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The end of the marathon

The A’s 28-games-in-28-days stretch ends today with a matinee at muggy Camden Yards. They are is 13-14, which, all things considered, isn’t that bad for a team that went into the All-Star break 12 games under .500. 

Some news on the Justin Duchscherer front, just not the “go out and buy your tickets now because he’s pitching against the White Sox this weekend” type of news. He’s throwing in Arizona tomorrow, 60 pitches. A’s manager Bob Geren said this is more of a crucial step for the two-time all-star, who is only throwing 60 because it would be three days rest since his start on Sunday for Sacramento. The team will have a better idea of what to do with Duchscherer on Friday.

Dallas Braden continues to progress slowly. But as to when he’ll throw a side session is anyone’s guess. Braden’s long toss just “went OK” on Tuesday, Geren said.  

Landon Powell starts at catcher, giving Kurt Suzuki two days off before Friday’s opener against the White Sox.

Daric Barton will also play in a game in Arizona on Thursday.

The lineups:

A’s — Kennedy 3B, Davis CF, Hairston DH, Cust RF, Everidge 1B, Sweeney LF, Ellis 2B, Powell C, Pennington SS, Mazzaro P.

Orioles — Roberts 2B, Pie LF, Markakis RF, Huff 1B, Jones C, Scott DH, Wieters C, Wigginton 3B, Izturis SS, Berken P.

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Duchscherer this weekend?

No player moves today. And the same lineup as yesterday, Friday and Saturday. What’s with all of this stability around the A’s these days?

Winning some ball games probably has something to do with it, as the A’s are a loose bunch these days.

And it’s sure sounding like Justin Duchscherer will be a part of that team very soon. A’s manager Bob Geren said the team right now is discussing what to do with Duchscherer and it’s possible something official will be announced after the game tonight or tomorrow. Geren the right-hander sounded positive when they spoke to each other last night.

Making the move all the more likely is that Dallas Braden won’t throw a side session until tomorrow at the earliest. He did some long toss today, though.

Lots of bright orange at Camden Yards today as it’s Brad Bergesen t-shirt night. Pleasanton’s own has had a nice season so far, but he won’t be back from the DL until next week.

The lineups:

A’s – Kennedy 3B, Davis CF, Hairston LF, Cust DH, Suzuki C, Everidge 1B, Sweeney RF, Ellis 2B, Pennington SS, Cahill P.

Orioles – Roberts 2B, Jones CF, Markakis RF, Huff 1B, Reimold LF, Scott DH, Mora 3B, Moeller C, Izturis SS, Hernandez P.

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Game will resume in 10 minutes

They’ve pulled the tarp off the field and they’ve just announced that the game will resume at 55 past the hour. No word yet on if Gio Gonzalez will still be pitching for the A’s. The Orioles will have runners on second and third with no outs, and Cesar Izturis at the plate.

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A’s delayed

 

BALTIMORE, Md. – Gio Gonzalez and the A’s might even have Mother Nature on their side.

Right after the Baltimore Orioles put runners on second and third base with no outs in the top of the seventh innings, a driving rainstorm followed by thunder and lightning hit Baltimore’s inner harbor. The delay began at 9:06 p.m. (EST) with the A’s leading 5-0.    

Up until the seventh, Gonzalez had been dominant as he struck out five and allowed seven hits in six shutout innings.

A’s second baseman Mark Ellis also continued his impressive play by going 3-for-3 with three RBI. Ellis drove in two runs in the top of the fifth with a single to left field to give his team their five-run lead. Since July 19, Ellis, before Monday, had raised his batting average from .205 to .251.

Every Oakland batter in the starting lineup had at least one hit.

Gonzalez, a native of Hialeah, Fla., must have felt right at home in Baltimore’s warm climes. Before the delay, he had expended just 85 pitches with 57 strikes. If the game is resumed and the A’s hold or, if the game is called, he’ll have improved to 4-0 since early July.

Gonzalez has been a different pitcher since his first four appearances for the A’s from May to late June, when he allowed a combined 14 earned runs in 17 1/3 innings. In following six outings, Gonzalez has allowed 18 earned runs in 28 1/3 innings. Eleven of those runs came in a 14-13 A’s win over Minnesota on July 20.

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Duchscherer back this week?

Another fairly slow news day as the A’s open a three-game series with the Orioles at Camden Yards. Game time temperature should be in the low 90s, still pretty darn toasty for my liking.

Dallas Braden played catch today and the next course of action will be determined by how he feels tomorrow. The best case scenario would be to see Braden throw a side tomorrow or Wednesday, and then throw another side or pitch an inning or two for Stockton or Sacramento.  

With Justin Duchscherer having another solid outing Sunday in Sacramento – throwing four scoreless innings with two hits allowed – A’s brass is tossing around the idea of bringing Duchscherer up this weekend for the series against the White Sox. Braden isn’t eligible to come off the DL until Aug. 16, and the A’s only have four healthy starters right now. The A’s homestand has six straight games before the next off day on the 20th.

The next step for Duchscherer is to throw around 80 pitches, which could easily last four or five innings. Since the bullpen has a day of rest Thursday (as of now), it could pick up the rest without much problem.

There was postive news from first baseman Daric Barton’s workout on Sunday. But there’s still some work to do before he’s ready to play in a game.

Nice to see former Orioles player and A’s manager Dick Williams, who threw out the first pitch for tonight’s game.

The lineups:

A’s – Kennedy 3B, Davis CF, Hairston LF, Cust DH, Suzuki C, Everidge 1B, Sweeney RF, Ellis 2B, Pennington SS, G. Gonzalez P.

