Change offers Canha opportunity to go home

Power-hitting OF/1B gets chance to stay in bigs

Change offers Canha opportunity to go home

MESA, Ariz. -- Mark Canha and his wife, Marci, always wanted to settle down in the Bay Area. A life in baseball, though, comes without the freedom to plan such things, so when Canha, who played five seasons in the Marlins organization, heard he had been selected by Colorado in December's Rule 5 Draft, he again set aside that vision.

He only had to wait 10 minutes for it to become a reality, though, when he was suddenly on the phone with the A's, who had pulled off a quick trade (for right-handeder Austin House and cash) with the Rockies.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

A's claim RHP Smith, place RHP Thompson on 60-day DL

A's claim RHP Smith, place RHP Thompson on 60-day DL

MESA, Ariz. -- The A's claimed right-hander Chad Smith off waivers from Detroit on Thursday, a move meant to offset the loss of another relief option, Taylor Thompson, to injury.

The right-handed Thompson was forced to bow out of the bullpen competition because of a right-shoulder strain. He was placed on the 60-day disabled list to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Smith and has been shut down indefinitely.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Chavez to join A's TV broadcast for 20 games

Six-time Gold Glove winner debuts April 24

MESA, Ariz. -- Six-time Gold Glove winner Eric Chavez will join the A's broadcast team as a color commentator for 20 telecasts this season. He debuts April 24, when the A's host the Astros.

Chavez, who is currently serving as a special assignment scout for the Yankees, with whom he played in 2011-12, will also act as a studio analyst for select "A's Pregame Live" and "A's Postgame Live" shows on Comcast SportsNet California. He follows in the footsteps of fellow former A's players who were invited in the broadcast booth for 20 games in recent years: Shooty Babbitt (2014) and Scott Hatteberg (2012-13).

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

A's participate in domestic violence training

A's participate in domestic violence training

MESA, Ariz. -- A's players were among the first in Major League Baseball to undergo mandatory domestic violence training early Thursday morning.

The new course lasted nearly two hours in the A's clubhouse, and coaches and front-office members will attend one this spring, too.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lawrie ready to bring high-octane drive to A's

Third baseman confident intensity for game will catch on quick with new club

Lawrie ready to bring high-octane drive to A's

MESA, Ariz. -- Brett Lawrie is in perpetual motion. He's exhausting to watch, even when he's sitting, with his quick-twitch muscles -- many of them bathed in ink -- always on the go. Which begs the question, how did he ever sit still in the tattoo parlor?

Lawrie says he's clocked 29 hours on his left arm, the tattooed sleeve devoted to his sister, Nicole, who passed as a young child before he was even born, and another 23 1/2 hours on his right arm, spotted with inspirational words that fuel his desire for greatness.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sure-handed infielder Ellis retires at 37

A's mainstay finishes career with fifth-best fielding percentage for second baseman

Sure-handed infielder Ellis retires at 37

Second baseman Mark Ellis is retiring from baseball, according to a report by the San Francisco Chronicle.

The 37-year-old Ellis, a ninth-round selection of the Royals in the 1999 First-Year Player Draft, played 12 years in the Majors with the A's, Rockies, Dodgers and Cardinals. Ellis spent 8 1/2 seasons with Oakland.

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Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Vogt steals show during A's team meeting

Vogt steals show during A's team meeting

MESA, Ariz. -- All is well, and wacky, in A's camp.

The club held a team meeting prior to its first-full squad workout on Wednesday morning, dominated primarily by manager Bob Melvin. But co-owner Lew Wolff also spoke, after he walked out to "Louie Louie," and so did a special guest -- brought in to explain MLB's new rules intended to hasten pace of play.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Venditte explains his superpower: Ambidextrous pitchi

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Venditte explains his superpower: Ambidextrous pitchi

A's reliever Pat Venditte is a professional right-handed pitcher. He is also a professional left-handed pitcher. Often, he does both in the same game. Welcome to the world of ambidextrous pitching.

The Minor Leaguer scored an invite to Spring Training this season and with his career 2.54 ERA and average 10 strikeouts per nine innings, it's not difficult to see why. This week, the switch-pitching Venditte went on Hot Stove to break down his baseball superpower for us mortals.

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MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Managing new faces is old hat to Melvin

Managing new faces is old hat to Melvin

MESA, Ariz. -- In the ever-changing world of the Oakland A's, Billy Butler is one of the clubhouse veterans.

After all, he signed as a free agent back on Nov. 19.

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Tracy Ringolsby is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twice-traded Alvarez eager to make mark with A's

Top prospect among several competing for two open bullpen spots

Twice-traded Alvarez eager to make mark with A's

MESA, Ariz. -- R.J. Alvarez is a right-handed third-round Draft pick who believes he could've been a left-handed first-round Draft pick.

"I'm always joking with my dad, telling him, 'You owe me a million dollars,'" Alvarez said. "I would've been throwing 98 in the Draft and been the 15th overall pick as a left-hander."

