Rangers 5, A’s 4

Just got back from the clubhouse. After a night like this, when the A’s had four players leave the game due to injury, thought it was worth a quick update:

–Nomar Garciaparra and Mark Ellis are both likely headed for the disabled list with their calf injuries, according to Bob Geren. Geren and assistant GM Daivd Forst were preparing to discuss personnel decisions, but Geren indicated the A’s likely would bring up a pitcher and an infielder.

–Brett Anderson left with a blister on his left index finger, but Geren doesn’t believe it’s very serious. He’s optimistic Anderson can make his next start.

–Santiago Casilla, like Garciaparra, left the game with a right calf injury. Geren said the injury has bothered Casilla for the past couple of weeks. He said Casilla is day to day, so it doesn’t look like a DL situation for the time being. …

“I don’t know what’s going on tonight,” Ellis said. “We had been playing in cold weather. (Tonight it was) warm. It was humid. We were loose. Just very strange.”


The list grows …

Is there anybody in this game getting a tougher workout than A’s trainer Steve Sayles?

Sayles just hit the field again to check on A’s starting pitcher Brett Anderson, who was pulled in the bottom of the sixth with what looks like an injury to his left index finger. That’s three A’s starters who have left this game w/an injury, and we’re only in the sixth inning. … Too bad. Anderson was a bright spot in this game after the A’s watched Nomar Garciaparra and Mark Ellis leave earlier.

It’s 3-1 A’s, but the Rangers have the bases loaded and no outs against reliever Andrew Bailey …


And the injuries keep coming (updated)

It was calf injuries for both Garciaparra and Ellis. Not surprisingly, it was Garciaparra’s right calf that tightened up on him. That’s the one that’s been giving him problems this season, although he’s had trouble with both calves going back to last season. Ellis strained his left calf.

Hopefully after the game, I’ll have more info. for you …


It’s only the third inning, and the A’s have already watched two infielders pull up lame w/apparent leg injuries. If you’re watching on TV, you saw third baseman Nomar Garciaparra hurt himself while legging out a second-inning grounder. He threw his helmet in disgust as he reached the dugout and was replaced by Bobby Crosby when the A’s went out on defense. There’s been no announcement on the nature of his injury. Could be the same troublesome calf problem, could be something different.

Then in the top of this inning, second baseman Mark Ellis hit a grounder to shortstop and made it only halfway to first before he started limping. No word on his status either. So much for that infield depth, huh?. And remember, we don’t know the condition of Eric Chavez yet. He tested his right elbow before the game with hitting and fielding.

When the A’s came out for the bottom of the third, Crosby shifted over to second base and Jack Hannahan entered at third. …


Cahill’s start pushed back to Saturday

The dark clouds come and go over Rangers Ballpark. Right now the sun is out as the A’s take BP before tonight’s series opener w/Texas. Weather.com says there’s a 40 percent chance of rain tonight and tomorrow. The wind is blowing pretty good too, so we’ll see how that affects fly balls tonight.

On to today’s news …

Trevor Cahill was supposed to start tomorrow’s game, but he’s been pushed back to Saturday. Josh Outman will take the ball tomorrow, so they’ve basically flip-flopped rotation turns. This gives Cahill two bullpen sessions in between starts instead of one to work out the kinks from Friday’s outing, when Tampa Bay knocked him around pretty good. “I’m just trying to find a consistent arm slot,” Cahill said before heading out to stretch.

That was more insight than we got from Bob Geren when discussing Cahill. Geren said during his media chat that the switch was made partly because the A’s didn’t like Outman going so long between starts. But I’m thinking this has EVERYTHING to do w/Cahill’s last outing. You’ve gotta believe the A’s will have a quick hook w/Cahill in the rotation if he keeps struggling, especially if Sean Gallagher and/or Gio Gonzalez continue throwing well at Triple-A (Gio starts tonight, by the way). I could see one of them up soon.

