******NEWS UPDATE: The A’s announced that they’ve signed outfielder Michael Choice, their first-round draft pick. We’re hoping to talk with Choice on a conference call sometime soon. He’s set to receive a $2 million signing bonus. A deal has been in place for a couple days, but Choice needed to pass a physical.
–It shouldn’t come as a shock that closer Andrew Bailey was placed on the disabled list today with a rib cage strain in his right side. His comments yesterday made it seem possible. It’s pretty fitting that as one key A’s pitcher — Brett Anderson — comes off the DL to start tonight against the White Sox, another is lost to the injured list. But there’s a general feeling that this won’t be a long-term problem for Bailey. His DL stint is retroactive to July 21, meaning he’s eligible to be activated Aug. 6, when the Texas Rangers begin a three-game series at the Coliseum. Bailey believes there’s a chance he’ll be ready by then but isn’t certain. Asked about the rib-cage injuries that sidelined teammates Travis Buck and Coco Crisp for long periods, Bailey said: “From what I feel and from what I think, I don’t see myself being out as long as they were.”
In the meantime, manager Bob Geren said he’ll consider both Michael Wuertz and Craig Breslow in the closer’s role. It could depend on matchups or who’s most rested. I’d have to think Wuertz would be the first choice, all things being equal. It just seems he’s got more traditional shut-down stuff, and he’s had a little more experience in the ninth inning. Bottom line, the A’s need this to be a temporary situation. A healthy return from Bailey is crucial regardless of whether the team is still in AL West contention.
–In other news, Travis Buck was reinstated from the DL and optioned to Triple-A Sacramento and Ryan Sweeney (who’s out for the season) was transferred to the 60-day DL. Surprised that Buck didn’t get called up now that he’s healthy? Remember, this guy has missed a lot of time. I think the A’s just want Buck to collect more at-bats in the minors before they consider bringing him up.
A’s — Crisp CF, Barton 1B, Suzuki C, Cust DH, Kouzmanoff 3B, Ellis 2B, Gross RF, Davis LF, Pennington SS; Anderson LHP.
White Sox — Pierre LF, Ramirez SS, Rios CF, Konerko 1B, Quentin DH, Pierzynkski C, Viciedo 3B, Jones RF, Beckham 2B; Harrell RHP.