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gentry looks to bounce back from injury-marred 2014

A's expect speedy outfielder to be integral part of offense

Gentry looks to bounce back from injury-marred 2014

MESA, Ariz. -- The A's started and finished the 2014 season without Craig Gentry, who is eager for a second chance to introduce himself to fans after multiple injuries interrupted his first season in green and gold.

Gentry came to camp last year as one of the organization's most prized offseason acquisitions, a player the Rangers didn't want to give up until lured by an offer that included one of the A's top prospects: Michael Choice. Gentry also arrived injured, hurting his back while driving one too many hours from his offseason home in Dallas to the A's spring complex.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Face of MLB: Doolittle narrowly defeated by Bay rival Posey

A's closer floored by fans' support, creativity

Face of MLB: Doolittle narrowly defeated by Bay rival Posey

MESA, Ariz. -- The Face of MLB contest will continue on without Oakland's Sean Doolittle, who was narrowly edged by Bay rival Buster Posey -- and a bribe-heavy Giants campaign -- in the semifinals.

"Pretty good run," the bearded A's closer said Tuesday.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Chavez sets sights on A's rotation

Chavez sets sights on A's rotation

MESA, Ariz. -- Jesse Chavez brought a big appetite to camp. The A's right-hander is craving both food and success around the clock, and for one of the lightest pitchers in all of baseball, the former is crucial to the latter.

Ask around the A's clubhouse and the answer is seemingly unanimous: Chavez deserves a spot in the rotation again. The right-hander isn't so sure he's earned it, though, despite his incredible work last year.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

A's take measures to slow opponents' running game

A's take measures to slow opponents' running game

MESA, Ariz. -- The A's inability to control their opponents' running game haunted them too often last season, and no time more so than in their final game, displayed under the microscope of a national audience.

The Royals stole a postseason-record seven bases under Oakland's watch in the American League Wild Card Game, a 12-inning escapade the A's lost, 9-8. It was the continuation of an ugly regular-season trend they're ready to halt this spring.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Returning to A's was a no-brainer for Mills

Returning to A's was a no-brainer for Mills

MESA, Ariz. -- The A's got plenty bang out of the buck they spent on Brad Mills last year. The left-hander, though with the club for exactly one month before being designated for assignment and claimed by Toronto, used the time to showcase his worth as a starter and is back to do so again on a Minor League deal.

"The few weeks I had here, I threw OK, but it was just such an enjoyable experience I wanted to have again," Mills said Monday at A's Spring Training. "It just helps when I know the organization will give me a chance to start and trust me if they need me, and that's all I'm looking for."

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phegley welcomes shot to catch on with A's

Stuck behind Flowers in Chicago, backstop has good shot at backup role

Phegley welcomes shot to catch on with A's

MESA, Ariz. -- When the A's dealt Derek Norris and John Jaso in separate trades this winter, Josh Phegley automatically slid into the second spot on the catching depth chart, otherwise known as prime position for an Opening Day roster job.

Phegley's never had one of those. Former White Sox teammate Tyler Flowers was always picked over him.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Groin issue sidelines A's rotation hopeful Nolin

Venditte continues to draw attention; Doolittle set for Face of MLB semis

Groin issue sidelines A's rotation hopeful Nolin

MESA, Ariz. -- The competition for a spot in the A's Opening Day rotation is seemingly less crowded than it was when camp opened just days ago.

A's manager Bob Melvin revealed Sunday that left-hander Sean Nolin, who underwent sports hernia surgery in the offseason, was still experiencing discomfort in the groin area when throwing from flat ground Saturday. The A's have decided to shut him down for a while, and there's no timetable for him to begin throwing again.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Strong-armed Rodriguez wants to prove worth to A's

After recovery from Tommy John surgery, reliever feeling great

Strong-armed Rodriguez wants to prove worth to A's

MESA, Ariz. -- Fernando Rodriguez is nearing the two-year anniversary of his Tommy John surgery, and the celebration is already underway. After throwing a bullpen Sunday, the A's right-hander said his arm hasn't felt so strong since college.

"Even before the surgery, I could feel it was tugging at me," said Rodriguez, now entering his 13th professional season. "There's no pain now. It's strong. Really strong. It feels like an iron chrome arm."

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Zito on comeback trail with renewed passion

Before returning to A's, lefty made sure he was committed to playing baseball

Zito on comeback trail with renewed passion

MESA, Ariz. -- Barry Zito is falling in love with the game again the same way he did the first time.

His passion for baseball had waned by the time the Giants declined the southpaw's $18 million club option after the 2013 season, his appreciation for the career he had made playing the game lacking. So Zito packed his bags and moved with his wife, Amber, and son, Marsden, back to his hometown of San Diego. He picked up his surfboard and returned to the ocean, enjoyed his new role as a father, and only when he could fully commit himself to dedicating an entire year to baseball again did he renew the process he started more than a decade ago.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

A's, Mesa celebrate upgraded Arizona facilities

Hohokam Stadium now decked out in green and gold; Fitch Park expanded

A's, Mesa celebrate upgraded Arizona facilities

MESA, Ariz. -- A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at Hohokam Stadium on Friday to celebrate the completion of upgrades to the A's new Spring Training home and extensive enhancements to the Fitch Park training facility.

