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Travis Buck sent down, Matt Carson brought up as A’s open long road trip in Cleveland

A blanket of gray clouds are starting to break up here in Cleveland. The forecast calls for just a 10 percent chance of rain so this series opener between the A’s and Indians shouldn’t be interrupted.

–The news of the day so far: Travis Buck was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento and fellow outfielder Matt Carson was called up. It was a pretty short return to the majors for Buck, who was recalled Aug. 16 and spent just seven games with the big club. He didn’t do a whole lot to make an impression while he was up, going 0 for 10 with four strikeouts in three starts. But he didn’t get a very long look either. When Buck came up, I thought it might be a good chance to evaluate him for an extended period (Conor Jackson’s return to the DL seemed to open up even more opportunity). It’s still tough to decipher what caliber of player the A’s have in Buck. He hasn’t stayed healthy for any length of time, and the A’s aren’t sold on him as an everyday player when he is healthy. “Travis needs to go work on his swing a bit, and we could use a right-handed bat,” manager Bob Geren said. “He hasn’t had a ton of at-bats this year, and he has to tighten up his swing a little bit.”

Geren said he likes Carson’s baserunning ability, as well as having a right-handed bat off the bench. And Geren indicated Gross will play regularly with the A’s expected to see a string of right-handed starting pitchers to begin this road trip. Gross, who bats left-handed as does Buck, is hitting .247 in 186 at-bats, so he’s hardly ripping the cover off the ball himself. But he had two hits Sunday, is good with the glove and has a strong arm. It’s clear the A’s see him as a better option in right field than Buck.

You have to figure a trade might be best for Buck’s career. But I don’t know what kind of interest he would draw given his injury history.

–That’s about it for the news … Kevin Kouzmanoff, 4 for 42 over his last 13 games, is sitting tonight with Jeff Larish getting a start at third base. Larish was promoted Friday for his second stint w/Oakland but has yet to get in a game since then.

–Surprise sighting: Hall of Famer and former A’s closer Dennis Eckersley is back in Cleveland to host a charity golf tournament, and he was in the dugout chatting with A’s broadcaster Ray Fosse, his former Indians teammate, before the game.

The lineups:

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

Indians — Donald 2B, Cabrera SS, Choo RF, Duncan LF, Nix DH, LaPorta 1B, Marte 3B, Crowe CF, Marson C; Carmona RHP.

Joe Stiglich

  • crister

    conor jackson, travis buck, kouzmanoff, cust, raj davis, gross, ziggy… does anyone else smell a little non-tender in the air? cust is pretty obvious considering that the a’s cut bate on him last year and he hasn’t even come close to equaling his production this year. even if you prorate it out for the first month he got shafted and sent to sacramento. i’d even throw barton in there if for nothing else, he’s already logged quite a bit of time in the majors and is getting closer to the dreaded . . . arbitration years and it’s not like his single digit to 13 homer power with not even a good average at first base is exactly building block worthy material. at minimum wage, sure i suppose, but at a higher price? maybe not so much… defensively he’s not keith hernandez either.

    thoughts mr. stiglich?

  • you knowwho

    that would be “cut bAIt”. they will keep raj. he plays good defense and is good as a late game pinch runner or as a defensive replacement. plus if coco goes down they need someone to fill in

  • you knowwho

    barton has made more eroors this year than would be hoped for BUT he has made a lot of saves on throws from penny and kouz. he’s got a good stretch. pus in a pinch i suppose he could fill in at catcher too if ever needed

  • scott no2

    The Buck stops here. I’m afraid all that potential 2 years ago has disappeared into nothingness and endless DL visits. He’s been passed up on the depth chart. I like Buck, but business-wise, if he can’t get healthy, it’s time to let him go.

  • Joe Stiglich

    Crister … here’s your long overdue response …

    No doubt there’s going to be an outfield logjam going into next season. I think a lot of unknowns have to shake out first before we know what kind of decisions the A’s might make. Is Michael Taylor going to be ready for the big leagues by the start of the year? Hopefully we’ll get some clarity on that via a September call-up and spring training ’11. Is Ryan Sweeney going to be healthy to start the season?

    I’m not sold on either Conor Jackson or Daric Barton being a long-term fit for what this team needs (more power). I think Jackson is the 2010 version of Scott Hairston — a player the A’s traded for and were excited about (partly because he’s under team control and affordable) but who has trouble staying healthy in an A’s uniform. Maybe Jackson goes on the trading block this winter as Hairston did. … As for Barton, it seems he got a big vote of confidence with the decision to try Chris Carter in the outfield. I like his defense overall, but a light-hitting first baseman is not a good fit when there’s no power coming from other positions.

    Bottom line, the A’s need to decide this winter whether Chris Carter and/or Michael Taylor are ready to be everyday players. If not, they need to import some hitters, whether that’s through free agency or parting with a stud pitcher in a trade. Once they make an addition or two this winter, that will help determine the fate of many of the players you mentioned.

    How’s that for an all-over-the-map answer???

  • crister

    i appreciate the effort to respond and give a well thought answer and not a vague “we’ll have to see” and “barton is great. how dare you question his future on this team.” that i was actually expecting.

    again, thanks…