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Brett Anderson perfect through six innings

A’s rookie Brett Anderson has yet to allow a base runner through six innings against the Angels. He got a big assist from third baseman Adam Kennedy in the fifth. Kennedy made a fine backhanded stop of Mike Napoli’s hard grounder and threw him out. On the next batter, he gave ground and fielded Gary Matthews Jr.’s bouncer on the short hop and got the out.

0-0 tie in the bottom of the sixth …

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Sunday lineups and pregame notes …

I’ll switch it up and give you lineups first, just for kicks …

A’s
Kennedy 3B
Cabrera SS
Hairston CF
Holliday LF
Cust DH
Suzuki C
Giambi 1B
Sweeney RF
Ellis 2B

Anderson LHP

Angels
Figgins 3B
Aybar SS
Abreu RF
Napoli DH
Matthews Jr. CF
Kendrick 2B
Wood 1B
Mathis C
Willits LF

Lackey RHP

–Boy, what does Rajai Davis have to do to get back in the lineup? After sparking Friday night’s victory on the bases, he hasn’t started the past two games, even with Scott Hairston sidelined Saturday with a wrist injury. I understand the Angels have started right-handers yesterday and today, and Davis doesn’t hit righties nearly as good as lefties. But after a game like he had Friday, don’t you have to find a way to work him back into the mix?

–Hairston said his wrist is feeling a lot better, so he’s back in center field after getting hit by a Justin Speier pitch Friday night.

–Bob Geren mentioned the need for a strong start from Brett Anderson today. The A’s have gotten a combined 12 2/3 innings from their starting pitchers in three games since the All-Star break, which is killing the bullpen. … No restrictions on Anderson today, as Geren said his back is 100 percent …

That’s all for now …

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Old-school taste from a youngster

The A’s just took the field, and it reminds me that I have to ask Trevor Cahill about his walkout song to start the game: “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane. It’s not exactly an up-tempo tune that gets the adrenaline pumping. And how many guys his age would even know who Jefferson Airplane is? But like I’ve blogged before, I’ve spotted Cahill wearing an Iron Maiden shirt, so he appreciates the old stuff …

We’ll see how he responds tonight after three straight defeats …

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Friday pregame update

So when’s the last time we saw eight right-handed hitters in an A’s lineup? That’s what we have today with the Angels throwing left-hander Joe Saunders. No Jason Giambi, no Jack Cust and no Ryan Sweeney starting tonight. Nomar Garciaparra is at DH, not first base like Bob Geren had been saying. Bobby Crosby gets the start there. “I like (Crosby’s) defense out there, and I like both of their bats in the lineup,” Geren said.

It’s another pretty warm day at the Coliseum. So we’ll see how the ball flies. For as warm as it was last night, I thought the ball might carry a little better than it did …

The rest of the lineups:

A’s
Kennedy 3B
Cabrera SS
Hairston CF
Holliday LF
Garciaparra DH
Suzuki C
Davis RF
Ellis 2B
Crosby 1B

Cahill RHP

Angels
Figgins 3B
Izturis 2B
Abreu RF
Rivera LF
Morales 1B
Napoli DH
Matthews Jr. CF
Mathis C
Aybar SS

Saunders LHP

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Back from break — A’s pregame update

Well, I’d call the A’s chances of erasing a 12-game deficit in the AL West remote at best. But if they’re going to make any sort of move, it probably has to start with this four-game series against the Angels. … I was just watching batting practice, and it continues to amaze me what a stud Matt Holliday is in BP for a guy who’s showing zero power in games. Kind of like a guy who hits 50 free throws in a row during shootaround, then shoots 60 percent from the line during games. But the way the ball jumps off Holliday’s bat (even if it’s just BP) is different from other hitters …

Checked in w/Brett Anderson before the game, and his back is doing much better. He threw a bullpen session today and said his velocity is back. He’s on schedule to start Sunday. …

