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Duchscherer to throw Tuesday, other tidbits

Pitcher Justin Duchscherer said his left hand, the one that caught a bit of the comebacker hit by Max Stassi during yesterday’s 30-pitch session, is fine. No pain. Manager Bob Geren said Duchscherer and Dallas Braden will each throw Tuesday against minor league hitters at the A’s Papago Park facility. The A’s have that day off, but minor league camp has started and it’s Braden’s turn in the rotation. Assuming things go well for Duchscherer, he’ll pitch in his first Cactus league game four or five days later. 

Geren said outfielder Coco Crisp (left hamstring strain) won’t do anything on the field today, but will resume a throwing program Sunday. There’s no date for him to start running.

Eric Chavez said he’s feeling good, and he’ll start today’s split squad game at first base at Municipal Stadium against San Diego.

The A’s lineups –

Vs. San Francisco — Ellis 2B, Barton 1B, Sweeney DH, Kouzmanoff 3B, Gross RF, Taylor LF, Brown CF, Powell C, Pennington SS, G. Gonzalez P

Vs. San Diego — Davis CF, Patterson LF, Chavez 1B, Cust DH, Fox 3B, Buck RF, Rosales SS, Donaldson C, Petit 2B, Mortensen P.

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Scary moment for Duchscherer

Justin Duchscherer’s return to the A’s almost came to an abrupt halt as the veteran right-hander was hit by a comebacker from Max Stassi midway through his session of throwing to live hitters at Municipal Park.

On the pitch, Stassi smoked a sinker back up the middle that was headed straight for Duchscherer’s head. He got his glove up just in time, and the ball ricocheted off the bottom part of his left hand and the top of his glove and hit his right shoulder. Duchscherer went down in a heap, but got up quickly and retreated to the dugout.

With several people looking on in dead silence, it became appearent that Duchscherer was more rattled than anything. He took a few sips of water and was soon smiling. The pitch happened to be the last of the first simulated inning (15 pitches). He returned five minutes later to throw 15 more pitches and didn’t feel pain in his back or elbow.

“He hits that rocket at me and I’m like, ‘Oh, my God’ and I fell down to get out of the way and then I knew done, so I just had to gather my thoughts and come sit down,” Duchscherer said. “And wipe the poop out of pants.”   

It was the first time that Duchscherer had gone against live hitting. He had a procedure done late last month to relieve pain in his lower back and threw a side session earlier this week, and reported no problems.

Duchscherer will see how he feels tomorrow, but is optimistic that he’ll be able to throw in a game in three or four days.

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Duchscherer still throwing to hitters Friday

Weather’s a bit warmer today than yesterday, as the temperature should get up to the mid-60s. I know, not quite Phoenix-like yet. But it’s getting there.

Not a ton of news today compared to Wednesday, but Justin Duchscherer is still scheduled to throw to hitters here tomorrow at Phoenix Muni as the team travels down to Tucson for a game against the Diamondbacks. We should have a report from Bob Geren on how things went either by the time the team arrives there or by after the game.

Gio Gonzalez will pitch Saturday’s split squad game at Scottsdale Stadium against the Giants, and Clayton Mortensen will pitch here in Phoenix against the Padres. No update from Geren on pitcher John Meloan (elbow soreness) or outfielder Coco Crisp (left hamstring).

Today’s A’s lineup — Patterson CF, Ellis 2B, Sweeney RF, Kouzmanoff 3B, Barton 1B, Rosales SS, Buck LF, Powell C, Braden P

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Joey Devine to not pitch for 5-7 days

Hey everyone. This is Curtis Pashelka filling in for Joe Stiglich, whose taking some well-deserved days off. A few things to report from Phoenix Muni, where the sun is actually shining, before the start of today’s A’s game against the White Sox.

Right-hander Joey Devine will not pitch for the next 5-7 days after he reported elbow soreness after throwing a side session Tuesday. Geren didn’t want to say what that did to Devine’s chances of being ready for opening day in less than four weeks, but it’s not exactly a step in the right direction.

Outfielder Travis Buck, who was kept out of yesterday’s game against Kansas City because of dizziness, said he felt better and that he had his left ear flushed out this morning. He said he would be okay to play today, and A’s manager Bob Geren said if Buck goes through his morning workout without any problems, that he’s probably insert Buck in the later innings.

Buck said he felt fine in the morning but started to feel dizzy on the bus ride over to Surprise.

Coco Crisp has a strained left hamstring. Geren said the injury is not severe and that Crisp is day-to-day.

Righty John Meloan has elbow soreness and will be checked out this afternoon by a local doctor. Meloan pitched two-thirds of an inning against Kansas City and gave up two hits and two earned runs.

The commissioner’s office also announced today that the Mets’ waiver claim of former A’s reliever Jay Marshall has been voided. Marshall was returned to the A’s, who then released him. Marshall was 5-3 with seven saves and a 3.20 ERA in 50 games for Triple-A Sacramento. For the A’s, Marshall was 1-4 with a 7.66 ERA in 61 appearances over two seasons for the A’s.

