Play Ball

The saying around baseball is that you don’t fall in love with a guy in the spring or during the last month of the season. Therefore, the A’s say they’re keeping their expectations for Daric Barton in check.

But the lineup that manager Bob Geren posted before their first Cactus League game against Milwaukee today gives you a hint as to what they really think. Barton is hitting third, and while it is just spring training, the opening games usually reveal a hint as to what the ideal lineup would look like.

For the record, here is the starting nine for the Cactus opener.

RF Travis Buck

2B Mark Ellis

1B Daric Barton

LF Emil Brown

DH Dan Johnson

SS Bobby Crosby

3B Jack Hannahan

CF Chris Denorfia

C Justin Knoedler

RHP Joe Blanton

Couple of thoughts. 1) Don’t worry about Brown hitting cleanup when the season starts; he’s there because Jack Cust got scratched with the flu. 2) Johnson gets the initial call (at DH) over Mike Sweeney.

Manager Bob Geren told the media it shouldn’t read anything into the latter move. The thought is that Johnson and Sweeney will get a boatload of AB’s during the exhbition season, and the fact that Cust originally was down to play left field is indication of that. The A’s, more than likely, will have to make a tough decision regarding one of those two, and the competition starts now.

More updates as the Cactus League opener progresses.