Daric Barton close to playing

Daric Barton’s cranky right hip is doing better, and Bob Geren shared this morning that the first baseman could play as soon as Sunday against the Diamondbacks in Tucson. If not, Barton’s Cactus League debut could come Tuesday, following Monday’s offday. You’ll remember Barton was slowed early last spring by a hand injury, and you figure the more at-bats a young hitter like him gets in camp, the better. Considering his injury, I wouldn’t be surprised if the A’s let him skip the long bus ride to Tucson on Sunday and have him debut Tuesday.

–Justin Duchscherer told me he threw a 20-pitch bullpen session yesterday and his elbow felt fine, but he didn’t know when he might pitch in a game.  

–Geren wants to get second baseman Mark Ellis into a game soon as DH, but the A’s want Ellis’ surgically repaired right shoulder to be ready for any kind of game situation (including diving back to first base if necessary). A tentative schedule from the training staff has him not playing second in a game until March 25.

–In the spirit of trying to give you some non-injury stuff, you should see how crowded the A’s clubhouse here at Phoenix Muni Stadium is. It’s a pretty big, wide-open space, but the A’s invited 62 players to camp, a huge number. A few portable lockers had to be wheeled in, and they’re set up right in the middle of the room (for some of the younger prospects that are lowest on the totem pole, of course).

Dana Eveland on the hill today against Milwaukee, with Dallas Braden going tomorrow in Phoenix against the Cleveland Indians, Cactus League newcomers …

… Almost forgot to give you today’s lineup:

Davis  CF

Buck RF

Holliday LF

Giambi 1B

Cust DH

Suzuki C

Crosby SS

Dillon 3B

Pennington 2B

Joe Stiglich