More roster rumblings

The door continues to swing both ways in the A’s clubhouse, so here’s a quick update on today’s roster news: Dana Eveland was optioned to Triple-A following last night’s disaster and Dan Meyer was called up to take his place. … As I write this, we’re about an hour from first pitch and the A’s still don’t know who today’s starting pitcher will be. It’s Dallas Braden’s turn, but Braden has a nasty virus and hardly looked like someone ready to take the ball Sunday morning. Meyer, fresh off a red-eye flight that landed in Boston at 6:15 this morning, gets the start if Braden can’t go.

Eveland still looked shaken from the news before he left the clubhouse this morning. Understandable. After a couple of failed stints in the majors before, both he and the A’s seemed to think he figured out what it took to be a consistent big league pitcher. More than anything physical, Eveland said he hopes to get mentally tougher down in Sacramento. Expect the A’s to monitor his workload closely  considering the innings he’s piled up this season. … And the A’s are still trying to learn what they have in Meyer, the last of the three players still with the organization from the Tim Hudson trade. He was 10-5 with a 4.48 ERA for the River Cats and was among the PCL leaders in strikeouts. You figure he or Lenny DiNardo slips into Eveland’s rotation spot but Bob Geren said the A’s haven’t decided that yet. Never a dull moment around this team, and that’s saying something considering they’re 53-56!!!   



If the A’s take a lead into the ninth inning tonight, keep an eye on who Bob Geren calls for out of the ‘pen. Geren has taken the full-time closer’s role away from Huston Street for the time being, saying he wants to have some flexibility to go with the hot hand for the ninth inning. He mentioned Brad Ziegler and lefty Jerry Blevins as two of the guys he might use to close games other than Street, who he still considers an option in save situations. Street chatted about the situation before tonight’s game and, not surprisingly, isn’t thrilled.

As I’ve written here before, the A’s should use the rest of this season to take a long look at their young players to see who fits where looking ahead to ’09. This move certainly is a step in that direction. But if Street doesn’t re-assume the regular closer’s role by season’s end, where does that leave him in the team’s future plans? I have a feeling there are some strong opinions out there on this topic … 



More Bad Baseball

College roomate is in town from Europe this weekend. This time of year is super busy for me personally, because family and friends all take their summer vacations. Keep that in mind the next time you think being a baseball writer is the most glamorous job in the world. Baseball’s steadiness prevents any real vacation during the summer.

Anyway, that rant was just to point out that I didn’t the see the A’s play the Red Sox last night. But I “saw” all I needed to see when my cousin Amy, who lives in Connecticut, texted me with the message: 11 hits, 1 run? They do stink.”

Says it all don’t you think?

Incidentally, real quick. Don’t mistake my empathy for the difficulties Lew Wolff faces with the ballpark for a compassion about his ownership. It’s been one of the worst we’ve ever seen in the Bay Area. The Steve Schott Era didn’t start out wonderfully, either, though, so keep that in mind.


One special place …

So, the A’s may be an afterthought when it comes to the American League playoff picture, and the final two months of their season may seem anticlimatic. But I gotta tell you, walking into Fenway Park just brings a certain electricity to any series. Is that corny? Probably … But whether it’s the history of this place, or the fact that I only get to cover one or two series a year in Boston,  games at Fenway just seem more important. I get reminded by my friends all the time how lucky I am to have this job. Most of them would kill to cover major league baseball for a living. And to be honest, it’s easy to take it for granted. Writers get so wrapped up in the work side of it — finding stories, meeting deadlines — that most of the people in the press box are simply rooting for a game to end so we can get our stories finished. Then you come to Fenway and you’re able to put it all in perspective: It’s very cool to call a baseball stadium your office. …

Dialing down the cheesiness a bit, here’s some A’s news: Frank Thomas was activated, he’s DH tonight and batting cleanup. Daric Barton also was activated, and after some adventures getting to Boston (he didn’t arrive at the park until about one hour before first pitch) he’s starting at first and batting ninth. Andrew Brown was put on the DL with a right shoulder injury (helps explain his recent dip in velocity, huh?) and infielder Gregorio Petit was called up. Joey Devine also arrived but he has yet to be activated from the DL. They wouldn’t fly him here unless he was going to join the bullpen, so I assume someone else will be departing after this game to make room for him on the roster.

One last thing: Jason Bay is in Boston’s lineup (replacing Manny) and starting in left field. Although he grew up in British Columbia, his dad was a diehard Red Sox fan. And Bay says he grew up with posters of Jim Rice and Carl Yastremzki on his wall. Could it get any better for a guy?