A’s pregame notes — Braden’s odd gift, Sweeney’s highlight play and Brett Anderson update

You never know what you’ll see at the ballpark … There’s a large table in the middle of the A’s clubhouse where players congregate. Typically, the table is filled with snacks for guys to enjoy before the game. Before BP today, there was a samurai sword sitting on it. Yes, a real sword, with a blade extending about three feet. Dallas Braden received the gift from Mizuno, his shoe and glove company, in recognition of his perfect game. Sounds dangerous, I know. But the sword was in a protective sleeve, and it’s not like players were picking the thing up and swinging it like “Clash of the Titans” or anything.

Braden’s start tonight is his first at the Coliseum since his May 9 perfecto. It’ll be fun to hear his thoughts after the game about owning a sword. … Pregame stat of the day: Braden has a 7.34 ERA in six career starts against the Tigers.

–Ryan Sweeney had a big offensive night Tuesday with four hits, but I was shaking my head at the play he made in right field in the sixth. Seattle’s Casey Kotchman drilled a ball off the out-of-town scoreboard, and Sweeney caught the ball on the deflection (bare-handed) and threw to second to nail Kotchman, who tried for a double. Sweeney said the ball kicked back to him harder than if it had hit the padded outfield wall. “If I didn’t (bare-hand) it, it would have hit me in the face,” he said. “The wall is soft, but (the scoreboard) is like steel out there.”

Believe it or not, manager Bob Geren said the A’s did a pregame outfield drill yesterday working on balls that hit off the wall. “It’s funny how you work on something and it comes into play,” Geren said.

–Brett Anderson (strained forearm) threw a 41-pitch side session today in Phoenix with a hitter standing in. All went well, and pitching coach Curt Young told me Anderson could pitch in a minor league game Sunday if there are no complications from today.

–Coco Crisp (fractured pinkie) went 4-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs in his first rehab game with Single-A Stockton last night. Mark Ellis (strained hamstring) went 0-for-2 with a walk and RBI. Both should join Triple-A Sacramento in the next couple of days, and you would think they’d be activated a few days after that if they’re healthy. Geren was asked what Crisp’s addition would mean for Rajai Davis and/or Jack Cust in the outfield rotation. Geren basically said they’d cross that bridge when they come to it. … Davis has rebounded at the plate over the past couple days, but the A’s could use Cust’s power too. First thing’s first — Crisp has to prove he’s healthy. But I’d expect him to take over the leadoff spot when he returns.

Tonight’s lineups:

A’s: Pennington SS, Barton 1B, Sweeney RF, Suzuki C, Cust LF, Kouzmanoff 3B, Chavez DH, Rosales 2B, Davis CF; Braden LHP.

Tigers: Jackson CF, Damon DH, Wells LF, Cabrera 1B, Boesch RF, Inge 3B, Laird C, Worth 2B, Everett SS; Verlander RHP.

Joe Stiglich