04/21/2013 3:58 PM ET
Parker encouraged by Saturday's solid outing
By Jim Hawkins / Special to MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG -- A year ago, then-rookie Jarrod Parker tied Tommy Milone for the A's team most victories at 13. So far this season, Parker is winless at 0-3. But both he and the A's were heartened by his effort Saturday night, even though it ended in another defeat.
It was the type of performance they are looking for and need from their No. 2 starter. He allowed just one run and fanned five in 6 1/3 innings. He also used his four-seam fastball more than he did in earlier starts and threw more first-pitch strikes.
Parker admitted that his mindset Saturday was to "attack from the get-go. The off-speed pitches, being able to throw three pitches, four pitches for a strike at pretty much any time, that was a good thing for me.
"I think I had a little bit better command of my fastball and I was able to create the sink that I had been looking for all year. The ball would sink when I wanted it to."
In Saturday night's 1-0 loss to the Rays, eight of Tampa Bays 19 outs against Parker came on ground balls, and five others were strikeouts.
"When I'm at my best, I keep the ball out of the air and get ground balls," Parker said. "That'll be a good sign moving forward if I keep the ball down and sink it a little bit. That's the result I'm looking for."
Melvin confident Anderson will start Wednesday
ST. PETERSBURG -- Left-hander Brett Anderson threw what Bob Melvin described as "a very aggressive side" before Sunday's game against the Rays, leaving the A's manager with "a good feeling he will be able to pitch Wednesday."
The A's were worried that Anderson, who left Friday night's loss to the Rays after the first inning because of a sprained right ankle, might have to miss his next start.
"We made him go after it like he was in an actual game," Melvin said after Sunday's bullpen session. "And he felt nothing.
"We pushed him through the rigors today. Now we just have to wait and see how he feels tomorrow."
Just in case a problem arises, however, Dan Straily will probably be held out of his scheduled start for Triple-A Sacramento on Sunday. Should there be a setback Monday with Anderson's ankle, Straily would likely be the pitcher called up to replace him.
Anderson, 1-3, has allowed 11 runs in his past 4 2/3 innings and his ERA has jumped to 5.95.
Cespedes on track for weekend rehab assignment
ST. PETERSBURG -- Yoenis Cespedes did not take any more swings or hit off a tee Sunday, but it is expected he will do so again on Monday and he will also likely take batting practice while the A's are in Boston.
If all goes well, Cespedes could be sent to Sacramento for a brief Minor League rehab assignment as early as Friday or Saturday and come off the disabled list next Sunday when he is eligible.
"So far, so good," A's manager Bob Melvin declared Sunday. "If all goes well, he'll hit coaches BP in Boston. Once we get him in a live BP situation, we'll see where we stand.
"There's a chance he might need a few at-bats," Melvin added.
This much is certain: The A's need Cespedes, their best hitter, back in the lineup as soon as possible. He is one of those players who makes everyone around him better.
Although Cespedes was only hitting .200 when he injured his hand, the A's had hit 19 home runs in 11 games with him in the lineup. Since Cespedes has been out with an injured hand, they've hit just two.
Reddick trying to relax amidst early slump
ST. PETERSBURG -- Josh Reddick, 2-for-25 with 10 strikeouts in his last seven games, remained in the lineup, batting sixth on Sunday. In addition to cutting his long hair and trimming his shaggy beard, the A 's right fielder has taken his drop in the batting order in stride.
"There's no need for me to be a momentum killer," he said.
However, it would be understandable if Reddick, who dropped a first-inning fly ball by the Rays' Evan Longoria Sunday for a run-producing error, is pressing a bit.
"It's human nature, when you haven't done too well to start, that you try to do to much," manager Bob Melvin said. "He gets a little frustrated at times. There's a frustration factor that kicks in when you hit the ball hard and have nothing to show for it. He'll keep after it. It all comes back to getting some hits and getting on your way."
Meanwhile, the A's keep looking for positive signs as they wait for Reddick to snap out of his funk. For example, Melvin felt compelled to note that Reddick's "BP (batting practice) was much better" on Saturday.
Reddick's .102 average going into Sunday's game was the third lowest in the American League. In his first two at-bats against the Rays, he was 1-2 with an RBI single.
Jim Hawkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.