Pregame happenings from A’s home opener

We’re a little more than an hour away from first pitch here at Oakland Coliseum between the A’s and Mariners. Seattle’s clubhouse now provides a mini-A’s reunion of sorts. There’s manager Don Wakamatsu, of course, a Hayward native who was A’s bench coach last season (you can read a little about him in tomorrow’s A’s notebook). Ty Van Burkleo, last year’s A’s hitting coach, is now Wakamatsu’s bench coach.

And don’t forget about Mike Sweeney, one of the most upbeat players in the game who’s now spreading his cheer to the Mariners. After he was released by the A’s last September, he faced the possibility of retirement because of two bad knees. But Sweeney said he avoided micro-fracture surgery on both knees thanks to a series of shots in each knee. He was injected with Synvisc, a gel-like medication often used in knee injuries. The shots last about 8 months. “Basically it’s like WD-40 for your knee,” he said. He’s starting at DH tonight for Seattle.

The 2008 season was Sweeney’s only one w/the A’s, and injuries to his knees ate into his playing time greatly. He was a non-roster invitee to Mariners camp this spring, and played his way into a job, just as he did last year w/the A’s.

“I was very thankful for my time in Oakland,” Sweeney said. “Despite the injuries, I feel I had an impact on the team. I miss a lot of those guys. When I got released, I thought maybe that was it. To be playing again is a blessing.”

–One of the Mariners players tried on an Oakland Police Department hat before they took batting practice. It’s my understanding that players on both teams will wear the hats for pregame introductions as part of the ceremony honoring the four recently slain Oakland police officers. It should be pretty moving …

The A’s lineup:

Sweeney CF; Cabrera SS; Giambi DH; Holliday LF; Chavez 3B; Garciaparra 1B; Cust RF; Suzuki C; Ellis 2B; Anderson P

The Mariners lineup:

Endy Chavez LF; Franklin Gutierrez CF; Mike Sweeney DH; Adrian Beltre 3B; Ken Griffey RF; Jose Lopez 2B; Russell Branyan 1B; Kenji Johjima C; Yuniesky Betancourt SS; Ryan Rowland-Smith P

Joe Stiglich