A’s choose Brandon Allen as starting first baseman

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Brandon Allen has beaten out Kila Ka’aihue to be the A’s starting first baseman, at least for their opening game of the season in Japan.

Ka’aihue is still in the mix for playing time, but Jane Lee of MLB.com reports that manager Bob Melvin was unimpressed with his defense and prefers Allen’s combination of power and fielding.

Allen has already been traded twice at age 26, going from the White Sox to the Diamondbacks for Tony Pena and then from the Diamondbacks to the A’s for Brad Ziegler. He’s struggled in a few brief big-league stints, but has a strong minor-league track record that includes a .286 batting average, .401 on-base percentage, and .555 slugging percentage in 253 games at Triple-A.

One of the few nice things about the A’s blowing up the roster on the way to what is likely a 90-loss season is that they can afford to give extended opportunities to guys like Allen and, in his case, might end up finding a quality hitter who can stick in the lineup for several years.

Justin Verlander earns 200th career win

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Astros starter Justin Verlander wasn’t his usual dominant self on Sunday against the Athletics, but he was good enough to get the win. In doing so, he earned the 200th win of his career, becoming the 117th member of the 200-win club.

Verlander went 5 1/3 innings, yielding four runs (all earned) on seven hits and a walk with six strikeouts. On the season, Verlander is now 12-8 with a 2.65 ERA and a 223/29 K/BB ratio in 169 2/3 innings. Sunday’s win helped the Astros stave off the surging A’s. The Astros now have a one-game lead in the AL West.

Only two active pitchers have more wins than Verlander: Bartolo Colon (247) and CC Sabathia (244). Zack Greinke will likely be the next member of the 200-win club as he currently has 184 to his name.