Tag: Ryan Cook

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Will the second half bring more of the same for the MLB-leading A’s?


The A’s reached the halfway mark of their season Sunday, and it’s tough to find too much fault with what took place over the first 81 games.

They lead the majors with a 51-30 record after a 4-3 victory over the Miami Marlins that capped a three-game sweep for Oakland. The A’s also find themselves at or near the top of the big leagues in many significant statistical categories. But what’s that sports cliché about the danger of reading your own press clippings?

Perhaps the A’s biggest second-half challenge will be not to lose the competitive edge that got them to this point in the first place. If they need motivation, they need only look at the teams chasing them in the American League West standings.

The Los Angeles Angels trail Oakland by 5½ games for first, but they’re playing good baseball and have climbed to 10 games above .500. One spot back, the Seattle Mariners are 44-38. And both clubs surely will be looking to bolster their rosters as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches.

The A’s don’t show signs of a team that’s on the verge of a nose-dive, but even so, it’s probably a healthy thing that they’ve got a couple teams in their rear-view mirror that appear to pose a threat.

“We’ve been playing tremendous baseball,” starting pitcher Tommy Milone said. “Obviously that’s what we expect of ourselves. The goal now is just to keep it up. We can’t get soft. We’ve gotta continue to play good baseball. It’s not gonna be hard for us. We’re gonna go out and battle.”

Sunday’s victory at Marlins Ballpark exemplified a lot of what’s gone right for the A’s. They entered the season wondering if they could make up for season-ending injuries to starters Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin. To this point, the rotation has answered the bell, despite some shaky outings over the past week-and-a-half.

[INSTANT REPLAY: Milone, Freiman help A’s edge out Marlins]

Milone, one of the pitchers who entered the rotation when Parker and Griffin went down in spring training, came through Sunday on an afternoon when the A’s had just three relievers rested and ready.

He delivered seven sharp innings, allowing just four hits and three runs (two earned), and he added some fine defensive work to aid his cause. Milone is 6-3 with a respectable 3.79 ERA, a solid contributor at the back of a rotation that’s had its depth sternly tested. The A’s 3.16 overall ERA is second in the majors to Washington’s 3.07.

Jim Johnson’s first-half struggles threw a wrench in the bullpen plans, but the A’s have improvised in that department too. Sean Doolittle is proving to be a very reliable closer, and with Doolittle unavailable Sunday, Ryan Cook notched his first save of the season. One thing to watch from this point forward is whether Cook works his way back into a prominent late-inning role after injuries set him back in the first half. Can Johnson be a contributing factor, or might the A’s swing a trade if they find a taker?

[RELATED: Francis hero on not-so-perfect day for A’s]

First baseman Nate Freiman, who took a redeye flight Sunday morning to join the A’s from Triple-A when Josh Reddick joined the disabled list, hit a three-run homer to sink the Marlins and clinch a sweep. Oakland has proven there’s safety in roster numbers. Is there another major league team that effectively utilizes so many different players, including those who might be lingering in the minors?

Josh Donaldson (61 RBI), Brandon Moss (59) and Yoenis Cespedes (55) headline the offense, but Derek Norris has emerged as a solid run producer, leadoff Coco Crisp has enjoyed some big moments and John Jaso and Stephen Vogt have also come through while splitting catching duties with Norris.

[REWIND: Cespedes delivers in front of ‘home’ crowd]

One player the A’s could use a stronger second half from is shortstop Jed Lowrie, who is hitting .217 after being one of the A’s top hitters in 2013.

But Oakland has scored a major-league high 418 runs, and if the final 81 games play out similar to the first 81, the A’s will be in fine shape as they take aim at finally advancing past the American League Division Series.

“It’s certainly a good first half,” manager Bob Melvin said. “We seem to have gotten a little stronger here. We seem to have gotten some of the bullpen roles ironed out and we’re better for it. But it’s only the halfway point.”

