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The Rosters

The Travis Buck era is here.

Well, for now anyway. The A’s announced before their exhibition finale vs. the Giants that their best prospect not only has made the Opening Day roster but that he’ll be playing regularly, too.

That’s the great thing about the A’s, and it was true even in the days when I covered them. They rarely do things you think makes logical sense. So, not surprisingly, my best guess for how the final cuts would look were wrong. I’m sure you’re shocked to hear that.

Anyway, Buck stays, as does the just-signed Todd Walker, left-handed pitcher Lenny DiNardo and Rule 5 lefty specialist Jay Marshall (that one wasn’t a surprise). Gone are lefty pitcher Brad Halsey (optioned to Triple-A Sacramento) and utility infielder Antonio Perez (designated for assignment). As expected, starter Esteban Loaiza goes on the 15-day disabled list, and Chad Gaudin will step into the rotation. (I got that one right).

As for the Giants, they didn’t release Mark Sweeney as anticipated (but that might be coming eventually). Instead they put him on the disabled list with a foot injury he supposedly incurred fouling a ball off it on Wednesday. Funny, I didn’t see said injury reported by anyone. And unlike I erroneously posted in my earlier blog (my math skills led me into this business), that didn’t mean both Jason Ellison and Todd Linden have earned spots. At 12:28 p.m., the Giants announced that Linden earned the final spot and that Ellison was traded to the Seattle Mariners for left-handed pitcher Travis Black.

Anyway, the big news is Buck. According to manager Bob Geren and general manager Billy Beane, he’ll be treated as the everyday right fielder. Buck earned the spot with a great spring, and injuries to first baseman Dan Johnson and outfielder Mark Kotsay opened up a spot for him.

The ascension of Buck also means Nick Swisher goes back to first base. That’ll be interesting to watch, because Swisher hasn’t played the position much during the spring. I asked him during batting practice if going back there will be like riding a bike, and he said, “I hope so.” So keep an eye on that. Walker becomes a backup first baseman who can also fill in at second base and, in an emergency, at third base.

To see the A’s and Giants’ Opening Day rosters, proceed to the expanded entry section. and take these decisions with a grain of salt. As Beane said to reporters, there’s “more pagentry than actual substance” to the Opening Day roster.


A’S OPENING DAY ROSTER

PITCHERS
(ROTATION)
RHP Dan Haren
RHP Joe Blanton
RHP Rich Harden
RHP Chad Gaudin
LHP Joe Kennedy
(BULLPEN)
RHP Huston Street (closer)
RHP Justin Duchscherer (set-up)
LHP Alan Embree (set-up)
RHP Kiko Calero (set-up)
RHP Jay Witasick (middle/set-up)
LHP Jay Marshall (lefty specialist/mop-up)
LHP Lenny DiNardo (lefty long man)

CATCHERS
Jason Kendall
Adam Melhuse

INFIELDERS
1B Nick Swisher
2B Mark Ellis
SS Bobby Crosby
3B Eric Chavez
SS/2B/3B Marco Scutaro
1B/2B/3B Todd Walker
DH Mike Piazza

OUTFIELDERS
LF Shannon Stewart
CF Milton Bradley
RF Travis Buck
LF/RF Bobby Kielty

GIANTS OPENING DAY ROSTER
PITCHERS
(ROTATION)
LHP Barry Zito
RHP Matt Cain
RHP Matt Morris
LHP Noah Lowry
RHP Russ Ortiz
(BULLPEN)
RHP Armando Benitez (closer)
RHP Kevin Correia (set-up)
LHP Steve Kline (set-up)
RHP Vinny Chulk (set-up)
LHP Jack Taschner (middle)
LHP Jonathan Sanchez (middle)
RHP Brad Hennessey

CATCHERS
Bengie Molina
Eliezer Alfonzo

INFIELD
1B Rich Aurilia
2B Ray Durham
SS Omar Vizquel
3B Pedro Feliz
Uti Kevin Frandsen
1B Ryan Klesko
1B Lance Niekro
OUTFIELD
LF Barry Bonds
CF Dave Roberts
RF Randy Winn
LF/CF/RF Todd Linden

rhurd