O’s – Roberts 2B, Reimold LF, Jones CF, Markakis RF, Wigginton 1B, Scott DH, Mora 3B, Wieters C, Izturis SS, Guthrie P.

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Mortensen optioned, Marshall brought up

A relatively slow news day on the A’s front. But as expected, the team optioned pitcher Clayton Mortensen, who started Saturday, to Sacramento and brought up lefty reliever Jay Marshall. Marshall has only pitched in Sacramento this season as he compiled a 5-3 record with seven saves and a 3.20 ERA in 50 appearances. He’s struggled a bit as of late, but manager Bob Geren likes having another lefty out of the bullpen to go with Craig Breslow.

Kurt Suzuki starts today, but Geren said he’ll give the catcher a day off in the Baltimore series, likely Wednesday so he can have two consecutive days off.

Mark Ellis also gets the day off, only his second since he returned from the DL in late June. Adam Kennedy starts at second and Bobby Crosby is at third. Geren said he hasn’t looked at whether Nomar Garciaparra will start in Baltimore, but the chances may be lessened with the Orioles starting three righties.  

Dallas Braden is still scheduled to throw a side session Monday or Tuesday. From there, if things go well, he’ll throw an inning or two in Sacramento or Stockton, or maybe another side. Braden is eligible to come off the DL on Aug. 16, but his first start may come on the 17th against the Yankees, Geren said.

The lineups:

A’s – Kennedy 2B, Davis CF, Hairston LF, Cust DH, Suzuki C, Everidge 1B, Sweeney RF, Crosby 3B, Pennington SS, Anderson P.  

Royals – DeJesus LF, Bloomquist 2B, Butler DH, Teahen 1B, Callaspo 3B, Pena C, Maier CF, Betancourt SS, Anderson RF, Hochevar P.

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Springer picked up by Rays

You may have seen this already but reliever Russ Springer has been picked up off of waivers by the Tampa Bay Rays. The A’s had to make room on the roster for tonight’s starter, Clayton Mortensen.

Springer, 40, pitched in 48 games for the A’s and went 0-1 with a 4.10 ERA. He didn’t give up a run in 21 of his last 25 outings, but the A’s youth movement continues unabated.

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Mortensen starts Saturday

A’s manager Bob Geren announced after Friday’s game — a 9-4 A’s win — that the team will start right-hander Clayton Mortensen, who was acquired from St. Louis in the Matt Holliday deal two weeks ago, today rather than Brett Anderson. Anderson and Gio Gonzalez get pushed back to Sunday and Monday, respectively.

Mortensen was called up from Triple-A Sacramento, where he was 0-0 with two starts with a 1.64 ERA. This season he has a 4.11 ERA in 19 Triple-A starts.

Mortensen is needed because starting pitcher Dallas Braden may need to go on the disabled list because of the infected area near his left foot. Braden, who was scheduled to start Monday in Baltimore, was also scratched from Wednesday’s start against Texas. Geren said the team will decide today whether Braden will go on the DL.  

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A’s-Royals pre game notes

It’s about 85 degrees and the humidity’s around 75 percent. In other words, just another day in the great town of Kansas City, Mo.

The news of Jason Giambi’s release is still the big topic of the day. His agent, Arn Tellem, confirmed that Giambi would like to continue playing, and A’s second baseman Mark Ellis didn’t have any doubt that Giambi can still contribute if he’s put in the right situation. But where that might be is anyone’s guess.

Tommy Everidge, as expected, is starting at first base tonight and hitting sixth. A’s manager Bob Geren didn’t have an update on Justin Duchscherer, but did say that Daric Barton will rehab in Arizona until he’s ready to play. 

The lineups:

A’s — Kennedy 3B, Davis CF, Hairston LF, Cust DH, Suzuki C, Everidge 1B, Sweeney RF, Ellis 2B, Pennington SS, Mazzaro P.

Royals — DeJesus LF, Anderson CF, Butler 1B, Pena C, Callaspo 2B, Teahen RF, Jacobs DH, Gordon 3B, Betancourt SS, Bannister P.

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Beane on Giambi, future

A’s GM Billy Beane finished a conference call with reporters and I just finshed transcribing. Here are some highlights, if you will.

“At the end of the day, with where we’re headed and with some of the young guys that we’d like to see for the rest of the season, we thought it was an opportune time to do somethng like this,” Beane said. “Obviously, Jason has struggled through most of the first half and we thought it would be better for us to see some younger players and for him to see if he can’t catch with somebody else in a pennant race.”

Beane said Giambi took the news of his release as a professional and he thanked the team for what they did for him. According to Beane, Giambi indicated that he would like to continue playing.

Beane said the team was not actively shopping Giambi at the deadline, but had indicated to the slugger right around the All-Star break that the A’s may start looking at younger players like Tommy Everidge and Daric Barton. Giambi, who is hitting .193, went on the DL on July 20 and never returned. 

“It’s difficult because Jason had a long, successful history here. He’s somebody that everyone was very fond of, not just as a player, but as a person. Those things are never easy. But once again, like everything Jason’s done, he acted like a professional and we’ll certainly miss him.”

Beane was asked if the heavier-than-expected workload placed on Giambi at the start of the season – because of injuries to Eric Chavez and Nomar Garciaparra — led to some of his struggles.

“There’s a little bit of a ripple effect or a domino effect when one guy gets injured or another guy, and it kind of stresses out the whole roster. I’m sure it had some impact on how he was feeling on a day to day basis.”

On Tommy Everidge getting a greater opportunity:

Tommy has performed at every level and most recently at Sacramento. So as much as anything, he deserves the opportunity just like the one we gave Daric before he went on the disabled list. This is a good opportunity for us to give a lot of guys a chance to play these last two months.”