Athletics name Brandon McCarthy their fifth starter

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The A’s have set their season-opening starting rotation and former top prospect Brandon McCarthy is going to get a shot.

From Joe Stiglich of the San Jose Mercury News comes word that the Athletics have made McCarty their No. 5 starter over the younger and arguably more talented Tyson Ross.

McCarthy, 27, did not make a start in the major leagues last year due to a stress fracture in his right shoulder blade, but he has struck out 20 batters and issued only one walk across 26 stellar Cactus League innings this spring.

“He’s got some previous experience and had a great spring,” Oakland manager Bob Geren said Saturday. “It wasn’t an easy decision, and I’m happy it wasn’t. That means guys are throwing the ball well.”

Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez and Dallas Braden will fill out the top of an impressive Oakland rotation. With that spacious ballpark and with these talented arms, the A’s are primed for a breakout.

A.J. Hinch responds to Ken Giles’ negative comments about Astros

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On Sunday, Blue Jays closer Ken Giles spoke to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star. Giles said, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston.” Giles won a World Series with the Astros last year, but talked about communication issues with the Astros and compared them unfavorably to the Blue Jays. Giles described the communication as having been “lost” and credited the Jays for staying patient with him.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch responded to Giles’ comments on Monday. Per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Hinch said:

I think he’s wrong and I’m disappointed that he would go down that path given how much work and time and energy and communication that our front office, our coaching staff, me, we all went through this with him. And I understand, there was some disappointment in his tenure as an Astro because of the turbulent way things went about. We gave him every opportunity, we communicated with him effectively, we have an incredible culture where every single player will tell you it’s one of the best cultures they’ve had, one of the best communication envrionments they’ve had. They all know their roles. They all know their situations. To have one person out of all the guys in our clubhouse come out and claim otherwise is flat wrong.

While Giles certainly could be embellishing or deliberately misconstruing his time there, Hinch’s rebuttal doesn’t actually disqualify anything Giles said. Giles certainly could have had a negative experience in Houston even if everyone else was enjoying the “incredible culture” and “one of the best communication environments.”

Given how the Astros — including Hinch — responded to criticism about their acquiring an accused domestic abuser, they’re not in the best position to boast about an “incredible culture” anyway.

At any rate, this is a he-said, he-said situation. If anything more comes of it, it will be Giles further torching a bridge.