OAKLAND -- A trade the A's were rumored to possibly make in July wound up coming to fruition late Monday night.
Oakland acquired shortstop Stephen Drew from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for minor league infielder Sean Jamieson, a move announced before the seventh inning of the A's 7-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins at the Oakland Coliseum.
The A's had been in the market for a shortstop since well before the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline, and Drew was among their targets, as was Hanley Ramirez (who eventually was dealt from the Marlins to the Dodgers) and Toronto's Yunel Escobar.
Drew, 29, is expected to join the A's on Tuesday, at which time the A's will make corresponding moves to fit him on the 25-man and 40-man rosters.
He was hitting just .193 with two homers and 12 RBIs in 40 games this season, but he did not join Arizona's lineup until June 27 because of a fractured right ankle that had sidelined him since July 21, 2011.
"At times, and certainly before his injury, he was a pretty good offensive player," A's assistant general manager David Forst said. "He's shown that occasionally since he's been back this year. Hopefully coming here gives him an added boost and gives us a boost as well."
"It'll be refreshing and a new start," Drew told The Associated Press. "It's a good feeling to go over there and still be competing (for the postseason)."
As the A's (65-56) make a run at their first postseason berth
It's assumed that Drew will take over the everyday shortstop job. Cliff Pennington, the A's primary starter since the start of 2010, is hitting .198 with three homers and 18 RBIs.
The trade's potential impact on Pennington made A's starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy hesitant to comment on the deal.
"Like anything with a new person coming in, there's something that has to happen to someone that you like, and that's never a fun thing," McCarthy said. "That's why you hope someone comes in and plays well right away to smooth that transition."
Said second baseman Jemile Weeks, who is hitting just .220: "The middle of the infield, in general, we've struggled offensively. Obviously, a change was going to come. Surprisingly, it came tonight."
Drew had his best season in 2008, when he hit .291 with 44 doubles, 21 homers and 67 RBIs. The Diamondbacks manager for the first three-plus seasons of his career happened to be current A's skipper Bob Melvin.
Melvin didn't want to comment on Drew until Tuesday, saying only: "He'll be a good fit here."
Drew is on the back end of a two-year contract and is owed approximately $1.94 million through the rest of this season. His contract includes a mutual option for 2013 at $10 million with a $1.35 million buyout.
The A's dropped the opener of their three-game series to Minnesota and had their four-game winning streak snapped. McCarthy was not sharp, lasting just 31/3 innings and allowing six runs on 10 hits.
He described his outing as "a mess."
"Nothing at any point felt right," McCarthy said. "It's been a long time since I had a day like this, where all you want is to rewind and get back and start over."
Anderson hasn't pitched in the majors since June 5, 2011. He underwent reconstructive elbow surgery July 14, 2011, so his return comes 13 months and one week after his surgery. That's a relatively quick return from such a procedure, as reconstructive (or "Tommy John") elbow surgery typically sidelines pitchers anywhere from 12 to 18 months.
But after a lengthy rehab and then six minor league starts, Anderson said he's eager for the big stage.
"It will be fun to pitch against another big league team in front of a big league crowd instead of 350 people in 100 percent humidity in New Orleans," Anderson quipped, referring to his last start for Triple-A Sacramento.
The question is whether Anderson can step into the A's rotation, in the heat of a pennant race, and recapture the form that had many ranking him as one of the American League's top young starters before his injury.
Straily was 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA in three starts, and he delivered 61/3 shutout innings against Kansas City in his last outing to notch his first big league victory.
Rather than utilize a six-man rotation -- which would give all of their starters an extra day of rest -- the A's decided to swap out Straily for the more experienced Anderson.
"That was really the decision, when (Anderson was) ready we were going to get him back, because he is so talented," Melvin said. "He's been a guy that other organizations have targeted (in trade interest). You look at him: Is he a No. 1? Is he a No. 2? He's that good."
The move also shows the A's have faith that rookie starters Tommy Milone and Jarrod Parker, who have experienced recent rough patches, will regain their early-season form. Parker threw eight shutout innings Sunday against Cleveland.
Anderson went 1-1 with a 4.62 ERA in six rehab starts -- one with Single-A Stockton and five with Sacramento. He allowed 31 hits in 251/3 innings, struck out 18 and walked five.
He said his elbow feels good. He also said he relishes the chance to join the A's as they're making a playoff push.
"These are meaningful innings, and I want to go out there and pitch well because we need to win ballgames," he said.
Outfielder Seth Smith (strained left hamstring) played a rehab game for Sacramento on Monday night -- he went 2 for 3 as designated hitter -- and Melvin indicated Smith could be activated as soon as Tuesday.
"There are many people to whom we owe a debt of gratitude for helping to make our time in Oakland full of incredible memories," the letter read. "We are just glad to finally have the chance to reach out to you and let you know we will never forget all that you did!"
W-L Pct. GB
Tampa Bay 68-54 .557 --
Baltimore 66-56 .541 --
A's 65-56 .537 1/2
Detroit 64-57 .529 11/2
L.A. Angels 62-60 .508 4
Note: Top two teams qualify.