I asked Mark Ellis about the retirement of Nomar Garciaparra, and it was news to him. But Ellis said he and other A’s learned a lot from the oft-injured Garciaparra, just about the way he prepared every day and persevered.

The lineups:

A’s — Davis CF, Pennington SS, Suzuki C, Chavez 1B, Cust DH, Taylor LF, Gross RF, Patterson 2B, Tolleson 3B, Sheets RHP.

White Sox — Danks RF, Vizquel 2B, Pierzynski C, Jones CF, Rios DH, Kroeger 1B, Morel 3B, De Aza LF, Ramirez SS, Hudson RHP.

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Oakland A’s lineups for split-squad Tuesday

It’s the first split-squad day for the A’s, with one team hosting Texas in Phoenix and another heading to Surprise to play Kansas City. Lots of baseball in store — if the rain holds off. We have clouds overhead and the forecasts say we’ll get some rain this afternoon, just a matter of how heavy it is. I can’t believe I’ve been here 2 1/2 weeks and I haven’t worn shorts yet. Who knew?

–Justin Duchscherer is throwing off the mound later today. The unknown with his situation is how many throwing sessions he would need before getting into his first game. That will tell us how many starts he might squeeze in during spring training, and whether there’s any chance of him being ready for the start of the season. Joey Devine is throwing too. He’s been coming along well, but the A’s aren’t indicating when he could make his first game appearance.

Here’s the lineup for today’s home game against Texas, with ex-Athletic Rich Harden on the mound for the Rangers. Mark Ellis and Ryan Sweeney are the only guys in the A’s lineup that Harden was teammates with in Oakland, although he played with Jake Fox last season w/the Cubs.

Crisp DH
Ellis 2B
Sweeney RF
Kouzmanoff 3B
Carter 1B
Taylor LF
Fox C
Rosales SS
Patterson CF

Cahill P

And the lineup vs. the Royals in Surprise:

Davis LF
Barton 1B
Gross CF
Cust DH
Powell C
Buck RF
Pennington SS
Cardenas 3B
Sogard 2B

Mazzaro P

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Jack Cust gets start in left field vs. Cubs

Coco Crisp has a pretty outgoing personality, but nothing gets this guy more animated than watching “Price is Right.” His eyes were glued to the clubhouse TV screen this morning. He was clapping when he agreed w/a contestant’s move and burying his face in his hands when he didn’t like something. Entertaining stuff …

–Jack Cust draws a start in left field today vs. the Cubbies. If all goes as planned for the A’s, Cust will spend the majority of his time at DH. But how much has gone according to plan w/this team in recent seasons? Bob Geren wants him to get some defensive work in, and he’s said Cust is more likely to play left field than right field this season. Crisp isn’t playing outfield yet, so to get Crisp and Cust in the same game right now, Cust has to grab a glove.

The full A’s lineup:
Coco DH
Rajai CF
Suzuki C
Kouzmanoff 3B
Chavez 1B
Sweeney RF
Cust LF
Ellis 2B
Rosales SS

Anderson P

It’s the first time Crisp and Davis have been in the order together. Not sure this means Crisp will be the leadoff guy in regular season. We’ll see how Geren slots these two as the spring unfolds.

–The A’s have agreed to terms with all of their pre-arbitration players (guys w/less than three years of service time). It’s pretty standard practice this time of year, and just about all of these guys get their contracts renewed at close to the major league minimum ($400,000 last season).

It’s amazing that 29 players on the A’s 40-man roster fall in this pre-arbitration class. That helps explain why this team was willing to shell out $10 million for Ben Sheets — the majority of the roster is making right around the big league minimum.

That’s all for now …

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A’s notes: Michael Taylor impresses Bob Geren; rain could threaten game vs. Angels

After an extended period of sunshine and true spring training-type weather, the clouds are back. There’s a 50% or higher chance of rain this afternoon in the Phoenix area, so it’s questionable whether the A’s-Angels game in Tempe gets played. The A’s are taking BP right now and preparing like normal.

If they do play, you can catch a tape delayed broadcast of the game at 4 p.m. (West Coast time) on the MLB Network.

–Eric Patterson took four stitches above his left eye after a bad-hop grounder caught him during yesterday’s game. He was playing second base at the time. He’s being held out today but is cleared to return tomorrow.

–Blue-chip outfield prospect Michael Taylor has not disappointed so far. A’s manager Bob Geren said he’s been impressed with Taylor both at the plate and in the field. This guy is listed at 6-foot-6, 260 pounds, and he seems to move pretty well for someone that big. He’s made a couple of nice plays in left field so far. That athleticism was part of the draw for the A’s when they dealt Brett Wallace to Toronto to get him.

–Brett Anderson takes the mound for his first spring start today, weather permitting. He wants to incorporate a change-up into his repertoire against righties, so we’ll see if he tries it out today … A big Japanese media contingent is expected for today’s game as Hideki Matsui is slated to make his Angels debut …

A’s lineup:
Davis CF
Ellis 2B
Suzuki C
Kouzmanoff 3B
Chavez 1B
Cust DH
Taylor LF
Buck RF
Rosales SS

Anderson P

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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