There’s lots of pregame stuff to report as the Texas sun beats down during batting practice, so we’ll cut to the chase:
–The condition of Andrew Bailey’s back is a growing concern for the A’s. The closer threw again today and still felt pain, so he’s going to be examined by the Rangers’ team doctors. That means he’s definitely unavailable tonight, and you have to think the DL is a possibility given how long this has lingered. Just yesterday, manager Bob Geren looked at me like I was crazy when I asked if the DL was being considered. He was quite optimistic yesterday that Bailey was turning the corner, but obviously Bailey isn’t progressing as everyone hoped. And Geren was awaiting word on whether Michael Wuertz and Craig Breslow — who have each thrown the past two days — would be available tonight. Tune in for the ninth inning. I’m just as curious as you to see who the A’s closer might be.
–Ben Sheets addressed reporters on a conference call today. He hasn’t made up his mind completely to have elbow surgery but is strongly leaning toward it. Regardless, he’s out for the season, and having surgery to repair his torn flexor tendon would likely sideline him for the entire 2011 season as well, he believes. Sheets said he was surprised to hear he tore the tendon again because his pain wasn’t as bad as last time and it was in a different area. But he said this tear is even worse than last time, and he thinks a different type of procedure would need to be done. Given he’s been through this rehab process once already without success, you have to wonder if Sheets will consider retirement. But he thinks surgery will be necessary just to have normal function in his arm for his non-baseball life as well.
“I’m 32, and I’m obviously getting toward the back end of my career,” he said. “We’ll see if my arm rebounds. I think if I come back I’d have to feel a lot better than I did.”
Sheets is just a solid dude, and you wish the best for him whether he pitches again or not. He plans to fly to Oakland next week and rejoin the A’s during their next homestand. His nuttiness will be welcomed by his teammates. …
*********BREAKING NEWS: The Rangers just announced that they’ve acquired Jorge Cantu from Florida for two minor league pitchers. It’s my understanding Cantu will play first base and occasionally some third.
–A couple of former Athletics are caught up in today’s other trade activity, with reports saying Miguel Tejada will go from Baltimore to San Diego and Brett Wallace will be dealt from Toronto to Houston. Wallace’s head must be spinning. This would make three trades in the past year for the highly touted corner infield prospect. The A’s acquired him last July from St. Louis as part of the Matt Holliday trade, then dealt him to Toronto in December for outfielder Michael Taylor.
Finally, here’s tonight’s lineups, with Daric Barton and Jack Cust getting the night off against lefty C.J. Wilson.
A’s: Crisp CF, Davis LF, Suzuki DH, Kouzmanoff 3B, Rosales 1B, Ellis 2B, Powell C, Carson RF, Pennington SS; Mazzaro RHP.
Rangers: Andrus SS, Young 3B, Hamilton CF, Guerrero DH, Cruz RF, Murphy LF, Arias 2B, Moreland 1B, Teagarden C; Wilson LHP.