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Update from A’s Cactus League finale

The A’s and Cubs are underway here at Phoenix Muni in the last Cactus League game of the spring. Dallas Braden, the expected Opening Day starter, struggled big-time through the third inning. He hit Reed Johnson with the bases loaded and an 0-2 count, and then served up a grand slam to Geovany Soto. Not a great way to wind up camp for the lefty …

Here’s a rundown on the morning’s interesting tidbits:

Looking back on the A’s longest spring camp ever (from a games played standpoint), Bob Geren said he was pleased with what the team accomplished, particularly weaving third baseman Eric Chavez and second baseman Mark Ellis back into the mix from injury, and getting shortstop Orlando Cabrera ready for Opening Day after he signed late. Obviously, losing pitchers Justin Duchscherer and Joey Devine to injury was a huge setback. But Geren, true to his glass-is-half-full nature, saw lots of positives. “The questionable-type guys — would they be ready or not? — it seems to be positive,” Geren said. “It was a long spring, and we needed every day of it.”

–We’re getting another glance at the A’s possible Opening Day lineup today: Sweeney CF; Cabrera SS; Giambi 1B; Holliday LF; Chavez 3B; Cust DH; Suzuki C; Buck RF; Ellis 2B.

Geren reiterated he likes Sweeney as his leadoff man, but could also work Travis Buck, Rajai Davis and/or Orlando Cabrera in there.

–Given Sean Gallagher’s iffy status for the rotation, I quizzed Geren on whether he sees Gallagher as a long reliever possibility. “Sean is stretched out and competing for a spot as a starter,” he said. “If not, he’d be a good candidate for a reliever.”

So whoever doesn’t get a rotation spot between Gallagher and Josh Outman is a long-man candidate along with Gio Gonzalez. Gonzalez, by the way, was scheduled to pitch today in relief but instead will work tomorrow’s game against the Giants. He’ll get 1-2 innings.

–Bobby Crosby’s hamstring is still bothering him. He was scratched yesterday from starting and Geren said he’d try not to use him today.

–The A’s are holding out hope backup catcher Landon Powell will be healthy enough to avoid the DL. Geren said Powell, who has a strained rib muscle, might play Friday against the Giants. …

That’s all for now …

Joe Stiglich