As much as we’d like to think that Cashman has been calling the shots personnel-wise, this is just a dose of reality that ownership has the final say, not just here, but pretty much everywhere.

Three A’s rookies hit their first big league home runs on Saturday

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The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.

Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:

Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:

In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.

The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.

Athletics call up top prospect Franklin Barreto

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The Athletics called up their top prospect on Saturday, inserting shortstop Franklin Barreto into the lineup for their second game against the White Sox. Barreto was originally scheduled to make his major league debut on Sunday, but got a head start after Jed Lowrie sustained a minor knee sprain in Friday’s 3-0 win and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.

Barreto, 21, has been rapidly climbing the rungs of the A’s minor league system after getting dealt by the Blue Jays in 2014. He got his first taste of Triple-A action late last year, going 6-for-17 with three RBI and getting caught stealing in two attempts. He fared little better this spring, slashing .281/.326/.428 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS through his first 309 PA in Nashville.

While his minor league production has been solid, if underwhelming for a prospect of his caliber, the A’s are expected to give the rookie infielder a long leash with both Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder sitting on the disabled list. Pinder landed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain on Friday. Semien, meanwhile, is still working his way back from the 60-day DL with a right wrist fracture and likely won’t rejoin the team until he completes a rehab assignment with High-A Stockton.