A’s send Tyson Ross down, he’ll be groomed to start

The A’s followed through with a move that seemed unavoidable — Tyson Ross was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento, where he will slide into the rotation and go back to being a starter. A’s manager Bob Geren said the team sees Ross as a starter long-term, and I know that’s certainly the role Ross prefers. Reliever Ross Wolf, acquired from Baltimore for Jake Fox, was promoted. The right-hander will fill a similar bullpen role to Ross. A spot needed to be cleared on the 40-man roster for Wolf, so Eric Chavez was transferred to the 60-day DL.

Ross hit some bumps in the road after starting the season on a strong note, but Geren said he was impressed with how Ross handled himself. Remember, this guy jumped from Double-A to the bigs. “He took it in stride and was not overwhelmed by the competition. He knows if he’s pounding the strike zone how good he can be.” That’s what the A’s will have Ross work on — commanding his fastball in order to make his secondary pitches better.

Wolf, 27, flew here from Reno, where the River Cats were playing. His wife Lynn and their 6-month-old son Eli made the trip with him. His only big league action came with 14 relief apppearances for Florida in 2007. But he’d been throwing very well recently at Triple-A. He runs his fastball up to 93 mph and generally has good movement in the 88-90 mph range.

Perhaps this bullpen could use a fresh face right now …

–Matt Watson gets the start in left field for the A’s. Tonight marks his first game in the major leagues since 2005, when he was also with Oakland. Think he’ll have a few butterflies during that first at-bat? Gotta pull for the guy …

Tonight’s lineups:

A’s — Crisp CF, Barton 1B, Sweeney RF, Suzuki C, Cust DH, Kouzmanoff 3B, Ellis 2B, Watson LF, Pennington SS; Gonzalez LHP.

Yanks — Jeter SS, Swisher RF, Teixeira 1B, Rodriguez 3B, Posada DH, Thames LF, Cervelli C, Gardner CF, Pena 2B; Burnett RHP.

Joe Stiglich