A day in Tucson

Ideal day for baseball here at Hi Corbett Field in Tucson, where the A’s lead the Rockies 5-1 in the bottom of the third inning.

With no DH today, Jack Cust started in right field with Ryan Sweeney in center and Matt Holliday in left. Trevor Cahill, not Sean Gallagher, started on the mound with Kurt Suzuki started behind the plate. Gallagher is supposed to pitch today. Sean Doolittle was at first, Eric Patterson at second, Jack Hannahan at third, and Cliff Pennington at short.

A’s manager Bob Geren said Eric Chavez is feeling a bit better today but is taking the day off from any activity. Geren wasn’t sure when Chavez would resume baseball-related activities. Joey Devine, like Justin Duchscherer on Monday, has started a throwing program of a couple dozen throws of 100-120 feet.

Michael Ynoa, the 17-year-old right hander who had his first workout at Papago Park in Phoenix on Monday, was at Phoenix Muni on Tuesday to meet some of the A’s major leaguers.

Obviously, Tuesday’s game represented the first time the A’s and Rockies have met this spring, giving Huston Street, Alan Embree and Greg Smith a chance to catch up with their former teammates. Like it was in Oakland with the roster seemingly always in flux over the course of the last two seasons, Street said the biggest problem for him so far was getting to know everyone’s names.   

“I feel like I’m surrounded by good people from top to bottom,” Street said. “So that’s what makes you feel welcome — the people. The baseball stuff, you adjust to that every single day every single year.”

More in tomorrow’s paper.


Ynoa arrives in Phoenix

Michael Ynoa, the 17-year-old right handed Dominican pitcher the A’s signed last summer for $4.25 million, was at the A’s Papago Park complex Monday morning. He threw 25 pitches, mainly fastballs with a few changeups, before a few onlookers as fellow A’s prospects warmed up beside him.

Ynoa, who requested to conduct his interview with reporters in English, admitted he was a bit tired after he arrived in Phoenix from the Dominican Sunday night. But catcher Anthony Recker, who was Double A Midland last year, was impressed with the teenager.

“He was working at maybe 75 percent today, and the ball was still jumping out of his hand,” said Recker, who estimated that Ynoa’s fastball was around the mid-80s. “Great movement. He’s got pretty good mechanics. … He’s defintely well ahead of most 17-year-olds.”

Ynoa said he thinks he could be in the big leagues in two years, although A’s Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman said earlier that the organization is certainly in no rush with Ynoa. But Recker wouldn’t necessarily put it past the kid. 

“That wouldn’t surprise me,” Recker said.

More in tomorrow’s paper.


Chavez sits, Crosby to play third today

Plenty of tidbits to share on a sunny-yet-breezy Monday morning at Phoenix Muni.

For today’s game against the Angels, A’s infielder Bobby Crosby will start at third base for the first time after Eric Chavez experienced some pain in his right shoulder during an at-bat yesterday against Cleveland. Chavez was supposed to play third for the first time this spring today but A’s manager Bob Geren said he’ll give the multiple Gold Glove winner an undetermined amount of time off to let the shoulder calm down.

As for Crosby, Geren had said Sunday that he would wait until coach Mike Gallego said Crosby was ready to play another position before he inserted him in a game. That time is now, I guess. But the A’s want Crosby to learn all four infield positions, especially second base, where the team is a little thin right now. Plus, Geren said, second base takes a bit longer to learn.

At the moment, Crosby is playing third during batting practice.

Of course, this may lead to speculation that the A’s are trying to show Crosby off at third so that the Yankees, who are without A-Rod for the next 6-9 weeks, may be interested in a trade. Geren wasn’t biting when asked about that, though.

The A’s also have 53 players in camp right now after 11 roster moves were announced Monday. P Jeff Gray was optioned to Sacramento. Pitchers Brett Hunter, Jared Lansford, Arnold Leon, Tyson Ross, catcher Josh Donaldson and infielders Tagg Bozied, Adrian Cardenas, Chris Carter, Yung-Chi Chen and Jemile Weeks, all non-roster invitees, were assigned to the organization’s minor league camp.

More on all of this later.

— Curtis Pashelka


A’s split squads fall to Giants, beat Indians

A quick recap of today’s action:

Brett Anderson looked pretty strong in 2 2/3 innings of an A’s 8-5 victory over the Cleveland Indians in Phoenix. Non-roster outfielder Matt Carson had his second straight big day at the plate, hitting a three-run homer. He’s 6-for-11 in nine games. Carson doesn’t have much chance of making the big league roster, but he’s caught Bob Geren’s eye. … Rajai Davis had an RBI triple and continues to look good. Michael Wuertz, expected to occupy a spot in the bullpen, got touched for two runs in 1 1/3 innings.

Over in Scottsdale, the A’s got stomped 10-1 by the Giants. The Giants broke it open in the eighth with four runs off Ryan Webb. Dana Eveland started and allowed one earned run in three innings. … Ryan Sweeney is off to a big start this spring. He’s hitting .545 and has gotten at least one hit in all eight games he’s played.

That’s all for now … I’m heading home for a little time off, so the A’s coverage and blogging will be left in the capable hands of Curtis Pashelka for the next week. Enjoy …


Duchscherer lightens the mood …

Your Sunday update from Phoenix Municipal Stadium, where the morning’s most entertaining moment came courtesy of Justin Duchscherer. Somehow, a pair of Edgar Gonzalez’s game pants ended up in Duchscherer’s locker. Just for kicks, he put them on and started walking around the clubhouse. Duchscherer is one of the skinnier players on the team, and you probably could have fit two of him inside the pants. …

–Joey Devine says he’s going to play catch Tuesday to see how his elbow is feeling. If it goes well, he wants to get in a game later in the week.

