video thumbnail

Athletics acquire pitchers Samardzija, Hammel

It won't be easy to follow up Jeff Samardzija, but Jason Hammel will try.

The fellow former Cubs pitcher will make his A's debut Wednesday against the Giants in San Francisco, where he'll look to mimic the seven-inning, one-run performance Samardzija delivered in his A's debut Sunday.

"As soon as he came out of the game, I told him, 'Nice job, Shark. I want to follow in the same suit,'" Hammel said.

Hammel was acquired by the A's along with Samardzija on Friday, dealing top prospect Addison Russell as well as Billy McKinney and right-hander Dan Straily.

Hammel was 8-5 with a 2.98 ERA in 17 starts with the Cubs.

"You don't want to put too much pressure on a guy, we just want him to go out there and do his thing, and he's been doing pretty well this year," A's manager Bob Melvin said.

"You just want him to go out there and perform, and not put too much pressure on him. It's the same thing we were trying to do with Jeff. I think it'll probably be a little bit different on the road, where at home maybe the expectations are a little bit higher, but he seems to be pretty excited about it and wants to get involved and help his team out, and certainly that's what you want to see."

Hammel seems eager to participate in the Bay Bridge Series -- and not intimidated by the higher stakes. He's 0-2 with a 3.02 ERA in nine appearances (eight starts) vs. the Giants but hasn't faced them since 2011.

"It's fun to get thrown right in the middle of the fire here with the Battle of the Bay," Hammel said. "I've got a lot riding here in my first appearance, so I better make it good."

The Giants will counter with right-hander Matt Cain, who is 1-7 with a 4.27 ERA on the year.

Cain had a rocky June but has gotten back on track his last couple of outings, allowing just two runs over 13 1/3 innings.

He's 3-5 with a 2.11 ERA in 10 career starts against the A's.

A's: Cespedes seeking repeat at Derby
Yoenis Cespedes has officially been invited to defend his 2013 Home Run Derby title.

"I'm very happy, and I'm going to do my best to defend my crown," he said on Tuesday.

The Cuban slugger will have some stiff competition, including fellow countryman Yasiel Puig, along with the imposing Giancarlo Stanton.

National League captain Troy Tulowitzki and Todd Frazier round out the Senior Circuit, while American League captain Jose Bautista selected Adam Jones and Brian Dozier to join Cespedes at Target Field for the Gillette Home Run Derby, beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Monday night on ESPN.

"It was so entertaining last year, and whenever you get an opportunity to do that as a player, I certainly understand that," Melvin said. "You can't help but be a little nervous about that, and I think that's the case with any organization that has a player in it. But at the end of the day it is a very entertaining event."

There is one unclaimed spot in each league, and the A's Josh Donaldson remains an option for the AL side. Those announcements will come Thursday.

Cespedes, who entered Tuesday's game with 14 homers, is attempting to become the Derby's first back-to-back winner since Ken Griffey Jr. (1998-99).

Giants: Pence returns to No. 2 spot
Hunter Pence in the leadoff spot is no more.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy moved Pence to the No. 2 spot in the batting order for Tuesday's game against the Athletics, tabbing speedy Gregor Blanco as his leadoff hitter.

"Hunter, he doesn't care where he hits," Bochy said. "He can hit anywhere in the lineup -- first, second, third, fourth, fifth ... he's comfortable. I think Blanco's been getting better swings off, so I'm just going to put a couple speed guys up there at the top of the order."

In five games batting leadoff, Pence hit .368 (7-for-19).

Worth noting
• The A's have lost 12 of their last 14 games in San Francisco.

• The A's have won eight of their last 10 games decided by two runs or fewer.

• Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro (lower back strain) went 1-for-3 with an RBI in five innings Monday night in his first game at Triple-A Fresno. He scheduled to play nine winnings Wednesday. Comments