Donaldson earns first Player of Week Award
Third baseman leads AL with seven doubles, .633 OBP during stretch
OAKLAND -- Josh Donaldson's breakfast was spiced up a bit Monday morning when he turned on MLB Network to learn of an unexpected announcement.
The A's third baseman was told by the television that he'd been named American League Player of the Week.
"I was like, 'Really? This is crazy,'" Donaldson said later in the day at the Coliseum. "I knew I put a decent week together, but I really didn't expect something like that. I'm very appreciative of it."
It was better than decent. The 27-year-old Donaldson went 12-for-22 (.545) with seven doubles and an AL-high 10 RBIs, along with seven walks -- he compiled just 14 in 75 games last year -- and four runs scored.
All the while, Donaldson raised his batting average 73 points, from .246 to its current .319, entering play Monday. He also more than doubled his season RBI total, which sat at eight entering the week.
"This type of recognition is important to me," he said. "I feel like I have the ability to perform at this level, and it's just about going out there and doing it every day. The great thing about baseball is it doesn't matter how much you're making or how long you've been in the game. Every day you get a chance to prove yourself, and it makes it fun to go out there and play."
"Congratulations to him and well-deserved," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "You've seen in this [week-long] stretch, he's hit the ball everywhere. He's seeing the ball well and not trying to do too much and letting his ability take over."
Melvin said he believes Donaldson's defense should garner just as much attention as the numbers he's putting up at the plate.
"I think he's one of the better defenders over there in the league," he said. "We saw that last year. Even when he was struggling offensively, he didn't let it affect his defense. He's just a good athlete. He could probably play anywhere on the diamond."
A's lose Crisp, Young to injuries in marathon win
OAKLAND -- In the process of playing a 19-inning game that resulted in a 10-8 victory over the Angels, the A's lost two outfielders to injuries.
Coco Crisp exited the lengthy contest in the 14th inning with a strained left hamstring, while Chris Young departed two innings later because of a strained left quad he endured while running to first base.
Asked about the status of both players after the game, a tired manager Bob Melvin said, "I'm not sure yet until tomorrow."
The A's are bound to call on help from Triple-A Sacramento, and not just in the outfield. They used every reliever in Monday's marathon, along with starter Brett Anderson, so the club could also choose to bring in some fresh arms.
A's would welcome openly gay player
OAKLAND -- Should an openly gay player ever step foot in the A's clubhouse, he'd have the full support of his teammates.
That was the sentiment shared by several Oakland players on Monday, the same day NBA veteran Jason Collins publicly declared he's gay, becoming the first active athlete in the four major American sports to do so.
"A person's a person to me," manager Bob Melvin said. "If he's a good person, a good baseball player, we'd welcome him here.
"We welcome all kinds here, and I think it's good. We embrace that as an organization. We would absolutely have no issues with that at all."
Collins' announcement drew a vast array of encouraging comments from the sports world. Jerry Blevins is the A's representative for the MLB Players' Association and voiced his approval.
"I'm impressed. It takes such courage, especially in an environment of pro sports, to come out," Blevins said. "I'm proud that I play sports in today's era where somebody can be openly gay, and I'm excited for a future where kids that feel the same way that [Collins] does have someone to look up to and say, 'I can be myself and I can also be a world class athlete.'
"I think once everyone gets over the initial shock and stops talking about it that people will start to feel open about it. Everyone talks about Jackie Robinson, but there were also a second, a third, a fourth, a fifth black guy that came to play the game. It's not nearly the same thing, but it takes equal courage to be who you are and play when you're not quite as accepted as you should be or as you deserve. There will be more to follow, and at some point it won't be a story anymore."
Added Coco Crisp: "For me, it's not a big deal. There are people that are real religious and think a certain way, but as far as anyone that has something they want to share with the world and they feel like it's going to help them and maybe others, then I'm happy for that person."
It's a conversation that will surely continue in the baseball realm until someone who is openly gay actually walks into a Major League clubhouse. Players engage in a rather unusual working environment, with players and coaches undressing and showering together on a daily basis for at least eight months out of the year. This stands as a reason why some might have an issue with gays in a clubhouse -- but it shouldn't be, says Jed Lowrie.
"We spend a longer period of time together and probably in a closer environment than other sports, but at the end of the day I think this is a place of business," the A's shortstop said, "and you have to have the separation between your professional life and your personal life. If someone can help the team win, that's what it's about."
"I think if it happened in baseball, especially in our clubhouse, it would be about as easy as a transition as it could be," Blevins said. "We already make fun of each other for every little thing. That's kind of what brings us together."
A's option Chavez to Triple-A to make room for Straily
OAKLAND -- By skipping Brett Anderson's turn in the rotation on Monday in favor of Dan Straily, the A's were forced to option a reliever to Triple-A to make room on their roster.
It was right-hander Jesse Chavez making the trip back to Sacramento, just nine days after leaving there to join the A's. He appeared in three games out of the bullpen, allowing three runs in 4 1/3 innings.
The righty is expected to resume starting duties with the River Cats, having already compiled a 1-1 record and 2.45 ERA in three starts for them this season.
Straily was on hand in Oakland to make his first start for the A's since April 6, when he fanned a career-high 11 batters in 6 2/3 innings in a win over the Astros. He was optioned to Sacramento the next day when Bartolo Colon was reinstated from the suspended list.
Straily was 3-0 with a 0.96 ERA in three starts with the River Cats, allowing a .159 opponents' average without surrendering a home run in 18 2/3 innings. He struck out 20 and walked six.
A's trade Wells to White Sox for cash considerations
OAKLAND -- The A's traded outfielder Casper Wells to the White Sox on Monday evening in exchange for cash considerations.
It was just a week ago the A's gave away cash to the Blue Jays to acquire Wells, who was hitless in five at-bats with Oakland before he was designated for assignment -- for the third time by as many teams in a month -- on Sunday.
Wells was previously designated by the Mariners on the last day of Spring Training. He was claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays on April 10 and never appeared in a game with them before again being designated five days later.
Oakland acquired his services for outfield depth while Yoenis Cespedes was stationed on the disabled list, but there was simply no room for him on the roster once Cespedes returned Sunday.
• Following a day off Tuesday, rehabbing shortstop Hiro Nakajima (hamstring) will play six innings in an extended Spring Training game on Wednesday and, "if everything goes well," Melvin said, he'll then be close to reporting to Triple-A Sacramento.
• Closer Grant Balfour's last blown save was a year ago Monday in Baltimore. The right-hander entered the day having converted each of his last 21 save opportunities, which is tied for the third-longest streak in Oakland history.