A’s give Conor Jackson his first career start at third base

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Willing to try just about anything — well, short of calling up Jemile Weeks or Adrian Cardenas — to improve their lackluster lineup, the A’s have Conor Jackson starting at third base on Monday.

It’ll be the first career start for Jackson at the hot corner.   He has played four innings there over two games this season.   He also played there for two innings with the Diamondbacks in 2007.

Jackson was a third baseman at the University of California, so it’s not like he’s a novice.  Still, no one seemed to think he’d have the skills to play the position in the majors.  The Diamondbacks moved him to the outfield quickly after drafting him and later stuck him at first base.

With a .255/.333/.347 line in 98 at-bats, it’s not as though Jackson has really forced his way into the lineup with his bat.  He has outproduced the Athletics’ other options at third, though.  Kevin Kouzmanoff went hitless in his last three starts, dropping him back down to .198/.238/.333 in 111 at-bats, and Andy LaRoche is hitting .219/.288/.288 in 73 at-bats.

If there was ever a time for the A’s to experiment, now is it.  They’ve been held to nine runs while losing their last five games.

Video: Jaime Garcia hits a 399-foot grand slam

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Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.

The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.

Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.

As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:

Ryon Healy exits game after taking a ground ball to the face

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Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.

Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.

Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.