Eric Chavez just finished taking grounders and making throws around the infield. How he comes out of that will determine when he might return to the lineup. Could be tomorrow. Could be … ?????? If Chavez winds up on the DL, I’d expect the A’s to call up a reliever. They’re going with a 6-man bullpen right now, one short of what Geren usually likes carrying …

Today’s A’s lineup:

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

For the Rangers: Kinsler 2B; Byrd CF; Young 3B; Jones LF; Blalock DH; Cruz RF; Davis 1B; Saltalamacchia C; Andrus SS; Millwood P.


Monday’s minor-league rundown

News from the farm:


One pleasant thing to report: Vin Mazzaro, the talented 21-year-old pitching prospect, has an 0.75 ERA in his past two starts. Something not-so-pleasant: Daric Barton, who is fast turning into Kelvin Moore and other memorable busts, is in a 3-for-27 (.111) slump.


Tommy Everidge, last year’s Texas League RBI champ, drove in two runs to give the Rockhounds a quick lead, shortstop Adrian Cardenas erased a deficit with a two-run double, and pitcher Arnold Leon struck out Mark Ori to end an uprising in the ninth in a 7-4 win against Corpus Christi.


The Ports (4-14) will take their first two-game winning streak of the season into a three-game series against Visalia. One interesting item: Shane Keough, son of Matt, is hitting .209 in 17 games.


The Cougars hit three more homers Monday, pushing their Midwest League-leading total to 16, as Petey Paramore (solo), Grant Desme (two-run) and David Thomas (two-run) all went deep in a 10-6 win over Beloit. Kane County rallied from 5-1 down to win their sixth straight home game and capture its fifth straight series to start the season, a team record.


Sunday pre-game update

It’s Little League day here at the Coliseum with hundreds of little tykes dressed up in their teams’ uniform. Had to dodge a couple of errant tennis balls as I drove into the parking lot as fathers threw a few pitches to their kids and played catch.

The news today revolves around Eric Chavez, who is out of today’s starting lineup with a right elbow strain. Chavez has mainly battled shoulder ailments since the start of spring training, so this is something new.  

Nomar Garciaparra starts at third for Chavez, who injured the elbow as he made a long throw from third to first midway through Friday’s game. Chavez was examined by a team doctor Saturday night.

Didn’t get a chance to talk to Chavez before the game, but manager Bob Geren said his third baseman is day to day. The A’s are off tomorrow as they travel to Arlington.

Dallas Braden said he felt fine today and didn’t have any after effects of the slight groin injury he suffered in the fifth inning of Saturday’s game when he broke towards third base to back up a cutoff throw. Braden was pulled in the sixth inning with the bases loaded and two outs. Geren later said it was a precautionary measure.

The lineups:

A’s — Sweeney CF, Cabrera SS, Giambi 1B, Holliday LF, Cust DH, Garciaparra 3B, Suzuki C, Buck RF, Ellis 2B.

Rays — Upton CF, Crawford LF, Longoria 3B, Burrell DH, Aybar 1B, Zobrist 2B, Navarro C, Kapler RF, Bartlett SS


A’s 5, Rays 2

Pretty complete effort today from the A’s, who snapped a five-game losing streak by beating Tampa Bay. A few postgame tidbits:

–Dallas Braden tweaked his groin in the fifth inning, though he and the A’s are both hopeful it’s minor. You might have noticed he lost his command a bit in the fifth and sixth innings before he was pulled. He’s looked very sharp since the season began, and the A’s have to hope he doesn’t miss any time. Remember, Braden was sidelined the final few weeks of 2008 with a groin injury too.

–I was a little surprised to see Bob Geren pull Russ Springer for Brad Ziegler with two runners on and two outs in the eighth. The A’s were up 5-1 at the time, and the situation didn’t seem urgent enough, in my opinion, to call on the closer. Springer has been pretty clutch this season. Ziegler gave up a run-scoring single that inning, but slammed the door in the ninth for his fourth save.

