Mark Ellis to the DL; A’s recall catcher Landon Powell; plus other pregame notes

The sun has appeared here at the Coliseum as the A’s take BP. That’s a welcome sign, because it’s been about as chilly as I can remember leading up to a night game here. We’ve had overcast skies, and weather.com calls for a 70 percent chance of rain leading up to the game (dropping to 50 percent by game time). But it’s the strong wind that might have players grabbing for turtlenecks tonight …

–Mark Ellis was placed on the DL and catcher Landon Powell was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento. Ellis said his left hamstring felt great as he worked out leading up to last night’s game. But he felt it grab in his first at-bat and knew something was wrong. Ellis said he feels like his seven days of inactivity were a waste, since he could have started his DL stint earlier and let the injury heal. And considering he was hitting .323 and felt good at the plate, he’s especially frustrated. “I felt really good, but it’ll be fine. I’ll get back to that,” he said.

Calling up Powell gives manager Bob Geren some flexibility to get Jake Fox in the lineup more if he chooses. He can have Fox DH and still have an extra catcher on the bench. Plus, if Fox is DH and there was a spot to pinch-hit Eric Chavez for him, Geren could do that and still have a backup catcher available. Geren added that he thinks Kurt Suzuki’s swing is coming around, and he doesn’t have any plans to start Powell at catcher in the coming days.

Powell was hitting just .217 in 23 at-bats w/the River Cats, but the A’s are familiar w/what he can do based on last season.

–I spoke briefly with Craig Breslow, who said he was trying to run a fastball inside on Alex Rodriguez last night but instead left the pitch out over the plate. A-Rod crushed a three-run homer.

Breslow, like Brad Ziegler, takes on a more prominent bullpen role until Michael Wuertz comes back. So the A’s need the lefty to be sharp. Breslow said he was a little tentative in cutting loose w/his fastball when he first returned from an elbow injury in spring training. But he says he’s felt better since then.

–Rajai Davis, hitting .140 over his past 10 games, gets his first day off. Cliff Pennington gets a start in the leadoff spot, though Geren said it’s likely just for tonight. “Sometimes guys watch the game and they regroup,” Geren said of Davis. Gabe Gross gets the start in center field.

Also, Kevin Kouzmanoff — 0-for-16 with runners in scoring position so far — drops to sixth in the order with Suzuki hitting cleanup.

–Watch the matchups between Daric Barton and Yankees starter Phil Hughes tonight. Barton says the two faced each other in high school a couple times. Hughes attended Foothill High in Santa Ana, while Barton went to Marina High in Huntington Beach.

Tonight’s lineups:
Pennington SS
Barton 1B
Sweeney RF
Suzuki C
Chavez DH
Kouzmanoff 3B
Gross CF
Rosales 2B
Buck LF
Sheets RHP

Jeter SS
Johnson DH
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Cano 2B
Posada C
Granderson CF
Winn RF
Gardner LF
Hughes RHP

Joe Stiglich