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UFC star Randy Couture drops by batting practice; Andrew Bailey update and other A’s bits

There’s a non-baseball celebrity watching batting practice here at the Oakland Coliseum, and we’re not talking Brad or Angelina. Ultimate Fighting Championship star Randy Couture is throwing out today’s first pitch, and he’s down on the field chatting with Kevin Kouzmanoff and Daric Barton as I write this. Barton is a huge UFC fan and will catch Couture’s pitch. There’s a UFC card next door at Oracle Arena tonight, which brings Couture to town. I have to admit I don’t follow UFC and wouldn’t recognize Couture if I passed him on the street. But the dude’s got a couple cauliflower ears that give away his profession. Seriously, I don’t think he could fit a Q-Tip in either ear.

I suppose you came here looking for A’s news, right? …

–From talking to Andrew Bailey today, I’m thinking he could miss another couple of weeks. Back when he got his MRI, Bailey said he was told his strained rib-cage injury typically takes four to six weeks to heal. He suffered the injury July 20, so he’s about 2 1/2 weeks into it. You can do the math … “Trying to come back earlier is tough to do, but that’s what I’m trying to do,” Bailey said. He could try playing catch again Sunday, according to manager Bob Geren. Bailey says he’s just coming in each day and taking cues from the training staff on when he’s going to throw.

–Rich Harden takes the hill for the Rangers, trying to follow up on his May 3 outing at the Coliseum, when he threw seven shutout innings. But that A’s lineup featured four starters who aren’t even on the current active roster (Ryan Sweeney, Eric Chavez, Eric Patterson and Josh Donaldson). So we’ll see if things shake out differently this time.

–Dallas Braden was pitching last night just a couple of days after having a wisdom tooth pulled, Geren said. That was part of the reason Braden came out when he did, though Geren said Braden’s tank was nearly empty anyway. The manager doesn’t expect Braden’s next start — Wednesday at Seattle — to be affected.

–Outfielder Conor Jackson will actually play his first rehab game Sunday, not today, in the Arizona Rookie League … Joey Devine and Josh Outman, both making the long road back from Tommy John surgery, are on a similar throwing program right now, Geren said. There’s no word on when either pitcher will get on the mound.

Here’s your lineups:

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

Rangers — Andrus SS, Young 3B, Hamilton CF, Guerrero DH, Cruz RF, Cantu 1B, Murphy LF, Guzman 2B, Teagarden C; Harden RHP.

Joe Stiglich