Geren says Justin Duchscherer doubtful for season’s start

Many of the injury updates during spring training are routine and non-newsie. But A’s manager Bob Geren dropped a little info on us this morning:

–He gave his strongest statement yet that Justin Duchscherer may not be ready for the start of the season: “It depends on how the next couple of weeks go. He’s still optimistic about Opening Day, but I don’t think so. Getting built up to the 100-pitch mark is difficult to do without six starts.”

Duchscherer had minor surgery Feb. 23 to address lower back pain and he’s been working his way back. Haven’t talked to him yet today, but he’s tried to steer away from forecasting when he might return. He’s generally been happy with his progress but hasn’t thrown off the mound since his procedure. If he’s not ready, Geren mentioned newcomer Jason Jennings, Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill and Vin Mazzaro as possible fill-ins. Those guys were already in contention for the fifth starter’s spot, so if Duchscherer isn’t ready, two of the four are likely to start the season in the rotation.

Jennings will pitch in relief Monday against the Cubs. Gonzalez starts that game.

–Reliever Joey Devine is coming along well, so there seems a chance he could be ready by Opening Day. Geren said Devine had his best bullpen session of the spring yesterday.

–Coco Crisp makes his first appearance in the lineup today, leading off and serving as DH against the Angels. Here’s the full lineup:

Crisp DH
Barton 1B
Gross CF
Sweeney RF
Taylor Lf
Powell C
McPherson 3B
Pennington SS
Patterson 2B

Braden P

Joe Stiglich