Bullpen updates before A’s-Rays series opener

We’re going with a brief roundup of items as the A’s and Tampa Bay Rays get ready to start a four-game series. I’m so used to Thursday home games being played during the day. Feels like a Friday night to me …

–For anyone interested in checking out Andrew Bailey’s outing with Triple-A Sacramento, he’s likely to start tomorrow night’s game and throw just the first inning. Don’t get caught in traffic … The A’s will determine afterward whether he’s ready to be activated from the DL. The indication I’ve gotten is that Bailey will need just one appearance before rejoining the A’s.

As for tonight, it’s tough to say who will be summoned from the bullpen in the late innings. When manager Bob Geren met with the media before BP, he wasn’t sure if Craig Breslow (bruised forearm) or Michael Wuertz would be available. Wuertz has thrown three of the past four games. Geren usually gets a report on which relievers are available between batting practice and game time. Breslow was hopeful yesterday of being ready tonight.

–Lost in the discussion of yesterday’s ninth-inning meltdown by the bullpen: Henry Rodriguez turned in a very solid eighth inning. Rodriguez is gradually being used in more late-inning, pressure situations. He allowed a leadoff walk to Toronto’s Fred Lewis, but got Yunel Escobar swinging and Jose Bautista looking (both on 99 mph fastballs), then retired Vernon Wells on a groundout to end the eighth and protect a 4-1 lead. Geren stresses the importance of Rodriguez controlling the running game. “He’s been great,” Geren said. “He’s used to (pitching in the late innings) at the Triple-A level. He obviously has the stuff to perform late in the game at this level. It’s just building confidence …”

–Kevin Kouzmanoff, 2 for 28 over his last nine games, is hitting seventh tonight, the lowest he’s hit all season. As for the rest of the lineups …

A’s: Crisp CF, Barton 1B, Jackson LF, Suzuki C, Cust DH, Ellis 2B, Kouzmanoff 3B, Davis RF, Pennington SS; Cahill RHP.

Rays: Jaso C, Johnson DH, Crawford LF, Longoria 3B, Pena 1B, Joyce RF, Rodriguez 2B, Upton CF, Brignac SS; Sonnanstine RHP.

Joe Stiglich