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A’s update: Justin Duchscherer, Lenny DiNardo and Michael Wuertz’s slider

Just a quick note on the morning’s activities:

–Rajai Davis showed up this morning, and it’s now easier to count which position players aren’t here yet as opposed to which ones are. Jack Cust and Kevin Kouzmanoff are two of the bigger names who have yet to make an appearance, but they should be rolling in by tomorrow, obviously, when everyone’s required to be here.

–Still no word on when Justin Duchscherer might crank up his throwing again, but Bob Geren said Duke is only one or two days behind as of today. Each day missed puts him a little further back though, so we’ll keep an eye on that. Maybe Duchscherer will be around later to shed some light.

–Something I wasn’t aware of when I wrote about Jake Fox in Tuesday’s notebook: Fox is out of minor league options. I had been led to believe he had options left. This definitely will make the roster battle more interesting. Fox appeared to have his work cut out to make the 25-man roster, but if the A’s want to send him to the minors, he first must be exposed to other teams through waivers (outfielder/second baseman Eric Patterson is in the same situation, and this can work to both players’ advantage in making the team). Of course, Eric Chavez’s health is always a big variable, and if he’s not ready, then Fox might be needed regardless.

–Left-hander Lenny DiNardo has been slowed by a strained arch in his left foot, but he said he felt a lot better today than yesterday. Don’t forget about this guy as a swingman option for this pitching staff. He was pretty serviceable in that role in 2008 for the A’s. I’m not saying I expect DiNardo to make a major run at a roster spot, but he’s a known quantity to the A’s. And if injuries linger with some guys, who knows?

–Once we got injury stuff out of the way, we actually got to talk baseball w/Geren. He was talking about Michael Wuertz’s slider, saying it’s unusual for a right-hander’s slider to be so effective against lefty hitters, as Wuertz’s is. Many right-handers start their sliders over the middle of the plate and break it toward a hitter’s feet. That leaves them vulnerable to the home run ball if they hang a pitch. Wuertz can work his slider that way, but he can also go back door, starting it outside and bringing it back in to catch the plate for called strikes. “It’s not only a good one, but he can locate it,” Geren said.

Geren gets fired up talking about this kind of stuff. Sometimes I believe he thinks the beat writers are only interested in injuries/negative news. We only hit him with injury stuff because we have to provide updates, especially on the big-name guys. Truth is, I like chatting w/him about the hard-core baseball stuff. It’s interesting, and Geren gets more animated talking about the inner workings of the game than anything else …

I guess my “quick note” wasn’t so quick after all!

Joe Stiglich