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Surgery possible for Conor Jackson

Conor Jackson will visit with Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia in the next couple of days to get his lower abdomen injury properly diagnosed. But the A’s outfielder said it’s possible he’ll need surgery to repair the problem, which would pretty much end his season. 

Jackson said he’s has felt discomfort in his lower abdomen and groin area since spring training. But he was hoping to put off any procedure to help him eradicate the pain until after the season. Jackson said he felt pain Thursday night in his first at-bat, and he had a hard time getting out of bed when he woke up this morning. He was later placed on the DL for the third time this season.

“It’s borderline embarrassing, because I come over to an organization and I’ve only played (18) games and I know they had high regards for me coming over here,” said Jackson, who was acquired from Arizona on June 15. “It’s just frustrating, and that’s really not even the word I’m looking for.  It’s probably something more.”

Jackson hasn’t been diagnosed yet, but if he needs surgery, the recovery time is between 4-6 weeks, so he should be ready for spring training next year. He’s until team control next season. Travis Buck had hernia surgery in 2006 when he was in the minors, and Meyers performed QB Donovan McNabb’s hernia surgery in Nov. 2005.  

Interestingly enough, Jackson’s injury opens the door for Buck to establish himself as an everyday outfielder. He’s in the lineup tonight.

A night off for Mark Ellis, as Steve Tolleson gets the start at second base. Three hours before the game, A’s manager Bob Geren was unsure if Craig Breslow or Michael Wuertz would be available tonight. But Breslow told Geren that his bruised forearm had been feeling much better.

The lineups

A’s — Crisp CF, Barton 1B, Suzuki C, Cust DH, Kouzmanoff 3B, Davis LF, Buck RF, Tolleson 2B, Pennington SS, Mazzaro P.

Rays — Jaso C, Zobrist 2B, Crawford LF, Longoria 3B, Pena 1B, Joyce RF, Aybar DH, Upton CF, Bartlett SS, Hellickson P.

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Conor Jackson to DL

The A’s injury woes continued Friday as outfielder Conor Jackson was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a lower abdominal strain. Jeff Larish was called up from Triple-A Sacramento to take Jackson’s spot on the roster.

It’s been an injury plagued season for Jackson, who latest DL stint is his third this season. He came off the DL on  Monday after sitting out over a month with a strained right hamstring. That same injury sidelined for over two weeks from April 19 to May 6.

It’s the 23rd time the A’s have used the DL this season, two shy of the team record set in 2008. We’re just going down to the clubhouse now to hopefully find out more from Jackson himself.

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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.

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Bullpen updates and other notes before A’s-Blue Jays series finale

There’s just a couple of items to update you on this morning …

–Andrew Bailey will make one rehab outing for Triple-A Sacramento before coming off the DL. We don’t know what day that will be, but the A’s might announce it after the game.

–Fellow reliever Craig Breslow’s bruised forearm doesn’t seem serious, but he said he’d have to play catch before the game before knowing if he’d be available today. If not, he said he should be ready for Thursday night’s series opener against Tampa Bay.

–That was quite a play by Cliff Pennington on his spin-and-throw from behind second base on Jose Molina’s grounder last night. Pennington was actually practicing such a throw during BP before that game, and he said the whole motion is still a work in progress as far as he’s concerned. …

–Steve Tolleson is getting a look all over the infield. He started at shortstop Saturday night against Minnesota and third base last night. He’s at second base this afternoon with Mark Ellis taking a turn at DH.

The full lineups:

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

Blue Jays — Lewis LF, Escobar SS, Bautista RF, Wells CF, Lind DH, Hill 2B, Overbay 1B, Encarnacion 3B, Arencibia C; Rzepczynski LHP.

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Juggling the outfield, other A’s pregame tidbits

I had some technical difficulties getting this baby posted, but here’s today’s update …

The lineups for Game 2 of A’s-Blue Jays:

A’s — Crisp CF, Barton 1B, Jackson LF, Cust DH, Ellis 2B, Davis RF, Powell C, Tolleson 3B, Pennington SS; Braden LHP.

Jays — Snider LF, Escobar SS, Bautista RF, Wells CF, Lind DH, Hill 2B, Overbay 1B, Encarnacion 3B, Molina C; Morrow RHP.

–Kurt Suzuki and Kevin Kouzmanoff are each getting standard days off. Seems like good timing for Kouzmanoff, who’s in a 1-for-23 funk at the plate.

–Let’s throw a question out for discussion. How would you like to see the A’s handle their outfield rotation right now? Coco Crisp is going to play regularly and Rajai Davis’ speed makes him an asset to keep in the lineup. I think the A’s need to get an extended look at both Conor Jackson and Travis Buck to decide where (or if) they fit into the mix for next season. And you figure things will get more crowded if Chris Carter and Michael Taylor get called up at some point in September. With Jack Cust struggling right now, I wouldn’t mind seeing Jackson get some DH time (might save his hamstring a bit) and let Buck play the outfield with Crisp and Davis.