The mayor of Mesa, John Giles, joined Oakland co-owner Lew Wolff and president Michael Crowley for the event, which marked a new partnership between the A's and the city they trained in from 1969-78, before moving to Phoenix. The Cubs played at Hohokam from 1979-2013.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

A's plan to ease Vogt into spring games

Catcher coming back from October foot surgery

A's plan to ease Vogt into spring games

MESA, Ariz. -- The A's will be cautious with Stephen Vogt this spring, keeping him out of games in the early going, but the catcher is "absolutely" expected to be behind the plate on Opening Day, according to manager Bob Melvin.

Vogt caught two bullpen sessions during the first official workout for pitchers and catchers at the newly renovated Fitch Park on Friday, and he will continue to partake in most nearly every catching activity this spring. However, the 31-year-old, who underwent right foot surgery in October to repair a plantar plate tear, will be eased into Cactus League games.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

A's giving switch-pitcher a look in camp

Ambidextrous Venditte hopes to be more than a novelty and reach Majors

A's giving switch-pitcher a look in camp

MESA, Ariz. -- All eyes were on Pat Venditte on Friday, when the ambidextrous A's pitcher toed the rubber for two separate bullpen sessions -- throwing first with his left arm, then with his right.

"I was probably 7 or 8 when I was the weird kid pitching out there with both hands, but it's something you get used to," said Venditte. "And I think, as everyone will see, it's something that I need in order to pitch at a high level."

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

A's support efforts to improve pace of games

Batters required to stay in box; clocks to monitor break times

A's support efforts to improve pace of games

MESA, Ariz. -- As A's pitchers and catchers trickled into the clubhouse at Hohokam Stadium prior to their first official workout Friday, they were greeted to news of Major League Baseball putting in place a series of initiatives aimed at hastening the pace of games.

Among them: Umpires will enforce Rule 6.02(d), which requires hitters to keep one foot in the box during an at-bat, subject to a group of exceptions. Timers will also be used to measure break times between innings and pitching changes, as well as non-game action, during each game.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Melvin wishes Giants skipper Bochy well

A's manager impressed with bullpen sessions by Parker, Griffin

Melvin wishes Giants skipper Bochy well

MESA, Ariz. -- A's manager Bob Melvin concluded his Friday morning media session relaying best wishes to friend and peer Bruce Bochy. The Giants skipper was hospitalized Thursday evening and had two stents inserted in his heart.

"Best to Bruce Bochy today," said Melvin. "I sent him a message and, man, talk about scary, and he's playing it off like it's no big deal."

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Check out ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte's glove

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Check out ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte's glove

Some people, whether through great genetics, some sort of supernatural miracle or merely from walking into a bath of gamma rays, are given golden arms that allow them to hurl balls with enough speed, movement and trickery to get professional hitters out. 

Somehow, relief pitcher Pat Venditte has two of them. Tossing from both the left and the right side, ensuring that he always has the platoon advantage no matter the batter, Venditte is currently in camp with the Athletics on a Minor League deal. 

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Doolittle: Left shoulder feeling 'a lot better'

While rehabbing, A's closer enjoying fans' enthusiasm during Face of MLB contest

Doolittle: Left shoulder feeling 'a lot better'

MESA, Ariz. -- Though Sean Doolittle will be spending much of his spring on the sidelines, his fans at least plan to keep him entertained.

The A's closer, who is expected to miss the start of the season because of a left shoulder injury, has found competition elsewhere in the meantime, via MLB Network's Face of MLB contest. And Doolittle keeps winning. On Thursday, Doolittle narrowly prevailed over Mariners ace Felix Hernandez in the quarterfinals, gaining 50.3 percent of the fans' votes.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reinvention defines A's at start of spring camp

New faces permeate team as it tries to build on postseason shortcomings

Reinvention defines A's at start of spring camp

MESA, Ariz. -- The A's are more than ready to spring into action. They've been idle since walking off the field at Kauffman Stadium, a heart-wrenching, 12-inning loss to the Royals in the 2014 American League Wild Card Game behind them.

They're eager for more, having been prematurely bounced from postseason play in each of the last three years, and they've brought in a slew of new faces to help them achieve this.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Clippard ready to perform whatever role A's need

Clippard ready to perform whatever role A's need

MESA, Ariz. -- Tyler Clippard's career to this point has flourished on durability. The new A's reliever pitched in at least 72 games in each of the last five seasons for Washington, and in a variety of roles. So forgive him for not being too concerned about the one he's assigned in Oakland.

"Whatever role they want me to do, I will do wholeheartedly and embrace," Clippard said Thursday. "I think any good bullpen in the big leagues has multiple guys who can close, and I think we have that here, so I'm excited to be a part of that group."

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.