Inbox: Should A's do something about 'pen's struggles?

Beat reporter Jane Lee responds to Oakland fans' questions

Inbox: Should A's do something about 'pen's struggles?

Do you think the A's will try to wait out these bullpen struggles or look for outside help?
-- @bradenjoseph

Help is on the way soon, with Sean Doolittle expected back at the beginning of June. Until then, the A's are likely to stick with what they've got. And if Ryan Cook continues throwing like he did Sunday -- he hit 96 mph on the stadium gun -- in his season debut with the club, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Cook's presence could really help lengthen this bullpen and provide a little more consistency to everyone's roles. I wouldn't be surprised if we start to see all of the bullpen pieces clicking at the same time.

More

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.

Cook recalled, pitches perfect inning

Club happy to have reliever back in bullpen; Graveman optioned

Cook recalled, pitches perfect inning

OAKLAND -- Reliever Ryan Cook is back in the A's bullpen. The right-hander was recalled Sunday morning to take the roster spot of the demoted Kendall Graveman and made his season debut for the club just hours later, pitching a perfect seventh inning in a 7-6 loss to the Astros.

"It's great to get Ryan back," said catcher Stephen Vogt. "We all missed him, personally and pitching-wise, and to see him come out, that's some of the best stuff I've seen from him in the last year. I think he looks great. We're excited to have him back."

More

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.

A's not panicking despite frustrating slump

Oakland drops fourth straight in loss to Astros, but it's still early

A's not panicking despite frustrating slump

OAKLAND -- The A's have dropped four straight and five of the last six, and they're four games under .500 for the first time since July 1, 2012. The frustration is mounting, but they're not panicking.

They're doing a lot of things right, "but we're doing just enough to lose games right now," said A's manager Bob Melvin.

More

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.

Lawrie contributes three RBIs, but A's fall again

Lawrie contributes three RBIs, but A's fall again

OAKLAND -- Designated hitter Evan Gattis drove in four runs, including two in the ninth against closer Tyler Clippard, to guide the Astros to a series-sweeping 7-6 victory over the A's at the Coliseum on Sunday afternoon.

Clippard offered up a leadoff single to Jake Marisnick, and Jose Altuve reached on a fielder's choice groundball to A's third baseman Brett Lawrie, who instinctively threw to second, even though Marisnick was already there. Following the Astros' double steal, Clippard struck out George Springer for the first out and intentionally walked Jed Lowrie, setting up Gattis' liner on a neck-high fastball to center field that went over the head of Sam Fuld, who slightly stumbled as he chased after the drive.

More

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

Manager Melvin ejected from game vs. Astros

Manager Melvin ejected from game vs. Astros

OAKLAND -- A's manager Bob Melvin was ejected by home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott for arguing balls and strikes in the top of the fourth inning of Sunday's 7-6 loss to the Astros.

Melvin raced from the dugout in the middle of Jason Castro's leadoff at-bat against lefty Drew Pomeranz to share several words with Wolcott, who was thought to have an inconsistent strike zone in the early stages of the game.

More

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.

Graveman optioned after early struggles; Chavez to rotation

Manager Melvin expects right-hander to return to Majors

Graveman optioned after early struggles; Chavez to rotation

OAKLAND -- Kendall Graveman has been bumped from the A's rotation and optioned to Triple-A Nashville and replaced in the rotation by Jesse Chavez, after struggling to the tune of an 8.27 ERA in his first four starts for the club.

This wasn't the beginning the A's envisioned for the right-hander, particularly after such a strong spring showing, with just one earned run allowed in 25 1/3 innings.

More

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.

Gray aims to continue success vs. Weaver, Angels

Gray aims to continue success vs. Weaver, Angels

Angels right-hander Jered Weaver, still looking for his first 2015 victory after four starts, will try again Tuesday night in Oakland against right-hander Sonny Gray and the A's in the first game of a three-game series.

It's a rematch of the Gray-Weaver matchup on April 22 in Anaheim, when the A's beat up the Angels' bullpen after Weaver departed. Gray improved to 2-0 with a 1.91 ERA by pitching seven two-hit innings.

Weaver (0-2, 5.24 ERA), the Angels' Opening Day starter, is coming off consecutive no-decisions, against the Astros and the A's, in which he pitched well. He allowed just three earned runs in 12 total innings, striking out six while walking none. He left the April 22 game with a tie after giving up one earned run through six innings.

Things to know about this game:

• It's the first time Weaver has been winless through his first four starts in his career.

• The Angels' ace is 13-9 with a 2.46 ERA in 31 career starts vs. the A's.

• Weaver has won four of his past six starts at Oakland.

More

Earl Bloom is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Muncy spells banged-up Lawrie, gets first career hit

Infielder impressed at camp, makes big league debut at third

Muncy spells banged-up Lawrie, gets first career hit

OAKLAND -- A's third baseman Brett Lawrie, who jammed his knee into the bullpen mound during Friday's game, was not in the starting lineup for Saturday's middle matchup with the Astros, despite texting his manager at 1 a.m. that he was good to go.

