The A’s dropped their seventh straight Cactus League game tonight, 8-3 to the Royals, though that’s hardly their primary concern at the moment. Earlier today, GM Billy Beane pretty much called Oakland’s starting rotation an open competition outside of Dallas Braden, who is on track to start Opening Day. You can read all about Beane’s take on the pitching staff (and Bob Geren’s contract extension) in tomorrow’s paper. Basically, Beane said even guys like Dana Eveland and Sean Gallagher don’t have spots sewn up and that four rotation spots are up for grabs. If you ask me, I think he’s just trying to light a fire under Eveland and Gallagher so they don’t get too comfortable. I don’t see how this rotation can function w/out them, particularly if Justin Duchscherer isn’t ready to go to start the season.
Gallagher certainly helped his cause with 4 2/3 shutout innings against K.C. That came after starter Josh Outman imploded, giving up eight runs in 3 1/3 innings. I still think Outman might land in the bullpen, and with the current state of things, he may not be out of the rotation running!
A couple items you won’t find in tomorrow’s stories:
–It’s been speculated that Duchscherer could pitch out of the bullpen temporarily as he gets his pitch count up following his elbow injury (You should see the look of disgust on Duchscherer’s face when a reporter asks him about it. He’s willing to pitch in relief temporarily, but he really dislikes relieving. More than anything, he’s sick of talking about it.) Anyway, Beane didn’t shut the door on that idea completely, but he’d rather have Duchscherer pitch in the rotation when he’s healthy.
“Right now we’re pushing to put him in the rotation even if it’s in an abbreviated sitauton, and we’ll build up from there,” Beane said. “If it means he can only go four innings, we’ll take those four innings.”
–Bobby Crosby didn’t get much action in his debut at second base Tuesday night. Two routine grounders, one pop-up. And he took a throw from Kurt Suzuki to nail a would-be base stealer. “He did a nice job,” Geren said. “He just needs to get acclimated on little things, where to go on bunt plays …”
A’s are in Glendale tomorrow against the White Sox. Seven more games left in Arizona …