7/20/2014 9:39 P.M. ET
No robot needed: LeGrande throws first pitch
KC resident tossed telerobotic first pitch to Cook last season
By Jane Lee / MLB.com
OAKLAND -- Virtually bonded more than a year ago through the first telerobotic first pitch in Major League Baseball history, A's reliever Ryan Cook and Nick LeGrande have since become good buddies.
They text often -- about baseball, the A's, video games. And, on Sunday, they were reunited for another ceremonial first pitch, this time in person at the Coliseum, just as they dreamed it up.
The 15-year-old LeGrande, diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia, a rare life-threatening blood disorder that affects six out of every one million people, was making weekly trips to the hospital for blood transfusions and could rarely leave his home when he first met Cook.
One month later, he underwent a successful bone marrow transplant and was soon cleared medically to make the trip west from Kansas City with his family.
"It was just amazing to me how it was never an issue of if he was going to get healthy, but when he was going to get healthy," said Cook. "Their family has had the right attitude the whole time. But just to see it actually come to fruition and for them to get here and have this happen, it's pretty cool.
"I'm very thankful this relationship has come out of it. Everything that transpired just kind of fell into my lap. I was honored to be part of it at the time, but now to have created a relationship out of it with him and his family, it's just amazing. We have open communication all the time. It's pretty cool. It's kind of humbling, really. You get so caught up in results, going out there pitching, this and that. Then you see, wow, I was able to use this to help somebody's spirits, and a relationship a year later is still going strong."
Positive signs for Sogard in rare start
OAKLAND -- A slumping Eric Sogard has seen diminished playing time in recent weeks, but he was in the lineup Sunday for the first time this series with a chance to reverse these fortunes.
"Hopefully this is a game where he can springboard himself to get a little more confidence at the plate and get some more at-bats," manager Bob Melvin said before the A's 10-2 win, "because he hasn't gotten too many recently."
It was just his fourth start in the club's last 23 games, and Sogard rewarded Melvin's decision with a pair of hits on Sunday to raise his average to .194 after collecting just four in his previous 35 at-bats.
It's been at or below the Mendoza line for much of the year, and while Sogard's always been known more for his glove than his bat --he committed his first error of the season Sunday -- he did exit the 2013 season with a respectable .266 average to go along with a .322 on-base percentage.
"He's been a guy that has contributed for us, and when he gets hot, he gets really hot," said Melvin. "He can put together some 15-for-30 streaks, and his defense is always there.
"It's difficult when you're not playing all the time, but he understands, he's always prepared, always ready on the bench, and he always wants the opportunity. He's a very easy player to deal with."
• Alberto Callaspo (right hamstring strain) is expected to resume baseball activities on Tuesday. He's eligible to come off the disabled list July 27 and is likely to be activated soon after.
• Rehabbing outfielder Josh Reddick, on the mend from a right knee injury for the second time in a month, is expected to rejoin the A's on Tuesday, A's manager Bob Melvin strongly suggested.
"I talked to him this morning," Melvin said. "He's had a couple plays on the bases where he's had to test it. He's had a couple of throws where it bit him a little bit last time. He feels great right now."
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.