Airplane trouble temporarily grounds A’s

The A's had to wait in Dallas after their charter plane for Florida was damaged during a thunderstorm

Oakland Athletics’ Marcus Semien smiles as he stand in the dugout after hitting a solo home run during the fifth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas, Friday, June 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — An already exhausting road trip got worse for the A’s when damage to their charter aircraft out of Texas caused about a four-hour travel delay late Sunday.

The A’s bided their time in the Texas visiting clubhouse after playing four games in a 48-hour span. They reached their St. Petersburg hotel about 4 a.m. Monday — some 15 hours before beginning a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.

“We’ve having a tough trip,’’ said A’s manager Bob Melvin, whose team began the swing with a three-game series at the Angels, then played four (including a day/night double-header) at Texas said. “Hopefully we can get it all out of the way in one trip. It feels like five straight days of naps.

“The travel has gotten so good. I’m sure there were some (worse). Relative to what we usually deal with, this is as challenging a trip as I’ve been on. But I don’t have to play. I just sit here and pat guys on the back.’’

Following Sunday’s 9-8 win at the Rangers, the players were informed about the delay. During a flash thunderstorm, some mobile stairs were blown into the wing of the A’s plane.

The substitute plane came from Northern California. It was not large enough to transport all of the A’s equipment, so overnight air freight was required for the remainder.

“The whole thing could’ve been a lot worse,’’ third baseman Matt Chapman said. “I’m glad we won. We just hung out in the clubhouse, played cards, shot the bull and hung out. It wasn’t ideal, but if we can win this series (against the Rays), it’s a pretty good road trip.’’

“I think this team is embracing the adversity,’’ left fielder Robbie Grossman said. “This is major-league baseball. No other sport has as grueling a schedule as we do. It’s what you enjoy about this game. The grind and adversity of it, sure it’s a challenge. But that’s also what makes it fun, particularly when you can win.’’

 SEMIEN IS AL PLAYER OF THE WEEK

A’s shortstop Marcus Semien, who batted .419 (13-for-31) with two doubles, two home runs and nine RBIs on the trip, was selected as American League Player of the Week.

“I was kind of surprised,’’ Semien said. “You kind of assume somebody out there hit .600 or something. We’re going through a grind right now, but the goal is always to be out there every day playing well and getting better.’’

 ANDERSON’S HOMECOMING

A’s right-hander Tanner Anderson was scheduled to make his first major-league start Monday night after being called up from Triple-A Las Vegas. To make room for Anderson, the A’s sent down right-hander Ryan Dull (10.80 ERA in four appearances).

Anderson, who was acquired from the Pirates on Nov. 20, was 6-6 with a 6.26 ERA in the minors this season.

Anderson made six relief appearances with the Pirates last season, finishing 1-0 with a 6.35 ERA.

It was a homecoming. Anderson, who played at Harvard University, was a 2001 graduate of Tampa’s Plant High School, which produced Hall of Famer Wade Boggs, Mets first baseman Pete Alonso and premium Astros prospect Kyle Tucker, among other players.

Melvin said he hoped Anderson would get needed incentive from the presence of family and friends.

“Our bullpen has been challenged, so we needed (a starter),’’ Melvin said. “I know he (Anderson) is excited. We saw him a little in the spring.

“Usually you send the starter ahead (to the next site). He joined us in Texas, just in time for the delay. We’ve had a lot of great bonding opportunities lately. We should be very well-bonded at this point.’’

MEDICAL NEWS

Melvin said catcher Chris Hermann (right knee surgery), who signed as a free-agent after last season, is expected to begin a rehabilitation assignment at Las Vegas on Thursday. Hermann has been catching bullpens, while getting at-bats and working on base-running, during extended spring training.

Meanwhile, right-handed pitcher Marco Estrada (lumbar strain), another offseason free-agent acquisition, is continuing his long journey back after his April 17 placement on the injured list. Melvin said Estrada’s throwing program is up to 90 feet.

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