Anybody out there remember a pitcher by the name of Justin Duchscherer? He’s still working his way back. Bob Geren watched a video of his throwing session today in Phoenix, and he’s coming along well. Remember, it’s a back problem that’s set him back most recently. All indications are his recovery from elbow surgery in March is on track. He’s scheduled to throw a simulated game Tuesday, and pitch in his first minor league game July 26 (2 innings, probably in AZ). The A’s have a plan mapped out that would have him go 100 pitches in a minor league game by Aug. 8. And you would think if he can do that, he’d be activated sometime around then. To start or not to start? That is the question. But he’ll surely be stretched out enough to be a starter …

Geren reiterated what he said last week: He plans to play Nomar Garciaparra at first base once a series, giving Jason Giambi a little time off. Giambi is hitting seventh again today, BTW … As for the rest of the lineups:

A’s
Kennedy 3B
Cabrera SS
Hairston CF
Holliday LF
Cust DH
Suzuki C
Giambi 1B
Sweeney RF
Ellis 2B

Braden LHP

Angels
Figgins 3B
Aybar SS
Abreu RF
Rivera DH
Napoli C
Morales 1B
Kendrick 2B
Matthews Jr. CF
Quinlan LF

Santana RHP

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Anderson had back stiffness, not considered serious

Just a quick Brett Anderson update, since a lot of people are probably curious. He’s been battling lower back stiffness for the past couple of days. It was bothering him before the game, and he was being monitored closely during the game. A’s manager Bob Geren said Anderson’s velocity was a bit down, so he decided to pull him — partly because his stuff wasn’t up to par, and partly to avoid further injury. “I don’t anticipate him missing any time,” Geren said.

Anderson had bolted by the time reporters got into the clubhouse after the game. He was trying to catch an early flight, I was told, so unfortunately we didn’t get his take on things. The A’s already had put him fourth in their rotation coming out of the break, so his next start won’t be until next Sunday against the Angels. …

Oh yeah, the A’s won 7-3 for anyone who didn’t know …

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Anderson exits early, no explanation yet

A’s rookie Brett Anderson was cruising through four shutout innings when he was replaced by Brad Ziegler to start the bottom of the fifth against Tampa Bay. First thought was that maybe a blister had re-formed on his left hand, which was a problem earlier this season. But word from the A’s PR staff is he didn’t leave for any injury-related reason. We should know more after the game …

0-0 tie in the bottom of the sixth …

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A’s pregame update — Sunday

A few pregame tidbits as the A’s finish what must feel like a very loooong first half …

–After his big homer last night, Rajai Davis gets a start in right field. Extended punishment for Ryan Sweeney for not running out a pop-up? Bob Geren wouldn’t say that. He said he wanted to get as many right-handed bats as possible in the lineup against Tampa Bay right-hander James Shields. Righties actually fare better against Shields and his nasty change-up than lefties (rh’s hitting .280 compared to .262 for lh’s). Nomar Garciaparra gets a start at first base, with switch-hitting Landon Powell catching. Kurt Suzuki is the DH. Jack Cust, who struck out four times last night, sits as he’s 2-for-15 against Shields.

–Geren had planned to play Garciaparra at first today over Giambi all along, but Geren said Giambi should be available to pinch-hit with his bruised right elbow.

–With the A’s coming out of the All-Star break with 28 straight games, Geren said Powell will have to spell Suzuki more often, and he wanted to squeeze in a start for him before the break so he wasn’t too rusty when the A’s return to the field.

–Someone who deserved mention from last night’s game — reliever Michael Wuertz. He struck out the side in his one inning of work and has 20 strikeouts in his past 10 2/3 innings (8 games). His 50 strikeouts are tied for second among AL relievers. The league leader, of course, is his All-Star teammate, Andrew Bailey (59).

–Geren listed his rotation coming out of the break. Dallas Braden will start the opener of a four-game home series against the Angels on Thursday. He’ll be followed by Trevor Cahill, Vin Mazzaro, Brett Anderson and Gio Gonzalez. Geren said he wanted to try to maximize the rest for his young starters. Braden is going on regular four days’ rest, but Geren said that’s OK because the lefty just had a 10-day layoff.

