Oakland Athletics Roundup: Sonny Gray Makes Final Start; Jesse Hahn Optioned

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Mar 29, 2016; Mesa, AZ, USA; Oakland Athletics pitcher Sonny Gray against the Chicago Cubs during a spring training game at Sloan Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 29, 2016; Mesa, AZ, USA; Oakland Athletics pitcher Sonny Gray against the Chicago Cubs during a spring training game at Sloan Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jesse Hahn Sent to Triple-A; Addison Russell Homers Off Sonny Gray
Oakland Athletics Roundup – Wednesday, March 30

On Tuesday, the Oakland Athletics optioned starting pitcher Jesse Hahn to Triple-A. Hahn had endured a rough Spring Training, after missing the second half of last season due to an arm injury. The numbers he put up in his Cactus League starts were far from the results he achieved in the early part of 2015, and it seems like he just needs a bit more time to get himself together.

Meanwhile, Sonny Gray looked fairly sharp in his last tune-up of the spring. He allowed eight hits over five innings, but didn’t walk a batter. He also struck out three and gave up three earned runs on a pair of homers.

The home runs can probably be ignored. One was hit by slugger Kyle Schwarber in the first inning, and the other was a fourth-inning, two-run blast off of the bat of Addison Russell. The Russell home run was mostly notable because of the shortstop’s status as the A’s former top prospect, but it was a pretty bad pitch. Overall, however, Gray looked ready for the season to begin.

In addition to Schwarber and Russell, Matt Szczur, David Ross and Munenori Kawasaki all hit home runs of their own for the Cubs, with Szczur’s coming off of Marc Rzepczynski and the other two blasts the responsibility of Fernando Rodriguez. It was a forgettable day for the A’s bullpen, as they allowed six runs to Chicago batters.

Of course, it may just have been an afternoon meant for the long ball. Both Chris Coghlan and Josh Phegley homered for the A’s, bring the total number of homers to seven. In the end, the Athletics were out-slugged 9-5.

On Wednesday, the team will play their final game before heading north for the Bay Bridge Series, as they take on the Arizona Diamondbacks at Hohokam Stadium.

In Case You Missed It

Felix Doubront Wins Rotation Spot  – For more on the Jesse Hahn move, be sure to read our breaking news story from Tuesday. It includes an explanation of what this means for left-hander Felix Doubront – as well as rookie reliever Ryan Dull.

Veteran Ryan Madson Is Primed To Have All-Star Season – Samantha Riley makes the case for reliever Ryan Madson. After a stunning comeback season with the Royals, can Madson do it again in 2016?

#Athletics

Next: The A's Should Learn From the Jim Johnson Deal

Around the Web

ESPN: Oakland Athletics 2016 Preview – Eno Sarris of ESPN wrote the Athletics’ season preview for 2016 – and he ranked them 26th overall. Unlike the preview we looked at yesterday from Sports Illustrated, ESPN has the Athletics posting a better overall record than they did in 2015, although still finishing last in the division. Be sure to check it out for more specifics, as well as some solid analysis about the A’s draft history.

One of the major critiques Sarris has is that the Athletics have failed to consistently turn homegrown position players into stars, which is a fair point. However, that seems to be changing, considering the fact that many of the A’s best prospects are nearing the majors. Even if the team does struggle as much as Sarris and other analysts predict in 2016, it’s not hard to imagine them turning things around completely before next year.

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