–Sean Gallagher is still feeling sick and was sent home. Manager Bob Geren said he could pitch Tuesday in Tucson against the Rockies. If not, he’ll probably pitch Thursday against the Diamondbacks after Wednesday’s offday.

–Eric Chavez is still targeting tomorrow for his first day playing third base in a game.

–Geren said he’ll soon get Bobby Crosby some playing time at different spots around the infield, but he’ll let Crosby and infield coach Mike Gallego decide when it’s time to try it. Crosby worked out briefly at third, second and first base yesterday.

–Four minor league pitchers were brought in today to make sure the A’s have enough arms for split-squad games against Cleveland in Phoenix and the Giants in Scottsdale: right-handers Jason Windsor, Jason Glushon and Steven Sharpe II, and lefty Brad Kilby. You’ll remember Windsor made four appearances with the A’s in 2006, starting three games. …

The lineup vs. the Giants

Buck RF
Cunningham LF
Sweeney CF
Ellis DH
Dillon 3B
Crosby SS
Carter 1B
Bowen C
Patterson 2B

Eveland on the mound …

The lineup vs. Cleveland

Davis CF
Cust RF
Holliday LF
Giambi 1B
Chavez DH
Suzuki C
Hannahan 3B
Pennington SS
Wimberly 2B

Brett Anderson on the mound …


A’s bring in Sisco on minor league deal

The A’s signed 6-foot-10 left-handed reliever Andrew Sisco to a minor league contract, his agent Terry Bross confirmed for me. He’ll report to minor league camp. Sisco is coming back from Tommy John surgery, and he could be ready to contribute shortly after Opening Day, Bross said. The A’s have been looking for lefty relief, and while Sisco may not provide immediate help , it’s a low-risk move …


Devine not throwing — sore elbow

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 …


Cabrera, Garciaparra comments

A few quick notes on the Orlando Cabrera/Nomar Garciaparra press conference. The two were joined by A’s assistant GM David Forst. Decked out in white A’s jerseys, both players stressed their belief that the A’s can win this year as the reason why they signed with Oakland.

I can’t tell you when either player will play their first game. Cabrera has been working out at a baseball academy in South Carolina and said he may need a week to 10 days. Garciaparra spent much of the offseason rehabbing his calves, an area of the body that gave him the most injury trouble last season. Forst said neither player will be rushed into the lineup.

“We’ve got veteran guys here that have been around, and young guys coming up,” Garciaparra said. “I’ve always believed when you have guys that are quality individuals that like to share their knowledge and help those young guys to become what we’ve been so fortunate enough to accomplish in our careers, it makes for a good combination.”

Cabrera was asked about the awkward dynamic of replacing Bobby Crosby at shortstop and Crosby still being on the team: “I think he’s a great shortstop, a great player. I just came here to do my job. I don’t worry about stuff like that. I can’t. I’m not a GM, I’m not trying to be a GM. I’m trying to be a baseball player, that’s all I can worry about. Bobby is always gonna be my friend regardless of what happens.”

Interesting to note: Garciaparra, for the time being, was given No. 1, which hasn’t been worn by an A’s player or coach in the regular season since Billy Martin in 1982. But an A’s official said he’s likely to change numbers anyway before the start of the regular season. …


Cabrera on field with A’s; Nomar may arrive today

As I write this, Orlando Cabrera is on the field working out w/the A’s, yet the team still has not publicly acknowledged his signing. Strange indeed. But we do know there’s supposed to be a press conference at about noon to announce the signing of him and Nomar Garciaparra, the two newest members of the infield. My understanding is Garciaparra might be in attendance at the press conference, he might not. The only thing I can think is that the A’s just wanted to address both players at the same time rather than do two separate sessions. Still weird … Cabrera is wearing No. 18 by the way. He’s not in today’s lineup.

–Reporters waited for more than an hour for manager Bob Geren to do his mornining media chat, but he never emerged from the clubhouse. Normally he does it right when the team stretches at 9:15. A good chunk of whatever meeting was going on presumably involved Bobby Crosby, because he didn’t join his teammates on the field until about 10:10. I’d think Crosby had to have been talking to Geren and GM Billy Beane regarding his status, whether the team might try to find a trade for him, etc. Crosby is starting at shortstop today …

–Justin Duchscherer is back with the team after visiting Dr. Lewis Yocum. Duchscherer said no major damage was found w/his elbow, but “there is wear and tear” from years of pitching. He’s going to try throwing again Monday (just catch, not on the mound). He was relieved that it doesn’t appear to be a long-term injury, and seemed a little more at ease than a couple of days ago. But he’s not predicting when he might get on the mound. “I don’t want to put any expectations,” he said. “I just want to listen to my body.” Chances would seem to be pretty slim that he could start the season opener.

–Today’s lineup vs. the Seattle Mariners, who I’m told won’t bring Ken Griffey Jr. w/them to Phoenix …

Davis CF
Suzuki C
Holliday LF
Giambi 1B
Chavez DH
Crosby SS
Cunningham RF
Dillon 3B
Wimberly 2B

Edgar Gonzalez on the mound …