Diamondbacks designate Trevor Cahill for assignment with $17 million left on contract

Trevor Cahill Getty

The Diamondbacks moved right-hander Trevor Cahill to the bullpen back in April and now they are prepared to eat the roughly $17 million remaining on his contract, as the team announced this evening that he has been designated for assignment to make room for J.J. Putz’s return from the disabled list.

Cahill was acquired from the Athletics in December of 2011 for Jarrod Parker, Ryan Cook, and Collin Cowgill. The 26-year-old posted a 3.87 ERA in 57 starts and one relief appearance over his first two seasons in Arizona, but he was banished to the bullpen in April after just four ugly starts. He has posted a 3.04 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 23 2/3 innings as a reliever, but that apparently wasn’t good enough to justify a roster spot.

Cahill signed a five-year, $30.5 million extension with the A’s back in April of 2011, so he’s still owed the remainder of his $7.7 million salary for this season, $12 million for 2015, and buyouts for team options for 2016 and 2017. It will be interesting to see if a team tries to work out a trade, likely with Arizona picking up a large portion of the contract.

UPDATE: According to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com, Cahill indicated that he’s open to accepting a minor league rehab assignment with the Diamondbacks.

A’s lose Josh Reddick to knee injury, activate Ryan Cook

Oakland Athletics v Toronto Blue Jays

A’s outfielder Josh Reddick exited Saturday’s game after hyperextending his left knee and now he’s headed to the the disabled list.

Reddick has struggled mightily since a breakout 2012 season, hitting just .222 with 16 homers and a .666 OPS in 164 games, so the A’s won’t exactly miss his production in the lineup. Craig Gentry will likely see extended action in the outfield with Reddick out and the injury could also mean more playing time for recent trade pickup Kyle Blanks.

In a corresponding roster move the A’s have activated reliever Ryan Cook from the disabled list after the right-hander missed the past month with a strained forearm. Cook isn’t a big name because he hasn’t been given a chance to rack up saves yet, but he’s been one of the best relievers in the league since debuting for the A’s in 2012.

A’s “dodged a bullet” with Ryan Cook’s injury

Ryan Cook Getty

Ryan Cook is on the disabled list for the second time this season, but the A’s reliever is making progress in his recovery from a strained forearm and could be close to rejoining the bullpen.

Jane Lee of MLB.com reports that Cook threw a 22-pitch bullpen session Tuesday and “utilized all of his pitches.” He’ll throw again Thursday, at which point the A’s will either send him out on a minor-league rehab assignment or decide that he’s ready to come off the disabled list without any rehab work.

Here’s the review of his bullpen session from manager Bob Melvin:

He looked like he had never missed a beat. We feel like we dodged a bullet as far as what the injury looked like originally. He was going after every one of his pitches, throwing his slider as hard as he could throw it.

Cook has been one of the best relievers in the league since debuting for the A’s in 2012, throwing 153 innings with a 2.35 ERA and 162 strikeouts. He’s been limited to just 12 innings this season, but does have a sub-3.00 ERA for the third straight year.

Athletics roster shakeup: Drew Pomeranz in, Dan Straily out; Ryan Cook to DL

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports a handful of Athletics roster moves. First, the A’s have placed reliever Ryan Cook on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 8, due to a muscle strain in his right forearm. It’s Cook’s second stint on the DL this season as he missed the beginning of the season with inflammation in his right shoulder.

The A’s have sent starter Dan Straily down to Triple-A Sacramento as the 25-year-old right-hander struggled in his first seven starts, posting a 4.93 ERA in 38 1/3 innings due in large part to his allowing a league-leading nine home runs. Drew Pomeranz, who threw five shutout innings in the second game of Wednesday’s double-header against the Mariners, will remain in the rotation, taking Straily’s place.

To fill the two roster spots vacated by Cook and Straily, the A’s have promoted Joe Savery and Fernando Rodriguez from Triple-A. Savery had posted a 3.86 ERA in 11 2/3 innings of relief while Rodriguez posted a 0.73 ERA in 12 1/3 innings out of the ‘pen.

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