Justin Duchscherer isn’t the only key man on the A’s pitching staff who’s nursing a sore elbow. Joey Devine, expected to share closer duties w/Brad Ziegler to start the season, has some tendinitis that started bothering him after he last pitched Wednesday. Both he and manager Bob Geren downplayed it this morning, but Devine didn’t know when he would start throwing again. “I just felt it tightening up a little bit,” he said. “Instead of it getting worse, let’s catch it early.” But it has to cause the A’s some concern, however, considering Devine spent time on the DL last season w/an elbow injury.
–Sean Gallagher, today’s scheduled starter against the Padres, was scratched because he’s sick. Gio Gonzalez was bumped up from Sunday’s start to take his place.
–Bobby Crosby’s introduction to the right side of the infield began this morning, as he fielded grounders at second base and took some throws at first base. With the arrival of Orlando Cabrera, Crosby’s preference is still to be dealt somewhere where he can play shortstop, but as long as he’s with the A’s he’ll have to be a jack-of-all-trades type guy.
–Geren estimated first baseman Daric Barton is about a week away from playing as he battles a sore right quadriceps.
***A couple of items I didn’t touch on in today’s paper regarding the arrival of Cabrera and Nomar Garciaparra:
–Geren wouldn’t predict where he’d hit Cabrera, saying only that he’d bat somewhere near the top of the lineup. Cabrera hit primarily first or second w/the White Sox last season. His career numbers are best at No. 2, but I think the A’s have to seriously consider him for the leadoff spot. They never found a consistent presence there last season, and Cabrera has all the attributes for the role — a guy who can get on base, steal a bag and set the table for the middle of the order.
–Garciaparra is wearing No. 1 right now, significant because no A’s player or coach has worn that number in a regular season game since former manager Billy Martin in 1982. In fact, no Athletic has worn No. 1 in spring training since outfielder Ron Gant did early this decade, and that was because he was a late arrival to camp like Garciaparra. Longtime A’s equipment manager Steve Vucinich said he didn’t have many single-digit numbers to offer Garciaparra. But he added: “Nomar would be a Billy kind of guy. I think (he’s) a hard-nosed player, a ‘team’ before ‘I’ guy.” In any case, Vucinich said Garciaparra would likely switch numbers before the regular season, as cuts are made and more numbers become available.
Cabrera is wearing No. 18 by the way. Catcher Rob Bowen gave him the number and is now No. 20 …