Oakland A's News: Johnson Slams Back To Bigs

Whenever a player spends significant time in the major leagues and is demoted to the minor leagues, half the battle is keeping the right attitude. If the player sulks and makes excuses for his demotion, he might never see the majors again.

If he treats the demotion like a wake-up call, and is willing to work and make any necessary changes, he can return to the majors and become productive again.

Dan Johnson brought the right attitude to Triple-A Sacramento after his demotion at the All-Star break. Perhaps most important to Johnson was getting reunited with Sacramento's hitting coach, Brian McArn, who had worked with him throughout the minors.

Johnson tore apart Triple-A pitching for two months, came back to the majors when rosters expanded, and made a triumphant return with a first-inning grand slam Sunday in the A's 10-1 win over Baltimore.

The A's scored nine runs in the first to march to the victory in the series finale. They haven't lost a series since dropping two of three to Boston from July 24-26.

They've won 11 of their last 12 at home. Before that stretch, they were just four games over .500 on the year at home.

REPLAY: A nine-run first inning led the A's to a 10-1 win over Baltimore on Sunday. Dan Johnson hit a grand slam, and Mark Ellis also homered in the first. Eric Chavez, in his first game back after missing two with a twisted ankle, homered later in the game.

Esteban Loaiza, who saw his scoreless streak end at 16 innings with a first-inning run, went eight innings to record the victory. Loaiza has won five consecutive starts.

Monday's Notes

--RHP Huston Street tore a hamstring his junior year at Texas, came back too soon, tore it really badly and missed 12 weeks. It affected his draft status as well, dropping him to 40th overall, instead of being in the top 10. That's one reason Street is being cautious with a torn hamstring right now. Also, it still feels a little weak. As a result, Street wasn't activated from the disabled list Sunday, when he was eligible. He'll throw a couple more bullpen sessions this week and could be activated Friday at Tampa Bay.

--RF Milton Bradley, who is mired in slumps of 2-for-16 and 17-for-81 (.210), didn't start Sunday. Manager Ken Macha said it was just a day off for Bradley.

--CF Mark Kotsay was out with an achy back and didn't start Sunday. He left Saturday's game in the third inning. The A's hope he can return Monday, although it's usually a couple of days when Kotsay's back acts up.

--RHP Rich Harden, continuing his rehab from a strained right elbow, threw on the mound Sunday. He'll take Monday off and throw again Tuesday. He is still throwing just fastballs right now.

--1B Nick Swisher was moved to the outfield for the first time since before the All-Star break. Dan Johnson started at first.

--OF/INF Hiram Bocachica, LHP Ron Flores and C Jeremy Brown were recalled from Triple-A Sacramento when rosters expanded.

BY THE NUMBERS: .734 -- The Athletics' winning percentage in August since 2001, a 124-45 record that is 21 games better than any other team. The A's went 21-6 this August.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I've been following Mulder pretty close. We all follow each other pretty closely. You can't help being involved in what they were doing. We were like brothers when we were here. My heart goes out to him. He battled through some injuries and came back. I don't know if he got rushed back. Maybe the team was pressuring him a little bit. I just hope he can get healthy and get everything right and be the guy we all know he is: a dominant left-hander." -- A's lefty Barry Zito on former teammate Mark Mulder.

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