"We needed to get Brett Lawrie a day off here," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "He's as banged up as anyone we have here. Not DL-banged up, but banged up."

More

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.

Graveman, A's struggle in loss to Astros

Graveman, A's struggle in loss to Astros

OAKLAND -- Second baseman Jose Altuve hit a three-run home run, and the Astros beat the A's a second straight day, 9-3, on Saturday afternoon to secure a series victory at the Coliseum.

Astros shortstop Jed Lowrie chipped in with two hits and as many RBIs against his former team, and right fielder George Springer hit a solo home run in the ninth, helping to provide plenty of support for starter Scott Feldman. The right-hander allowed three earned runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings for Houston, which improved to 10-7 -- the club's best start since the 2006 squad went 12-5 through the first 17 games.

More

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

After stellar spring, Graveman endures rough outings

Righty allows six runs on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings in loss to Astros

After stellar spring, Graveman endures rough outings

OAKLAND -- Kendall Graveman endured yet another rough outing Saturday afternoon against the Astros in a 9-3 A's loss. The right-hander, who allowed six runs in 4 2/3 innings, will continue to work through ongoing struggles, but it remains unclear how much longer he'll be able to do so at the big league level.

Graveman has allowed 15 earned runs in 16 1/3 innings over his first four starts and has completed five innings in just one of them. In Spring Training, he yielded one earned run in 25 1/3 innings.

More

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.

Zobrist to undergo left knee surgery

Do-it-all man likely out four to six weeks, Vogt to take No. 3 spot in lineup

Zobrist to undergo left knee surgery

OAKLAND -- Ben Zobrist, the A's do-it-all man, has a medial meniscus tear in his left knee and will undergo arthroscopic surgery that's expected to keep him out four to six weeks.

Zobrist tried to play through the injury with a start at designated hitter on Friday against the Astros after missing four straight games, but he was noticeably uncomfortable.

More

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.

Rickey joins quartet in Hall of Game induction

Talented class of players embody passion of Negro Leagues

Rickey joins quartet in Hall of Game induction

KANSAS CITY -- Ozzie Smith's patented backflip was the perfect maneuver to help him stick the landing in the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum's "Hall of Game" class of 2015.

Now in its second year, the Hall of Game is for former Major League players who not only did great things on the field, but also exhibited the flair and passion reminiscent of the Negro Leagues players. Joining Smith on Saturday in the Hall of Game induction class were Rickey Henderson, Ferguson Jenkins and Luis Tiant.

More

Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kazmir has little to show for superb start to season

Works seven shutout innings, lowers ERA to 0.99

Kazmir has little to show for superb start to season

OAKLAND -- A's lefty Scott Kazmir has just two wins to show for four dominant outings, the last resulting in a no-decision against the Astros on Friday evening despite seven scoreless innings.

That the southpaw was opposed by Houston's Dallas Keuchel -- he of a 0.62 ERA after nine shutout frames Friday -- didn't help his cause. But Kazmir's performance in the 5-4, 11-inning loss didn't go unnoticed.

More

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.

A's rally twice in extras but fall in 11

A's rally twice in extras but fall in 11

OAKLAND -- Left fielder Robbie Grossman notched a go-ahead, two-run single off of A's southpaw Eric O'Flaherty in a three-run 11th inning, helping the Astros claim a 5-4 series-opening victory at the Coliseum on Friday evening.

It was a wild ending to a game that didn't see its first run until the 10th inning, when Marwin Gonzalez hit a two-run, two-out double off of A's reliever Dan Otero. The A's came right back in the bottom of the frame against a familiar face in right-hander Luke Gregerson, getting a game-tying, two-run double from Josh Reddick, who unsuccessfully tried racing home when the ball got away from the plate.

More

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

O'Flaherty working through a bad stretch

Reliever already has pair of losses this season

O'Flaherty working through a bad stretch

OAKLAND -- The A's bullpen has only sporadically looked like the group assumed to be one of the club's greatest strengths at season's start. On Friday night, in a 5-4, 11-inning loss to the Astros, it picked up its American League-leading fifth loss in 19 games.

In the A's eight wins, their relievers have allowed just one earned run in 23 1/3 innings. In their 10 losses, they've surrendered 26 earned runs in 31 1/3 innings.

More

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.

Parker, Doolittle take big steps forward in rehabs

Righty feels good in first start; lefty throws from flat ground

Parker, Doolittle take big steps forward in rehabs

OAKLAND -- Jarrod Parker made his first start in a professional game since Tommy John surgery on Thursday evening, and Sean Doolittle tossed 15 pitches from flat ground on Friday, marking big steps for these rehabbing A's pitchers.

Parker got up to 56 pitches in his rehab start for Class A Advanced Stockton, completing 3 2/3 innings. The right-hander allowed three runs on four hits, including a solo home run, and struck out one while walking none.

More

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.

Chavez comes through on the spot for A's

Chavez comes through on the spot for A's

ANAHEIM -- Right-hander Jesse Chavez allowed one hit over six innings in a spot start against the Angels on Thursday. Typically, that would be worthy of a win. Except his teammates never scored.