–You know that waggle in his bat that makes Travis Buck’s stance pretty unique? Buck is trying to tone it down some. He said he’s been studying film of his 2007 rookie season, and noticed that he had less movement in his hands before his swing, and that he hit better as a result. “It’s definitely helped out to work in the cage,” Buck said. “Once I focus on making (the movement) smaller, I see the ball a lot longer and see some good swings.”


Braden pulled after sharp outing

The A’s lead 4-1 in the bottom of the sixth, and it’s been a pretty complete effort so far. Travis Buck ripped a solo HR on his first swing (how sweet that must have felt, considering he’s been riding the bench). Nomar Garciaparra doubled in three runs in the fourth, and Dallas Braden had a fine outing going until he was pulled with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth.

Braden got a visit from Bob Geren and head trainer Steve Sayles in the fifth, and he didn’t seem quite as sharp from that point on. He was only at the 84-pitch mark when he got yanked, and I’m guessing something has to be bothering him. We’ll know more after the game.

Anyway, Andrew Bailey came in and struck out pinch hitter Gabe Gross to strand bases loaded to end the threat. …


Leftover thoughts and Saturday’s pregame update

I wasn’t covering last night’s A’s game, but one play stuck w/me while watching it on TV. It was a low liner (I believe Dioner Navarro hit it) with two outs in the third that center fielder Ryan Sweeney let fall in front of him for an RBI single. It was a ball I definitely thought Sweeney should have broke in on and tried to make the catch considering the situation. And it’s the sort of play people point to if they think Sweeney isn’t being aggressive enough in center field. I asked Sweeney about the play, and he said it was tough picking up balls off the bat last night. “We couldn’t see the ball very well. I was trying to judge where (Navarro’s liner was) at. They were hitting the ball pretty good. I at least should have tried to dive for it to end the inning.”

Manager Bob Geren agreed that it was a tough ball to judge off the bat.

Anyway, it was just one play in an 8-2 loss where lots went haywire, but with a team struggling like the A’s are, the subtle plays wind up doing damage.

–On to today’s pregame news, and there wasn’t much.

Nomar Garciaparra is in the lineup at third base, with Eric Chavez getting a day off as expected in a day game after a night game. You might have seen the grimace on Chavez’s face last night after he made a long throw across the diamond to first trying to get Jason Bartlett. Chavez said it wasn’t anything more serious than the occasional discomfort he still feels in his surgically repaired shoulder. “Every once in a while, I do something and it doesn’t feel very good.”

Kurt Suzuki gets a day off with Landon Powell behind the plate. And Travis Buck gets his first start in seven games with right-hander Matt Garza going for Tampa Bay.

A’s lineup: Sweeney CF; Cabrera SS; Giambi 1B; Holliday LF; Cust DH; Garciaparra 3B; Buck RF; Ellis 2B; Powell C; Braden P.

Rays lineup: Upton CF; Crawford LF; Longoria 3B; Pena 1B; Burrell DH; Kapler RF; Bartlett SS; Iwamura 2B; Hernandez C; Garza P.


A’s minor league recap: Kane County’s Figueroa dominant in win

Here’s a brief look at what happened down on the farm for the A’s affiliates:


As noted Friday, the RiverCats lost 5-1 to Portland (Padres) despite a strong start by Vin Mazzaro.

Sean Gallagher makes his first start for the RiverCats Saturday night against Las Vegas (Blue Jays).

MIDLAND (Double-A)

The Rockhounds got three hits from Tommy Everidge, two hits from Chris Carter (.328) and a homer from Danny Putnam in their 9-3 victory over San Antonio (Padres).

STOCKTON (High Single-A)

Catcher Raul Padron now has six RBI in just three games for the Ports, but that was about the only bright spot in Stockton’s 4-2 loss to Bakersfield (Rangers) on Friday.

KANE COUNTY (Low Single-A)

Lefty Pedro Figueroa was dominant in the Cougars’ 8-1 win over Burlington (Royals). The 23-year-old threw seven shutout innings, allowing five hits, no walks and striking out nine.

Kane County’s offense was boosted by home runs from Jason Christian, Grant Desme and catcher Juan Nunez.