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Jack Cust gets start in left field; other pregame notes before A’s-Indians finale

Hey folks, sorry for no blog post yesterday. There was a problem with our blog site, but it’s all cleared up now …

Checking in before the A’s-Indians series finale here at Progressive Field, where it’s dog day. All fans were invited to bring their pooches to the park, and there’s a spot in the right field bleacher area reserved for them. They just finished a dog parade around the field, and Dallas Braden and Daric Barton came out to the visitors’ dugout to get a closer look. Perhaps some howling canines will add some life to this stadium tonight. It’s been pretty quiet for the first two games of this series, with neither game drawing as much as 12,000. With no tarps covering the upper deck, this place feels more empty and cavernous than the Coliseum usually does …

–Jack Cust draws a start in left field tonight, which may have made you spit out your beverage if you’re drinking one as you read this. Cust has made 12 appearances in the outfield this season, but it’s been quite some time, and I don’t have to tell you it can be adventuresome when the big guy grabs a glove. Manager Bob Geren, who has always defended Cust as an outfielder, said he wanted to stack his lineup with lefty hitters against right-hander Justin Masterson. Jeff Larish gets a start at DH, and though he’s been working in the outfield lately, Geren said he feels more comfortable with Cust out there right now.

Cust is a bit surprised himself that he’s playing the outfield, though he said Geren gave him a heads-up Wednesday that it might happen. He hasn’t been doing a lot of pregame defensive work because he’s primarily been DH, and the A’s haven’t been lacking for outfielders. “I haven’t played much out there, so I can’t say I’ll be too comfortable. We’ll see,” he said. “When I don’t play the outfield for a couple weeks, my legs … I feel them later in the game.” That said, Cust is happy his name is in the lineup somewhere because he’s feeling pretty good at the plate right now. He’s 4-for-8 with a homer and three RBIs in this series. “I felt a little something in my last at-bat Tuesday (when he homered),” Cust said. “I felt something in my stance. I just moved my feet around, trying to get a base.”

–The A’s recorded their final eight outs via strikeout Wednesday night (two by Trevor Cahill, three each by Craig Breslow and Henry Rodriguez). That’s the first time in Oakland history that A’s pitchers have gotten eight straight outs by way of the strikeout. “It’s one of those records you don’t realize is happening until somebody tells you after the game,” Geren said. “Obviously I was happy with Henry. Breslow, after getting hit in the forearm (last week), had good hop on his fastball.”

Tonight’s lineups …

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

Indians — Brantley CF, Cabrera SS, Choo RF, Hafner DH, Nix 3B, Crowe LF, LaPorta 1B, Valbuena 2B, Marson C; Masterson RHP.

Joe Stiglich