"He was great," said manager Bob Melvin following the 2-0 loss. "We expect a lot out of him, and to give up one hit on a moment's notice to start, I don't know how you can ask for much more than that."

More

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.

A's miss too many chances, waste Chavez's solid effort

A's miss too many chances, waste Chavez's solid effort

ANAHEIM -- Kole Calhoun blasted a two-run homer off Jesse Chavez and Nick Tropeano pitched six scoreless innings in his season debut on Thursday afternoon, setting the tone in the Angels' 2-0 victory over the A's in Southern California.

Calhoun's homer was the only hit for the Angels' offense, which plated fewer than four runs for the 11th time in 16 games this season. It came off Chavez in the bottom of the third, two batters after Drew Butera reached first on a throwing error by A's third baseman Brett Lawrie. Calhoun got a 1-1 cutter out over the plate and lined it over the scoreboard in right-center to give him three home runs on the season and eventually help split the four-game series.

More

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. 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.

Bassitt arrives, will provide long relief from bullpen

Bassitt arrives, will provide long relief from bullpen

ANAHEIM -- Right-hander Chris Bassitt joined the A's in time for Thursday's series finale in Anaheim, providing an immediate long-relief option out of the bullpen.

Bassitt entered Spring Training as a rotation candidate but struggled greatly, particularly with the inside fastball to left-handers. In his time with Triple-A Nashville, where he posted a 3.38 ERA in three games (two starts), he went back to the first-base side of the rubber after watching video from last year.

More

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.

Gray is a force even without his best stuff

Gray is a force even without his best stuff

ANAHEIM -- Sonny Gray wasn't even at his best Wednesday night, or so he'll say. Even catcher Stephen Vogt acknowledged as much. Yet the A's right-hander was still dominant in a 9-2 victory over the Angels.

He always is, it seems.

More

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.

Gray puts A's back in driver's seat at Angel Stadium

Gray puts A's back in driver's seat at Angel Stadium

ANAHEIM -- Sonny Gray continued to dominate, and the A's rallied against the Angels' bullpen, scoring a combined eight runs on nine hits in the seventh and eighth innings to capture a 9-2 victory at Angel Stadium on Wednesday night.

"I feel like this team smells blood really well, and when we get one hit," said A's catcher Stephen Vogt, "they start to keep going and keep going."

More

Alden Gonzalez and Jane Lee are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Leon thrilled following big league debut

Right-hander headed back to Triple-A after one-day stint with A's; Bassitt to join club

Leon thrilled following big league debut

ANAHEIM -- The smile said it all. Even though he'd already learned he'd been demoted after the game, the news couldn't shake a thrilled Arnold Leon, who made his big league debut with the A's in the ninth inning of Wednesday's 9-2 victory over the Angels at Angel Stadium -- seven years after the organization signed him out of the Mexican League as a 19-year-old.

"That was awesome," said Leon. "I didn't realize that I was going in today. I came here mentally prepared to relieve tomorrow. I didn't expect it today, so that was awesome, it really was. Good times."

More

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.

Rickey races out in front in A's Franchise Four voting

Rickey races out in front in A's Franchise Four voting

Rickey Henderson is the early leader in A's voting for the Franchise Four campaign, which allows fans to elect the four most impactful players who best represent the history of each Major League franchise out of eight choices from its lineage.

Dennis Eckersley is second in voting for the A's, followed by Jimmie Foxx and Reggie Jackson. Other candidates include: Rollie Fingers, Lefty Grove, Catfish Hunter and Al Simmons. An additional write-in option is available to fans on the ballot.

More

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

Ike pitches in, gives A's perfect inning on mound

Ike pitches in, gives A's perfect inning on mound

ANAHEIM -- Amid a 13-run deficit against the Angels on Tuesday night, the A's found respite in the sight of first baseman Ike Davis taking the mound to pitch the eighth inning.

"He volunteered," said A's manager Bob Melvin, following the 14-1 loss. "He was willing to do it, and he was really excited about it."

More

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.

A's pay for sloppy play in blowout loss

A's pay for sloppy play in blowout loss

ANAHEIM -- Johnny Giavotella and Kole Calhoun each hit a three-run home run, and Giavotella added an RBI single in a six-run sixth inning as the Angels routed the A's, 14-1, on Tuesday night to even this four-game series at Angel Stadium at a game apiece.

Los Angeles left-hander Hector Santiago limited the A's to just three hits, including a solo home run from Billy Butler in the third, over six innings, walking three and striking out eight. A's starter Drew Pomeranz was on the hook for five runs (four earned) in five-plus innings.

More

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

A's might need to call up a fresh arm to bolster bullpen

A's might need to call up a fresh arm to bolster bullpen

ANAHEIM -- The A's could look to promote a pitcher from Triple-A Nashville on Wednesday in advance of an evening matchup at Angel Stadium to bolster a depleted bullpen.

"There's potential for that," A's manager Bob Melvin acknowledged after Tuesday's 14-1 loss to the Angels.

More

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.