OAKLAND -- As a resident of the American League West for the entirety of his nine-year career, C.J. Wilson has witnessed first-hand the ebbs and flows of the A's, which as of late have them poised for their second straight division title with 12 games remaining in the season.
Wilson, who debuted for the Rangers in 2005 before signing with the Angels in 2011, improved to 11-7 with a 3.33 ERA in 17 career starts against the A's in Monday's series-opening win at O.co Coliseum. The win was his fourth of the season against Oakland, yet the rest of baseball has been far less successful against the owners of the third-best record in the Major Leagues.
So how do the A's, possessors of the fourth-lowest payroll in baseball, compete against teams like the Angels, who own the sixth-highest? For Wilson, understandably, it comes down to pitching.
"It doesn't matter who it is," Wilson said. "It feels like there's always someone on their team that pitches well. There's always a guy in the bullpen."
"I think that people don't see some of the details that lead to championship-winning teams, which is why not everyone wins championships," Wilson added. "If you assess a guy like Sonny Gray -- who's a first-rounder, throws mid-90s, strikes people out and has three or four pitches he can throw -- that guy's not unheard of, he's not unheralded. He's a big-time prospect."
But many of the A's major contributors progressed through the Minor Leagues with less fanfare, which made it easy for pundits -- many of whom picked the Angels to win the division this season -- to right off the A's leading up to the start of the season despite having won the season prior.
"We play them quite a bit so we're very familiar with who they are," Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo said. "I think a lot of those trains of thought probably come from their payroll and theirs maybe not being as high as some of the other teams. But that doesn't mean they don't have quality players. They got a lot of young guys here contributing."
Cespedes plans to play through tendinitis
OAKLAND -- The A's were relieved on Tuesday to find Yoenis Cespedes' MRI results revealed there was no tear, only tendinitis, in the outfielder's right shoulder.
That's manageable, so Cespedes will continue to play "as tolerated," said manager Bob Melvin.
"It's tendinitis, which is a good outcome," Melvin said. "We'll probably DH him for a bit here, and then when he feels good, as far as throwing the ball, get him back out in the outfield. At least we feel better about the fact that we know what it is, and it is tendinitis."
Cespedes made his fourth start at DH in his last five games on Tuesday against the Angels, while Brandon Moss was given the nod in left field for just the fifth time this season. Chris Young can also do the job, as can Seth Smith and rookie Michael Choice.
Bottom line: The A's have plenty.
"The versatility of our roster does pay off when you do have some injuries," Melvin said, "and we're equally as comfortable with Moss in left as anywhere we play him."
Cespedes will refrain from throwing for now to alleviate stress on the shoulder. The A's are just happy they can use his bat, which has produced a .389 clip, three home runs and 13 RBIs in September.
Should pain worsen for Cespedes, the A's could opt to send him for a cortisone shot.
"We'll see, as far as a shot goes. There's the potential of that," said Melvin. "If that's the case, it probably speeds up the healing process."
Jaso gets peace of mind with successful BP
OAKLAND -- A's catcher John Jaso won't play in another game this season. But that didn't matter on Tuesday.
For the first time since landing on the disabled list with a concussion in July, Jaso took batting practice on the field without experiencing any symptoms, which is quite the encouraging sign for the catcher.
"It's been a couple days I've been asymptomatic, so it's a real positive thing," Jaso said shortly after coming off the field. "If it was still kind of left as a question mark going into the offseason, it would kind of add stress to the offseason, but proving it to myself that I can go out there and do that gives me peace of mind at least."
"I think that's what this was all about all along, as far as this first step," said manager Bob Melvin. "He's turned a corner here within the last four or five days to where he feels pretty good. He's waking up feeling a lot better, and now to have baseball activity on the field is a resource for him to feel good about where he is."
Jaso, 29, will head into the offseason having given the A's 21 RBIs in 70 games. He hit .271 with a .387 on-base percentage.
Anderson will finish '13 in A's bullpen
OAKLAND -- For weeks, the A's kept open the possibility of stretching out Brett Anderson as a starter again. Now it's no longer one.
"I think part of that was in case one or two guys didn't throw the ball well for a period of time," manager Bob Melvin said. "But our starters are throwing the ball pretty well. So at this point, he looks to just be a bullpen guy."
Before Jarrod Parker allowed eight runs in a rare loss to the Angels on Monday night, A's starters had allowed nine runs total over the club's previous eight games. They entered Tuesday with a 2.57 ERA over the last 19 contests.
Anderson, meanwhile, has made five relief appearances since coming off the disabled list Aug. 28, recording three three-inning saves along the way. He last pitched Friday in Texas but was around for only two batters before exiting with back spasms. On Monday, he was finally deemed available again, but time's simply running out for him to enter the playoffs as a starting option.
"He is a starter. He wants to start. He will start again," said Melvin. "But based on the timetable and how many outings he's had, it would be difficult to get him even up to five innings at this point."
Coliseum's third level will open for ALDS
OAKLAND -- If, and most likely when, the A's get into the postseason, they'll be welcoming in more fans to the Coliseum.
After selling out the first two levels for potential games in the American League Division Series in two hours on Tuesday morning, the A's made the decision to remove the upper-level tarps to bring in an additional 12,000-plus fans.
With the upper deck open, minus the peak of Mount Davis, capacity will be 48,146. Normal capacity is 35,067, which is what it was for the ALDS last year when the Tigers came to town. Even then, it was deafening.
"That's exciting," said Brandon Moss. "I'm looking forward to that. When we were in Detroit, Prince [Fielder] was talking about how loud it was for the playoffs here last year. People don't realize how loud this place can get when fans get into it. That's why I feel like, sometimes, when we get it going here, when it's a big situation, we do so well in part because the fans are behind us and they get loud. It's pretty impressive."
Manager Bob Melvin, who has always lauded Oakland's dedicated fans and the impact they have on his club's play, was asked if he could imagine playoff crowds multiplied in size.
"I can imagine," he said, smiling, "but we still have to get there first."
"I can't wait," Moss said. "But it's our job to make sure they have an opportunity to come for that."
• Shortstop Jed Lowrie (right hamstring tightness) remained out of the starting lineup for a second straight day Tuesday. But if all went well with pregame activity, he was expected to be an option off the bench, according to manager Bob Melvin.
• Reliever Dan Otero returned to the team Tuesday after missing Monday's game to be with his wife, Tiffany, for the birth of their first child, a daughter named Kinsley Lynn.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Jeff Kirshman is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.