A's Notes: Cust Hits Many Milestones

Jack Cust added onto his American League strikeout record with another on Sunday, giving him 188 this season. He also added a walk (his AL-high 105th) and a homer, his 30th.

"Those are the three big things in my stat book," Jack Cust said of what has become known around the A's clubhouse as the "Cust trifecta." Back when Rob Deer had the AL record for strikeouts, Deer's fan club deemed the walk-strikeout-homers as the "three true outcomes."

Cust isn't overly troubled by his strikeouts, but he would like to cut down on the stat next season. He told the San Francisco Chronicle he plans to work with an eye specialist during the offseason.

"I'll dedicate part of my offseason to training my eyes," said Cust, who told the newspaper that his depth perception is off.

"You train your body and everything else, but you really don't train your eyes. Hopefully, this will help. I feel I swing and miss pitches I should be hitting. My eyes aren't telling my brain the right location to go to."

Cust will work with Los Angeles-based optometrist Bill Harrison, who has worked with George Brett and Barry Bonds, among others.

Cust became the first A's player to reach the 30-homer total since both Frank Thomas and Nick Swisher reached that plateau in 2006. The 30 homers are a major league career high for Cust and ranks him 11th in the American League. Cust leads the A's in a number of categories, including homeruns, RBIs (72), OBP (.372), OPS (837) and runs (72). He has also been a regular presence in a line-up that has missed a number of top performers during the season thanks to injury, appearing in 142 games, tops on the team.

A'S 5, MARINERS 3: Rookie Aaron Cunningham tied the game in the seventh with a two-run pinch double, and Jack Cust gave Oakland the victory with a two-run homer the following inning, his 30th home run of the season. Oakland completed a sweep of the Mariners and completed their home schedule 43-38. It was their first series sweep in 26 sets.

News and Notes

--2B Mark Ellis was placed on the 60-day disabled list Sunday after having season-ending shoulder surgery Friday. Ellis will lead all major league second basemen in fielding percentage this year; his .993 mark is two points better than Dustin Pedroia's. Ellis, who is a free agent this winter, is expected to be ready in time for spring training.

--INF Donnie Murphy was recalled in order to give the A's an extra backup with 3B Jack Hannahan out with a strained ribcage muscle. Murphy hit .188 with three homers and 13 RBIs earlier in the season with Oakland. He hit .270 for Triple-A Sacramento and starred for the team during the post-season.

--INF Daric Barton played third base Saturday for the first time in the majors when Jack Hannahan had to leave the game in the seventh with a ribcage strain. Barton made two key plays in the game, tagging out a runner at third and starting a double play after fielding a grounder at third. Barton, a rookie, was back at first on Sunday. He had played third in high school and about 30 games there for Triple-A Sacramento last season, but it admittedly wasn't a comfortable position for the Southern California native.

--3B Jack Hannahan strained a ribcage muscle while catching a foul ball in the A's bullpen Saturday, and he will miss three to four games -- or perhaps the rest of the season, according to Oakland manager Bob Geren. Hannahan has played superbly on the defensive side while filling in for Eric Chavez. Donnie Murphy was recalled Sunday to provide infield depth with Hannahan out.

--RHP Joey Devine earned his first major league save Sunday, as manager Bob Geren elected to use RHP Brad Ziegler, who had been closing, in the eighth. Geren said he liked the matchups better with Ziegler in the eighth, but Devine's numbers since coming off the disabled list Aug. 2 probably had something to do with it: He hasn't given up an earned run in 22 appearances. Devine is considered the A's closer of the future in many corners.

BY THE NUMBERS: 3.98 -- The A's average number of runs per game this season, through Sept. 19, the first time the team has scored less than four runs per game since 1979.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't want to miss any time next season. I think I'm too (darn) good to be sitting on the sidelines." -- RHP Justin Duchscherer, discussing his concerns that his hip injury will linger into next year if the cause of his discomfort isn't found.

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