A’s exercise 2011 options on Coco Crisp and Mark Ellis

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Coco Crisp already broke half of this news on Twitter, but the A’s have officially exercised his $5.75 million option and picked up their $6 million option on Mark Ellis for 2011.

Two months ago there was some speculation that the A’s would decline Ellis’ option and perhaps try to work out a new contract at a lesser salary and manager Bob Geren went so far as to remove Ellis in the seventh inning of the team’s final home game so the crowd in Oakland could give him a standing ovation.

Turns out, the sendoff wasn’t needed because Ellis will be back for a ninth season in Oakland after hitting .291/.358/.381 with his usual strong defense in 124 games this year.  Among the 27 second basemen who played at least 100 games this season Ellis ranked 12th with an adjusted OPS+ of 102 and he led AL second basemen in Ultimate Zone Rating at 12.7 runs per 150 games.

In other words, there are probably quite a few teams crossing Ellis off their free agent wish list right now.

Masahiro Tanaka to throw off a mound this weekend

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Earlier this month Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka strained both of his hamstrings while running the bases in an interleague game against the Mets and was sent to the 10-day DL. Today it was announced that the beginning of the end of most DL stints for pitchers — throwing off of a mound — is in Tanaka’s immediate future.

Tanaka is scheduled to throw off a mound Sunday, which will be his first real (well, fake real) pitching action since the June 9th injury. Assuming the session goes well, Tanaka is expected to return to the Yankees’ starting rotation sometime in early-to-mid July. With the All-Star break coming the week of July 16, it would not be hard to imagine the Yankees giving him a few extra days to get right.

Tanaka is 7-2 with a 4.58 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 73/19 in 72.2 innings on the season.