OAKLAND -- Just hours before beginning their series against the Orioles, the A's on Friday received the perfect boost by way of a surprise visit from Brandon McCarthy.
The right-handed pitcher, who last week underwent emergency brain surgery after taking a line drive to his head, insisted on making an appearance at the Coliseum in support of his teammates. In turn, he was greeted with a rousing reception as the A's came off the field from batting practice and entered the clubhouse.
"Everyone was really excited to see him," Jerry Blevins said. "I think he was really excited to see us, too. There's just nothing that compares to the clubhouse atmosphere, and just to have him back and being around the guys, it's hard to beat that."
McCarthy didn't stay long, as his activity level must remain monitored to assure a successful healing process. But he was around long enough to showcase the humor that embodies his personality.
He was working on a crossword puzzle as Blevins approached, and Blevins suggested as a joke to fill in all of the spaces with backward letters and then show it to the trainer. McCarthy had a better idea: populate each of the spaces with smiley faces.
"He's still the same old guy," Blevins said, laughing.
As for his looks, well those have slightly been altered.
"He's just got a buzzed head and a cool scar," Blevins said. "He looks a lot tougher than he did."
McCarthy also was presented a gift from Jonny Gomes, who had everyone sign a batting helmet on which he wrote "Heads Up" on the bill.
"It's great for him to be back and part of the team, even though he was always a part and never gone from our thoughts," Blevins said.
Cespedes doesn't miss any time with wrist issue
OAKLAND -- One day after spraining his right wrist against the Angels, Yoenis Cespedes was in the lineup Friday night for the A's, playing left field and hitting fourth against Baltimore."I'm going to rest after we get a championship," Cespedes said. "I'm going to be in the lineup every day." Cespedes was injured in the fourth inning Thursday while sliding into second base and came out of the game in the top of the fifth. Cespedes sprained his right wrist earlier in the season in an Aug. 3 game against Toronto. He pinch-hit the next night and returned to the lineup the game after that. "Yesterday when I got out of the game, it hurt a lot," Cespedes said. Cespedes said that when he arrived at the Coliseum on Friday afternoon, his wrist was just "a little sore" and not nearly painful enough to keep him out of the lineup. "I wasn't 100 percent sure, but I think it, more than anything, scared him a little bit yesterday based on the fact that he had that injury earlier in the year," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He didn't' want to push it, and then once he got here today, it was good enough to play. I was thinking of potentially DH, but he was good to play the outfield, too. So we're encouraged the way that went." Cespedes said he wasn't "scared" or "nervous" when he was injured but was in enough pain to come out of the game. Cespedes entered Friday night's game batting .287 with 18 home runs and 68 RBIs. He homered Tuesday and Wednesday against the Angels, snapping a 21-game homerless streak, the longest of his rookie season. "He wants to play, there's no doubt," Melvin said. "For a guy that's used to a 90-game season, you can get a little bit run down, I think as much mentally as physically. We've been trying to combat that some with some DH spots for him. He's swinging the bat a little bit better right now, and he's obviously a very important guy for us. We want to keep him as refreshed as we can."
Inge undergoes successful shoulder surgery
OAKLAND -- Third baseman Brandon Inge underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder Thursday in Detroit, the A's announced Friday.Dr. Stephen Lemos, the Detroit Tigers' orthopedic surgeon, performed the operation to repair Inge's labrum. Inge will miss the remainder of the season, and there is no timetable for his return. Inge went on the disabled list on Aug. 14, retroactive to Aug. 12, with a sprained right shoulder. He was reinstated Sept. 1 and went 1-for-2 with a double and two RBIs against Boston but left the game in the fourth inning after re-injuring his shoulder. He landed on the DL for the fourth time this season. In 74 games with the A's this year, the former Tiger hit .226 with 11 home runs, 52 RBIs and 31 runs scored.
Rosales raring to contribute in platoon role
OAKLAND -- A's infielder Adam Rosales was in the lineup at second base Friday night against Baltimore for just the second time in a 10-game stretch.That's life as a platoon player -- Rosales plays second against left-handers with Cliff Pennington facing right-handers -- but after what Rosales has been through, he's not complaining, especially with the A's in the middle of a playoff race. Rosales suffered a season-ending stress fracture of his right ankle in August 2010 and started the 2011 season on the 60-day disabled list while he continued his rehabilitation. He played just 24 games for the A's last year, hitting .098. This year he's been sent down to Triple-A Sacramento twice and was recalled Aug. 2 for his third stint with the A's. "Over the last few years there's been a lot of up and down for me, but this season there's only one thing to focus on and that's the ultimate goal -- to get into the playoffs and go to the World Series," Rosales said. "I've never felt this way before in the big leagues. I've been with the Reds in '08 and '09 and here in '10, '11 and '12, but it's a different feeling for sure, in the clubhouse, on the field, just guys picking each other up, just everybody rooting everybody on. It's a really good feeling right now." Rosales, who entered Friday night's game hitting .221 with two home runs and 8 RBIs, can play any spot in the infield and has seen occasional duty in the outfield. He said he prefers either of the middle-infield spots. He has zero errors at second in 69 career games, including 63 with the A's. That's the third longest errorless streak by a second baseman in Oakland history. "I like the middle infield," Rosales said. "It doesn't really matter [which position]. I just like doing the double plays, cutoffs, relays. There's a lot more responsibility in the middle infield, a lot more action. I like that, though. I like to take on that challenge every day. You definitely got to be focused and concentrated out there every pitch, every out. It's good."
After playing seven road games with stops in Seattle and Anaheim, the A's began a three-game homestand Friday night against the Baltimore Orioles. The A's, though, can't get too comfortable because after facing the Orioles, they'll hit the road for 10 more road games with stops in Detroit, New York and Texas.A's manager Bob Melvin was asked if he and his players had even unpacked their bags. "Relatively," Melvin said. "Too quick for dry cleaning stuff, maybe a few washable items. It was funny ... our traveling secretary, Mickey Morabito, said this is a six-city road trip. The two we were just on, here, and then the three we'll go to after this. It is a little bit of a short homestand, but, nonetheless, it's always great to get home and put the white uniforms on." Melvin said he has liked what he's seen from second baseman Jemile Weeks since he was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento on Monday. Weeks, who was sent down on Aug. 21, went 2-for-3 with a double and a stolen base Thursday against the Angels in his first game since being recalled. Melvin said the "change of scenery" in Sacramento helped Weeks get back on track. "He's a talented player, and I think he just got a little bit bogged down this year with not getting the same type of results that he got last year. That can be a little bit puzzling at times," Melvin said. "And then you try to tinker with some things and maybe get out of what your strengths are. "He talked about trying to get better with the deficiencies and sometimes not concentrating on what his strengths were. So, from the minute he got to Triple-A, he swung the bat much better. I think he's trying to keep the ball out of the air a little bit more. His hands are a little higher. He's going to be a terrific player, regardless, down the road. He just had a little bit of a speed bump here." Right-hander Andrew Carignan, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, said he is scheduled to begin a throwing program on Oct. 7.
Eric Gilmore is a contributor to MLB.com. Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.