JH the DH

Lineups for today’s series opener — A’s: Hannahan DH; Crosby SS; Cust LF; Chavez 3B; Ellis 2B; Barton 1B; Buck RF; Gonzalez CF; Suzuki C. Yankees: Damon LF; Jeter SS; Abreu RF; A-Rod 3B; Giambi DH; Posada C; Betemit 1B; Cano 2B; Cabrera CF.

No big shockers from the A’s side. Crosby is starting despite the sore ankle, although Bob Geren said he was curious to see how Crosby and Huston Street (sore groin) were feeling after batting practice. It’s not out of the question one or both could be unavailable.

Hannahan gets another start at DH. Right now he looks like their best bet atop the order. Emil Brown continues to be the odd man out of the playing rotation in the OF/DH mix. Using Hannahan at DH is a convenient way to keep his bat in the lineup for now. Things get trickier for Geren once Frank Thomas returns to man the DH spot. Speaking of the Big Hurt, Geren said Thomas will visit a doctor in Los Angeles on Wednesday, but he’s progressing well. It’s possible he could be back in the lineup June 20, when the A’s get back from their swing through NL ballparks and the DH returns.







Bad news on the DH front

News broke before today’s A’s game that Mike Sweeney will have arthroscopic surgery Wednesday to repair cartilage in his left knee. It’s not a complete shock, but still an obvious blow to the A’s offense. Sweeney said his knee just hasn’t responded to treatment, and it didn’t feel right after he tried taking batting practice Saturday.

The plan is for Sweeney to rehab in San Diego for about two weeks with a therapist he worked with last season, when he had surgery on his right knee while still with Kansas City. Sweeney said he’s been told that the best-case scenario has him resuming baseball activity in three to four weeks. The standard time frame for return from this procedure is the 4-6 week range.

So what does this mean for the A’s? It means they’ll be watching Frank Thomas’ recovery even more closely. This  offense  has a tendency to fall silent for extended stretches, and being without two of their most productive bats for a prolonged period isn’t encouraging. Thomas will stay in Las Vegas treating his injured right quad for about another week, before returning to the A’s and starting to hit.

Considering Sweeney’s comments before the game, it’s no wonder he’s considered such a great clubhouse guy.

“It breaks my heart because I’m not going to be with my team,” he said. “It’s a team I’ve come to love since spring training. We’re so close to playing amazing baseball and getting close to the top of the standings.”




Division showdown?

To answer the above question, no, it’s not a showdown. The A’s three-game series with the Angels this weekend is important, but even a three-game sweep either way won’t be earth-shattering. Don’t get me wrong, the A’s don’t want to fall 6 1/2 games behind (and losing three to the Angels would put them there), but the sky won’t be falling if they do.

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