Ben Sheets passes first test for Athletics
PHOENIX (AP) – Ben Sheets acknowledged being a little nervous but insisted it had nothing to do with facing his former team. It was more about facing hitters for the first time in 17 months.
Sheets, who signed a $10 million, one-year contract with the Oakland Athletics in the offseason, started Friday’s 8-7 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers and tossed 1 2-3 healthy innings.
The right-hander addressed several issues regarding the elbow surgery that forced him to miss last season. He denied any bad feelings between himself and the Brewers and said he was enthusiastic about returning to the form that made him a two-time All-Star in Milwaukee.
“I thought it went great,” Sheets said after his 32-pitch outing. “Any time I come off the mound healthy it’s a plus. I know I’m getting better. I feel it, my body feels it. The more throwing I get in, the stronger my arm gets. That’s as good as I wanted.”
Yovani Gallardo pitched two scoreless innings, and Gregg Zaun and Alcides Escobar each drove in two runs for Milwaukee.
Travis Buck and Anthony Recker homered for the A’s.
Sheets gave up two runs and four hits. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out one. He was more concerned about the command of his breaking ball than how his arm felt.
“I did not get one breaking ball over the plate,” he said. “It didn’t seem like I got it over my last live batting practice, either.”
Gallardo, who became the Brewers’ ace in Sheets’ absence, said it was odd to see his former mentor in a different uniform.
“It was strange seeing him in yellow and green,” Gallardo said. “But it’s part of baseball. It’s good to see him back and I wish him luck.”
Gallardo gave up a triple to Eric Chavez but struck out two and looked fluid.
“There was a little bit of excitement going out there for the first time, but it worked out,” he said. “I’m very satisfied. Everything went great.”
Steffan Wilson had three hits and drove in a run for Milwaukee. Ryan Braun and Jim Edmonds also drove in runs.
Mark Ellis and Greg Gross added RBI singles for the A’s.
The A’s scored seven runs, all after two were out and no one on, to rally from a six-run deficit.
NOTES: A’s RHP Jason Jennings threw a simulated game. … Brewers 2B Rickie Weeks reached base for the fourth straight time, singling in the first. A’s INF Jamal Weeks, Rickie’s younger brother, doubled home a run in the seventh. … Brewers 3B Mat Gamel sat out his second game with a sore shoulder. … Chavez made his debut at first base for Oakland and got some advice from Brewers first base coach Ed Seder. “I was covering first when I didn’t need to and the coach whispered, ‘Hey, you don’t need to be here right now.’ I said, ‘I just wanted to say hi.”‘ … Brewers OF Trent Oeltjen bruised his left wrist when he was hit by a pitch from Andrew Bailey. Oeltjen will be sent to a hand specialist Saturday.