OAKLAND -- Left-hander Dallas Braden threw another bullpen session before Saturday's game against the Yankees, taking another step in his rehab from his strained surgically repaired shoulder. But just as important, perhaps, the pitcher is beginning to have success with a recently implemented mechanical change.
Braden used to bring his arm straight down out of the break of his hands, and then brought his arm back and began to throw when he was already headed toward the plate with his body.
But because of the stress that maneuver puts on his shoulder, Braden has altered his hands break, making an effort to reach his arm back quicker and thus help preserve his shoulder.
Braden said he's still "ironing those things out," but he's pleased with the improvement that he's noticed in between bullpens and throwing sessions. The next step is for the lefty to be able to consistently let go of the ball forcefully without hesitating because of his injury.
"I threw a couple today that I really just said to myself, '[Let's cut it loose],' and it felt all right," Braden said. "When you're up there, you're in the stretch, you got runners on, you're bearing down, you want a heater, you're going to let it go. And I don't want to go up there and go, 'Should I?' No, [I've got to] throw it."
After another bullpen on Tuesday, Braden expects to go the A's complex in Arizona sometime around next Friday to throw to hitters. It would be the first time he'll have done so since his rehab began.
Healthy Cespedes making huge impact
OAKLAND -- It may be impossible to top the rookie season that the Angels' Mike Trout is having, but with the way he's hit recently, A's outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has done everything he can to put himself in the limelight.
After going 4-for-5 in Friday night's game against the Yankees and hitting a homer in Saturday night's win, Cespedes has hit in a career-high nine straight games.
Over that stretch, which began in the final game before the All-Star break against the Mariners, the rookie has collected 19 hits in 33 at-bats, adding up to a .576 average, and has knocked four home runs. It's the hottest Cespedes has been all season long.
Kept out of the lineup for several different periods this year because of different injuries, Cespedes appears fully healthy, and it's carried over to the plate. He's also growing "more and more comfortable" every day in left field, according to A's manager Bob Melvin.
Everything is coming together for the Cuba native, and the impact on Oakland's lineup has been noticeable.
"The recent streak's been pretty sensational," Melvin said. "He's hitting the ball up the middle, he's hitting the ball the other way. You can see he's a very confident hitter, and he's just getting better and better based on he's seeing teams for the second time and he has a better sense of how teams are trying to pitch him."
Right-hander Brandon McCarthy, on the 15-day disabled list since June 20 with recurring shoulder soreness, threw another bullpen session on Saturday and said it went well. Manager Bob Melvin said the team would wait until Sunday to determine McCarthy's next step.
Josh Reddick was at designated hitter on Saturday instead of his normal right field position in an attempt to help give him some rest, according to Melvin. Brandon Moss took Reddick's spot in right and Chris Carter started at first base. Making his first rehab start since undergoing Tommy John surgery last July, left-hander Brett Anderson pitched two innings for Class A Stockton on Saturday night. He threw 35 pitches and allowed two runs on four hits and also hit one batter.
Ben Estes is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.