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A’s reliever John Axford struggles to find good groove

Many scouts have turned out to check out the back end of Oakland’s bullpen before the trade deadline at the end of the month, and while Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle are sure to garner interest, John Axford probably would be a long shot for contenders at this point. Monday, he walked four batters and threw more balls (18) than strikes (15). “He’s not throwing the ball where he wants to, you see the ball-strike ratio and walking guys,” manager Bob Melvin said. For a veteran guy who’s done this a while, he’s always walked a few guys but maybe a few more so now and putting himself in some tough spots. Infielder Ryon Healy said the back spasms that sidelined him Monday have subsided; he hit in the batting cage Tuesday, but Melvin said he was not available off the bench. ... Rehabbing shortstop Marcus Semien batted second in Triple-A Nashville’s 9-8 loss at Colorado Springs. Outfielder Jake Smolinski, who had shoulder surgery in March, is doing sock throws and said he’s scheduled to begin throwing a baseball after the All-Star break. ... Right-hander Andrew Triggs has played catch each of the past two days and said his activity level is being increased to see how his injured left hip responds. Surgery remains an option; should he need the torn labrum repaired, Triggs hopes to be ready for spring training. ... Right-hander Bobby Wahl is throwing long toss, but he is not yet throwing off the mound; he hopes to do so next week. Home runs have accounted for 184 of Oakland’s 362 runs, 50.8 percent. The Oakland record for highest percentage of runs scoring on homers is 46.3 percent in 1996.

Article by By Susan Slusser (c) Top Sports Stories RSS Feed - Read full story here.