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.
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.