The lineups:

A’s
Kennedy 3B
Cabrera SS
Hairston CF
Holliday LF
Garciaparra 1B
Suzuki DH
Powell C
Davis RF
Ellis 2B

Anderson LHP

Rays
Upton CF
Aybar 2B
Longoria 3B
Pena 1B
Zobrist RF
Burrell DH
Bartlett SS
Kapler LF
Hernandez C

Shields RHP

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Hannahan traded to Seattle for minor league pitcher

I’ll make this brief, but the A’s dealt third baseman Jack Hannahan to Seattle today for minor league right-hander Justin Souza. Souza, 23, was 6-6 with a 3.35 ERA in 20 games (14 starts) with Double-A West Tennessee. Bob Geren pointed out Souza’s good K/BB ratio (62 strikeouts, 18 walks in 78 innings) and said he’s likely to report to Double-A Midland for the A’s. I don’t have much more on him at the moment … Hannahan, acquired by the A’s in August 2007 from Detroit, provided a tremendous glove at third while filling in for Eric Chavez. But he didn’t develop into the impact hitter that teams look for at the corner infield spots. He’ll be reunited in Seattle with Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu, who was on Geren’s staff last season.

Tonight’s lineups:

A’s
Kennedy 3B
Cabrera SS
Hairston CF
Holliday LF
Cust DH
Suzuki C
Giambi 1B
Sweeney RF
Ellis 2B

Braden LHP

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

Garza RHP

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Giambi dropped to seventh; Braden starting Saturday

The Rays may be the defending AL champs and playing good baseball right now, but they’re still not a huge draw here in St. Petersburg. Word is they’ve been drawing poorly on Friday nights, which is why they’re starting Friday games at 7:40 local time, about a half-hour later than the norm. Hmmm … if I was on the fence about going to a Friday night game, I’m not sure a later start would swing me toward grabbing tickets. They also do Saturday night postgame concerts on occasion. Tomorrow night I’ll be serenaded by Smashmouth while I’m working away on my stories after the game. Not so sure that’s going to pack ‘em in either …

–Jason Giambi was dropped to seventh in tonight’s A’s batting order, the lowest he’s hit all season. This probably had to happen at some point, but if Giambi starts hitting again, I don’t think he’d stay down there long. Jack Cust is hitting fifth tonight after hitting mainly sixth or seventh lately. “Cust has been swinging the bat a little better the last couple of months,” Bob Geren said. Kurt Suzuki, who has been swinging it pretty well, was dropped from fifth to sixth. That breaks up what would have been a string of four straight right-handed hitters. Geren really doesn’t have anything to lose by shaking things around, with the way this offense has been …

–Dallas Braden is expected back with the team in time to start tomorrow night’s game. Apparently, Braden threw a side session while he was in Stockton visiting his grandmother, who’s recovering from a stroke. Geren said there won’t be any limits on Braden as far as pitch count. This means Brett Anderson takes the ball Sunday, with Gio Gonzalez pitching out of the bullpen this weekend. Anderson will be on five days’ rest, so we’ll see if he keeps dealing like has in his past two starts w/extra rest.

–Reliever Joey Devine made the trip from his home in Atlanta to spend the weekend with his teammates. He said all has gone well as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, and he’s optimistic about being ready for spring training. The guy is one of the most pleasant, optimistic people you’ll meet, and major elbow surgery has done nothing to change that …

Tonight’s lineups

A’s
Kennedy 3B
Cabrera SS
Hairston CF
Holliday LF
Cust DH
Suzuki C
Giambi 1B
Sweeney RF
Ellis 2B

Mazzaro RHP

Rays
Upton CF
Crawford LF
Longoria 3B
Pena 1B
Zobrist 2B
Burrell DH
Gross RF
Bartlett SS
Navarro C

Niemann RHP