TEMPE -- The Oakland Athletics experienced their first Cactus League in-game injury scare on Sunday, when outfielder Chris Young was removed from the game for precautionary reasons in the top of the second inning with a cramp in his quadricep.
"It's just a cramp, he's fine," A's manager Bob Melvin said after the A's 7-5 win over the Angels. "He's not going to play tomorrow anyways, he's already played two in a row."
Young experienced the pain after making a run-saving catch to end the first inning. With runners on second and third and two outs, he made a slick catch in right field to rob Brendan Harris of a two-RBI hit. The ball looked like it was going to be smoked into the gap, but Young managed to track it down and snag it out of the air by leaping with his glove stretched way over his head. He landed in a head-first slide. Young certainly didn't look like a guy playing a new position.
"I think it carried a little further than he thought it would and he made a great adjustment and was able to make a play on it," shortstop Jed Lowrie said. "He looked comfortable, he came up throwing the ball strong a couple times, I couldn't have told you he never played right field before."
Young was due up in the next inning but was removed from the game for Michael Taylor. He was seen on the top step of the dugout smiling and talking to teammates during Taylor's at-bat.
Prior to being removed, Young smacked an RBI double over Vernon Wells' head in left field, scoring Coco Crisp -- who led off the game with a single. With the winds swirling, Seth Smith followed with an RBI double off the right field wall that Kole Calhoun made a leaping attempt on. Later in the frame Scott Sizemore hit a high fly ball into the air that was actually caught, the end result was a sacrifice fly to make the game 3-0.
Travis Blackley started the game for the A's and was the benefactor of Young's catch. In one inning of work he allowed three hits, but didn't give up a run. The Australian-born pitcher's pick-off move was in midseason form. He caught Tommy Field red-handed leading off first base after he reached on a single.
"I'll take any zero I can get right about now, as ugly as it may be," Blackley said.
Strong winds became a big factor throughout the game on Sunday, as defenders were forced to run crazy routes as they tried -- and often failed -- to track down and catch the baseball. At one point the wind almost caused Blackley to balk.
"I went to lift my leg and the gust came and I quickly stopped again," Blackley said. "It was going to blow me over I swear."
Sizemore appeared in the field for the first time since September 28, 2011, after tearing the ACL in his left knee last spring. He was forced to miss the entire 2012 season, but didn't look rusty as he made a diving play in the second inning. He had to range to his left to stop the ball, then throw out the runner at first. Considering how long it has been since he played second base, he was happy his instincts took over on the play.
"That was good actually," Sizemore said. "It just kind of happened, I just had to stab at it, knock it down, and get the out at first. It was good to just react and have your body do what it is used to doing."
Sizemore is back to playing his natural position of second base. He was converted to a third basemen when he was acquired by Oakland in a trade during the 2011 season. Prior to Sunday, Sizemore hadn't played there since May 26, 2011, when he was a member of the Tigers. He ended up 0 for 1 with a walk and an RBI.
"It felt good to kind of get out there and just run different situations, be in different places, have different responsibilities, all stuff that you don't practice until you are actually in the game," Sizemore said. "It felt good to be out in the field for the first time in a while."
"He looks really good," Melvin said of Sizemore. "I really did think it would take him a little while to settle in, but he is in the right place defensively, he's making all the instinctive plays at second base."
Sizemore worked alongside Lowrie, who went 0 for 2 with a walk in his A's debut. The two didn't get a chance to turn any double plays together, but were happy to have a chance to build an on-field rapport.
"When you get traded part of the process is getting comfortable with everybody," Lowrie said. "I think it starts on the field. Obviously in the clubhouse there's a dynamic, but I think on the field is where you learn the most about guys."
The Angels took the lead by rallying for four runs in the second and third innings off Brian Gordon. Oakland tied the game in the fourth inning when Smith hit a sacrifice fly to score Crisp, who hit a double. Crisp went 2 for 3 with a run.
The A's took the lead in the seventh inning when Darwin Perez hit a two-run double down the right field line to give the A's a 6-4 lead. He was thrown out at third as he tried to stretch it to a triple.
Two future Oakland A's extended the lead in the eighth inning. Addison Russell hit an opposite-field double and Michael Choice drove him home with a single to make it a 7-4 game.