Although it's three weeks past the non-waiver trade deadline, the Oakland Athletics made a couple moves Monday that should bolster their roster for a playoff push.
Sidelined for more than 14 months after Tommy John surgery, Brett Anderson is slated to take the ball against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night, when he should have Stephen Drew behind him at shortstop.Anderson was activated from the 60-day disabled list prior to Monday's 7-2 loss to the Twins, which snapped Oakland's four-game winning streak, and will be appearing in his first game since June 5, 2011. The 24-year-old left-hander has lost more than 20 pounds from his previous playing weight of 248, and noticed he felt stronger later in games during his minor league appearances.In six rehab starts, he went 1-1 with a 4.97 ERA."We feel like this could be a nice little shot in the arm for us," manager Bob Melvin said.The A's (65-56) are obviously hoping the acquisition of Drew from Arizona on Monday for minor league infielder Sean Jamieson will do the same.The 29-year-old Drew is batting .193 with two home runs and 12 RBIs in 40 games since coming back June 26 from a fractured right ankle that sidelined him for nearly a year. Despite his unflattering numbers, the A's haven't been getting much production as it is from Cliff Pennington and Adam Rosales. Oakland's shortstops are last in the majors in batting at .188 and in RBIs with 30."It'll be refreshing and a new start," Drew said. "It's a good feeling to go over there and still be competing (for the postseason)."The A's are a half-game back of Baltimore for the AL's final playoff spot."I want to go out there and pitch well because we need to win ballgames," said Anderson, who must earn and keep his spot in the rotation. "So it's going to be that much more pressure filled, but I wouldn't have it any other way."Anderson won 11 games as a rookie in 2009 and led all Oakland starters with a 2.80 ERA in 19 games the following year. Before his injury last season, he was 3-6 with a 4.00 ERA.He is 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA in his last three starts against the Twins with 14 strikeouts to one walk over 21 2/3 innings.This will be his first time facing Josh Willingham, who has been wreaking havoc on his former team this season.Willingham went 3 for 5 with a double and two RBIs Monday -- just the second win in 11 games for Minnesota (51-70) -- and is batting .444 with five homers and 14 RBIs in seven games against Oakland this year.Minnesota rookie Cole De Vries (2-4, 5.04 ERA), who allowed four runs and eight hits in four innings of Wednesday's 5-1 loss to Detroit, has already faced the A's twice. The right-hander gave up two hits in five scoreless innings May 29 while walking five, but yielded seven runs in five innings of a 9-3 loss July 14.Yoenis Cespedes is 2 for 3 with a homer and double against De Vries, while Josh Reddick is 2 for 5.Cespedes, who singled and scored Monday, is 9 for 18 with six RBIs and six runs in four games against Minnesota this year.
In 32 games played in Oakland in his career, Justin Morneau is batting .314 with 10 HR, 8 2B and 28 RBIs.
Yoenis Cespedes has been more successful batting in his home ballpark this season than on the road. Entering Monday, Cespedes is batting .329 with a .969 OPS in the Coliseum compared to his road numbers of .284 and .801.