OAKLAND -- Left-hander Brett Anderson's long, arduous journey back to the A's after Tommy John surgery is nearing the finish line.Anderson threw a 40-pitch bullpen session Saturday, and A's manager Bob Melvin said it won't be long before he finds a place for him in the rotation. "He's really got good stuff," Melvin said. "We'll probably have a decision here at some point soon, and we will find a way to get him in there somehow. He is that good, and so we just have to find the right timing for it." Anderson has made five rehab starts for Triple-A Sacramento. In his most recent start, he threw 96 pitches and allowed three runs on eight hits with seven strikeouts and one walk. Melvin said there's a chance Anderson could make one more start for Sacramento, but Anderson is counting the days until he takes the mound for the A's for the first time since June 5, 2011. "I'm very eager," Anderson said. "No exaggeration, there were 350 people at my last start in New Orleans after the rain delay. It's tough. Obviously you want to pitch good and you want to win, but there's a little bit more at stake here and a little bit more adrenaline going when you're facing a big league team in a big league park. I'm very eager to get back and pitch for this team." Anderson said he feel 100 percent ready to return and has hit as high as 94 mph with his fastball, although he hasn't thrown that fast consistently. "I'm sure my [velocity's] not where it was in parts of '09 and 2010, but that's' going to come the more I build up my arm strength. But I like where my other pitches are. My slider was good in my last start. I built up my pitch count pretty high." Anderson said he hasn't made any mechanical adjustments to take pressure off his elbow but will probably throw fewer breaking pitches than in the past. His slider, however, is still his best pitch, and he likes the way it looked in his last start with the River Cats. He said he used it to record five or six of his seven strikeouts. "It's getting back to where I like it," Anderson said.
A's celebrate 2002's record winning streak
OAKLAND -- The A's celebrated the 10th anniversary of their American League record 20-game winning streak in 2002 on Saturday with a pregame ceremony when members of that team were honored.
Former A's managers Art Howe and Ken Macha, who served as Howe's bench coach in 2002, took part, as did a number of coaches and players, including Scott Hatteberg, Terrence Long, Chad Bradford and Jim Mecir. Former A's Barry Zito, the 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner, third baseman Eric Chavez and outfielder David Justice recorded video messages that were played on the big screens.Howe received one of the longest and loudest ovations from fans as he was introduced. Hatteberg, the hero of the 20th win in that streak, was introduced last and threw out the first pitch -- fans also received a Hatteberg bobblehead. It was Hatteberg who slugged a pinch-hit, walk-off solo home run, lifting the A's to a 12-11 win at home against Kansas City for their 20th straight victory. After Saturday's game, an on-field viewing of the movie "Moneyball," based on that season, was scheduled for fans who purchased a special ticket. Proceeds from this weekend-long celebration will go to the Cory Lidle Foundation. Lidle, a pitcher on that 2002 team, died in a 2006 plane crash. The A's presented a $10,000 check to Lidle's widow, Melanie, and son, Christopher. "We've had an awful lot of success here, and that was a very exciting time in the history of the organization," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "So I applaud the fact we are giving it the notoriety this weekend that it should get."
Reddick returns to starting lineup
OAKLAND -- Josh Reddick was be back in his familiar spot in the lineup on Saturday for the A's, playing right field and hitting third against the Cleveland Indians.Reddick, who leads the A's with 25 home runs, has been hampered by complications from having a tooth extracted on Monday. He was out of the lineup Wednesday and was limited to pinch-hitting duty Friday after undergoing yet another dental procedure. Reddick said he is not pain-free, but he's in much less pain than before. "It's easier to deal with now," Reddick said. "Not as intense as it was before." Reddick said he noticed improvement in the latter innings of Friday night's 6-4 win and felt good enough to pinch-hit -- he singled, loading the bases during the A's two-run, game-winning rally. "I was able to move around and not just sit there and put ice on it and do nothing," he said. "I obviously was able to get in there and get a pinch-hit. If I'm able to move around and deal with it, I'm fine with that. The pain I was dealing with in Kansas City was something that I really need to avoid right now." A's manager Bob Melvin said on Saturday he was encouraged by Reddick's improvement. "I think today, so far, has been his best day," Melvin said. "Hopefully that continues." Reddick is still limited to liquids and soft foods, and Melvin said he needs to make sure he doesn't lose weight while recovering. Reddick is listed at just 180 pounds at 6-foot-2. "I know our people are very good about monitoring that type of thing," Melvin said. "It hasn't' been a concern so far with him, but hopefully he's getting enough in his stomach to where he can keep the weight on."
Third baseman Brandon Inge said he's "way ahead of schedule" in his rehab from a sprained right shoulder and fully expects to be ready to come off the disable list when he's eligible on Aug. 27.
"I'll be fine," Inge said. "I'll be ready in no time."According to Melvin, Inge, who plans to resume throwing on Monday. has already started taking some swings off a tee.
"I don't put anything past him," Melvin said. "He is a guy with a high threshold of pain tolerance."Inge said he'll have to deal with "a little" pain "but nothing you can't play though, nothing that will hinder me." Outfielder Seth Smith was eligible to come off the disabled list Saturday, but he's still recovering from his strained left hamstring. He took batting practice and ran the bases for the second straight day, and Melvin said Smith is getting closer to being ready for a rehab assignment in the Minor Leagues.
"Still getting there," Smith said before taking batting practice. "Slowly but surely. You don't want to rush it, but it's definitely headed in the right direction."
Eric Gilmore is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.