****To clarify this post from earlier, Duchscherer is pitching in his first MAJOR LEAGUE game since 2008. He made three rehab starts in the minors last season.
Right-hander Justin Duchscherer will pitch in his first game since 2008 this afternoon in Peoria against the Mariners, and it’s a starting assignment. Brett Anderson woke up with a stiff neck, so the A’s plan for him to pitch in a minor league game tomorrow at Papago Park, provided Anderson feels better. Gio Gonzalez also is pitching in a minor league game tomorrow to stay on schedule w/four days’ rest. The A’s don’t play tomorrow.
As things are shaking out, the potential season-opening rotation could go Sheets-Braden-Duchscherer-Anderson as the top four, w/the fifth starter TBA. But there’s still time for things to shuffle a bit, so I wouldn’t write that in stone.
I’d imagine this has to be a pretty big day for Duchscherer just to get back in a game situation. Bob Geren said yesterday he sees Duchscherer going 3-4 innings if all goes well. The A’s are more encouraged about Duke possibly being ready to start the season than they were a couple weeks ago. But first he has to come out of today feeling good.
Other tidbits you should know:
–Coco Crisp returns to the lineup, leading off at DH. Geren said both Crisp and Rajai Davis (abdominal injury) could play the outfield Wednesday night against the Dodgers. That would be Crisp’s first game in the outfield this spring.
–Andrew Bailey is scheduled to play catch for the first time since being shut down with tennis elbow. Craig Breslow and Joey Devine are both throwing, and both could throw side sessions Wednesday.
–The A’s will have Ben Sheets throw in a minor league game Thursday, with Jason Jennings taking his place that night against the Giants. Don’t sound the alarms. Sheets wants to pitch in a controlled environment to make sure he gets enough work in. At this point in camp, pitchers like to get accustomed to pitching, sitting on the bench for a while, then repeating the process again. Sheets wants to get “up and down” for six innings regardless of how he’s doing in the game. Pitching in a minor league game allows him to do that.
Wow, that seemed like a long explanation for a simple concept
–I talked to reliever John Meloan this morning as he was about to head home to Kansas City. He felt discomfort in his elbow a few days ago and was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament. He’ll miss the entire season and will undergo Tommy John surgery. “It’s unfortunate for him,” Geren said. “He’s a good pitcher and a good guy.” The A’s liked what they saw from Meloan last season. He didn’t allow a run in six games late in the year.
Here’s today’s full lineup vs. Seattle. Second baseman Mark Ellis was a late scratch w/tightness in both hamstrings.