5/28/2014 8:52 P.M. ET
Top prospect Russell gets back into game action
By Jane Lee and Aaron Leibowitz / MLB.com
OAKLAND -- A's No. 1 prospect Addison Russell is finally on the mend from the right hamstring tear he sustained less than a week into the season.
Oakland's 2012 first-round Draft pick played in an extended spring training game in Arizona on Wednesday, marking the shortstop's first game action since injuring the hamstring with Double-A Midland in April.
According to assistant general manager David Forst, Russell played four innings in the field Wednesday and had two at-bats. He'll remain rehabbing in Arizona until cleared to rejoin a Minor League club.
"We won't have any other updates on his progress or expected return to action until he is ready to leave the extended program and join a full-season club," said Forst through e-mail.
There is no timetable on when that will be, but Russell's return to the field is encouraging for an organization that has long forecasted him to be the A's starting shortstop in 2015, following Jed Lowrie's expected departure via free agency.
Russell, 20, has compiled a .306 average through 167 games in the Minors, hitting .269 with 17 home runs and 21 stolen bases in his first full professional season last year, the majority of it spent at Class A Stockton.
Norris, Abad revisit crucial play in Tuesday's loss
OAKLAND -- A's catcher Derek Norris believes Fernando Abad's frustrations got in the way of his awareness of Rajai Davis in the eighth inning of Tuesday's loss to Detroit.
Abad admits he was peeved with himself, having walked two in an inning for just the second time in the last two seasons, but still isn't convinced he would've been able to get Davis at third base.
Detroit's speedster, who had already advanced to second on a passed ball by Norris, raced to third on the catcher's throw back to Abad, who was seen looking into his glove for more than a second before realizing the scene behind him.
Davis scored on the next play, a ground-ball forceout, giving the Tigers their winning run.
"I think, somehow, if he had heard something, someone yelling, even though it's loud and you're not always cognizant of voices going on," said Norris, "100 percent I think if he caught the ball and fired it to third base, he would've been out.
"I released the ball, and he took off, and by that point, [Abad] was just frustrated he couldn't throw strikes, and just smart baserunning. Thinking back, if I could play it all over again, I would've pump-faked, but I didn't feel like I lobbed the ball back, I didn't feel like I took my sweet time. I just caught the ball and, same as I always do, threw it back to the pitcher. He had obviously been watching, and he was aggressive and made a good baserunning play and got to third."
Abad, though, said Norris threw the ball "so slow."
"When I started hearing everyone, he was already starting to slide toward the base," Abad said. "Maybe I had a chance to get him out. I wasn't paying attention to him, that's why he took the lead and stole the base. He's fast. Even if I throw it, it's a tough play."
Manager Bob Melvin played the role of mediator.
"It would've been close," Melvin said. "Catcher and pitcher need to be a bit more aware of the situation. But it was a risk, and [Davis] was rewarded for it."
A's plan two-day celebration for '74 World Series squad
OAKLAND -- In honor of the 40th anniversary of the A's 1974 World Series championship team, the club will hold a two-day celebration on Friday and Saturday when the A's host the Los Angeles Angels.
The A's of 1972, '73 and '74 became one of just four teams in Major League history to win three consecutive titles -- and they remain the only franchise to three-peat that is not named the Yankees. They are also the only Bay Area sports franchise ever to win three straight championships.
Many of the players from the 1974 team will be on hand for the celebration. Hall of Famers Rollie Fingers and Reggie Jackson will make appearances, as will former American League Cy Young Award winner and AL MVP Vida Blue.
Also scheduled to attend are Sal Bando, Bert Campaneris, Ray Fosse, Darold Knowles, John "Blue Moon" Odom, Joe Rudi, Gene Tenace, Dick Green, Dave Hamilton, Larry Haney, Jim Holt, Ted Kubiak, Billy North and Herb Washington.
On Saturday at 6:30 pm PT, there will be a pregame on-field reunion to honor the 1974 squad. Tenace, Jackson and Fingers -- the respective MVP's for the three World Series teams -- will throw out the ceremonial first pitches. The first 15,000 fans on Saturday will receive a Catfish Hunter bobblehead.
The weekend's festivities will also include several autograph sessions with members of the 1974 team, with proceeds going to the Jim "Catfish" Hunter ALS Foundation. Four autograph sessions are scheduled for Friday beginning at 6:15 pm; the players' names will be released earlier that afternoon. On Saturday, Fingers and Jackson will hold an exclusive autograph session starting at 7:45 pm.
Tickets for the autograph sessions go on sale at Section 216 at 4:30 pm on Friday and Saturday.
For more information on the reunion, fans can visit www.athletics.com/1974.
Nick Punto, who hasn't played in a game since Friday because of a left calf strain, is back to full health and was considered available off the bench Wednesday. Melvin said he'll get a start "soon," and it'll likely come Friday, with lefty Tyler Skaggs throwing for the Angels.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. Aaron Leibowitz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.