Devine getting closer to return

The A’s got some encouraging news today when co-closer Joey Devine threw a 20-pitch bullpen session without pain in his right elbow. Devine, as relayed by an A’s official, said the tentative plan was for him to throw off the mound again Saturday and possibly pitch in a game early next week. He’s been sidelined for two weeks. The A’s have talked all spring about the luxury of having an extra-long camp, so they don’t have to rush injured players into action. But I’d think it has to be a little unsettling not having either of your closer candidates pitching w/the team for an extended period. Brad Ziegler is with Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, and though he’s getting regular work, wouldn’t you feel better watching his progress in person? It will be interesting to see how the A’s use Devine and Ziegler in exhibitions once they’re both available to the team. …

–Bobby Crosby was taking grounders at first base during BP and then shifted over to second base briefly. He’s in the lineup today against Texas at third base. At some point, the A’s are going to have to get him some time at second in exhibitions if he’s going to start the season as the backup middle infielder. … Orlando Cabrera was a late scratch for today’s game because of a “non-baseball related condition,” which typically is code for illness. Cliff Pennington was inserted at shortstop. Matt Holliday, however, is back in the lineup after being sick.

Today’s starting nine:

Buck RF
Ellis DH
Sweeney CF
Holliday LF
Suzuki C
Barton 1B
Crosby 3B
Petit 2B
Pennington SS

Edgar Gonzalez on the mound …

–Justin Duchscherer threw long toss again Wednesday and was scheduled to throw again today. Eric Chavez is doing well in his throwing program, manager Bob Geren said, but no word yet on when he might hit. Chavez said yesterday he wants to start playing in games in about a week.

That’s all for now. Gotta make the long drive to Surprise, the longest commute we have to get to another Cactus League ballpark other than going to Tucson …

Joe Stiglich