Tyler Ladendorf, Danny Valencia

Who are these new Oakland Athletics?

As many of you likely already know the Oakland Athletics defeated the Texas Rangers by a score of 10-0. While everyone contributed to the win there were some new faces that made some huge contributions. So who are these new-look A’s?

Well, let’s start with an Athletic that you should already be familiar with. He signed a two-year deal prior to last season with the A’s. He went 15-9 with a 3.55 ERA and made the 2014 American League All-Star team. It was also quite a comeback, a former All-Star and league strikeout leader Scott Kazmir had been out of baseball for a couple of seasons, having seemingly lost his way.

The A’s took a chance on the 31-year-old left-hander and it has obviously paid off. Wednesday night Kazmir accumulated 10 strikeouts over seven one-hit innings keeping the Rangers offense at bay, letting the A’s offense lead the way.

While Kazmir is a relatively new Athletic, there, were newer faces who made big offensive contributions to the A’s second win of the season.

Rookie Mark Canha made his major league debut at first base Wednesday night and what a debut it was! Canha, a Cal Berkeley Alum, was picked up by the A’s in the Rule 5 draft. Canha went 3-5 with two doubles.

His first major league hit was a bases clearing three-run double that was so close to a grand slam, even though it was reviewed during the game, that it is still being speculated over. Not officially of course, but there are definitely questions. The second double was a couple feet away from a home run but Canha couldn’t have been more pleased with his debut night,

“From the angle that I was running, it looked like it might have hit off the wall then hit off one of those beams that’s in the background there,” said Canha. “I really wanted the first one to be a grand slam. I thought that would have been cool. Just missed it. We won the game, and I’ll take that.”

Canha end the night with four runs batted in. Canha was not easy for the A’s to acquire. Yes, he was their Rule 5 draft pick but they had to go out of their way to get him.

As I wrote in a post titled “A’s make a trade to get Mark Canha from the Rule 5 draft,” the A’s had to work some magic to get Canha on their team and it’s already paying off,

“The Colorado Rockies had the second overall pick in this year’s Rule 5 draft which capped off the 2014 annual winter meetings Thursday. The Oakland A’s, slated to pick later in the draft, saw something they wanted and knew how to get it.

The Rockies had long coveted A’s Class-A closer Austin House and had the second pick in the draft. The A’s wanted Mark Canha, a power-hitting jack of all trades kind of player, but were afraid that if they waited until their turn was up the first baseman/outfielder/third baseman would have already been claimed. The A’s offered House to the Rockies in exchange for them drafting Canha second overall, a deal they happily accepted.”

Tyler Ladendorf is another name you may not be familiar with. Ladendorf was drafted and signed by the Minnesota Twins in the 2008 amatuer player draft and made his way to the Athletics in 2009. Making his major league debut Wednesday, Ladendorf, another multi-position player played in the outfield.

His first major league hit was a run scoring triple. He also notched in another run in the fifth. Of the night Ladendorf said,

“I hit it,” he said, “and there was that immediate feeling of ‘No way!’ I hit it and kind of knew it would be in the gap. The energy’s flowing, and it’s just hard to control your emotions at that time. It’s everything you thought it would be as a little kid. It’s unbelievable. It’s hard to put into words right now. I’m glad we got a win more than anything.”

A couple of other new names who contributed to the A’s 10-0 win over the Rangers were veteran outfielder Cody Ross, who literally had just agreed to terms with Oakland Wednesday morning, and rookie catcher Josh Phegley. Ross went 1-5 with two RBI and Phlegley got his first hit as an Athletic with a single in the fifth inning.

It was a great win for Oakland and a historic night as A’s MLB.com beat writer Jane Lee writes,

“The A’s are the first team to have two players with at least two RBIs in their Major League debuts in the same game the RBI was made official in 1920.”

You can get ready for more new faces Thursday as Kendall Graveman, who was part of the trade that sent Josh Donaldson to the Toronto Blue Jays, will start his first major league game for the A’s in the final game of their four-game series against the Rangers.

Graveman has pitched in the majors before but has never made a start, having made five appearances out of the bullpen for Toronto next season. After today’s game I will have more information on more new A’s faces, so check back for another post! For now I’m off to watch Graveman in his first MLB start! 😀

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