–Andrew Bailey estimated he threw about 18 pitches in a simulated game with Gabe Gross and Steve Tolleson standing in. It went well, but both Bailey and manager Bob Geren said he could use another outing to sharpen his stuff. Could be another simulated game or perhaps a minor league outing. But as things stand, it’s still looking good for Bailey to come off the DL during this homestand.

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Random notes and thoughts as A’s try to avoid a sweep

Last game of the series here at Target Field, and the stadium generally has gotten a thumbs-up from everyone in the A’s traveling party. One of the nice touches I haven’t mentioned yet: Behind the center field fence, there’s a huge Twins logo on display. This is the classic logo from the Twins’ early days and it’s recently been resurrected. It features two ballplayers shaking hands — one wearing a Minnesota patch and the other wearing a St. Paul patch. The Twin Cities co-exisiting in harmony … get it???

–There’s no big shakeup with today’s A’s lineup. Perhaps Bob Geren is playing the percentages. The A’s are 28-11 in day games this year, best mark in the majors. They’re also 23-11 in the final game of a series, which makes sense in that many series finales are played during the day.

The lineups:

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

Twins — Span CF, Hudson 2B, Mauer C, Kubel RF, Cuddyer 1B, Thome DH, Valencia 3B, Repko LF, Casilla SS; Slowey RHP.

Among the topics Geren covered in his morning media chat:

–He said Rajai Davis definitely should not have gotten picked off second base last night. “He wasn’t going anywhere. If you’re not stealing on that particular pitch, you don’t want to get picked off.” But Geren also is aware that a player with a base stealer’s mentality is going to be more aggressive and take more chances, so he wasn’t too ticked at Davis. “If you have the ability to steal 100 bases, you’re going to get picked off every now and then.”

–Conor Jackson could be activated from the disabled list during the upcoming homestand, but Geren didn’t get more specific on a timetable. He did not come out and say that Jackson will be the full-time left fielder. “He’ll play a lot, whether it’s every day or not is hard to say. (Much will depend) on how he feels. He’s been off for a while and we want to make sure he’s healthy day to day.”

Does that mean Chris Carter stays with the big league club and continues getting time in left field when Jackson returns? “When Conor comes back, we’ll talk about the rest of the guys,” Geren said. … He also said he saw Carter in the video room this morning and chatted with him for a few minutes. “He just hasn’t gotten a lot to hit yet,” Geren said. “They’ve made some good pitches on him. His confidence is not shaken.”

–Andrew Bailey threw 20 pitches off the mound — mixing in his fastball, curve and cutter — and by all accounts it was a positive step in the closer’s rehab from a rib cage injury. Geren said it’s still being decided what Bailey’s next step will be. “He probably needs a couple more times off the mound, whether (in a) simulated (game) or rehab (game). Obviously it was a big step throwing at that effort level and throwing all of his pitches. It was a positive thing.”

–This morning in the clubhouse, I heard Gabe Gross singing the chorus to “When I See You Smile” by Bad English. It’s not my favorite ’80s power ballad, but you’ve gotta respect a man’s right to belt it out … Check out the video if you want to see some sweet hair …

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The “contact” play — good or bad for the A’s?

Leftover thoughts from last night as the A’s try to even this three-game series with the Twins …

–You might have noticed the A’s have had quite a few runners at third base thrown out on the “contact” play. Basically, when the A’s have a runner on third and one out, the runner breaks for home on a ground ball immediately on contact. It’s a gamble the A’s think is worth it. By going on contact, there’s a good chance the runner scores if the infielder has to move laterally at all to field a ball. Problem is, we’ve seen lots of instances where balls have been hit directly at defenders, leaving the runner a dead duck between third and home. It happened last night, when Daric Barton got caught in a rundown on a sharp grounder that Kurt Suzuki hit to Twins third baseman Danny Valencia.

A’s manager Bob Geren pointed out last night that many teams around the majors run the “contact” play with one out. (It wouldn’t make sense to do it with no outs because if a runner holds at third on a groundout, the next batter can still score him with a sacrifice fly.) … But considering how many runners the A’s have lost in this situation, you have to wonder if they’re better off holding a runner on a grounder and seeing if someone can follow up with a two-out base hit.

Hopefully I didn’t lose you with that whole discussion, but the “contact” play seems to be doing the A’s more harm than good this year …

–The plan is for Andrew Bailey to throw off the mound Sunday for the first time since he went on the disabled list July 30. Bailey (rib cage strain) says he’s eager to give it a go and see how he feels. Even if he feels terrific, I would think it could be another week or so before he’s activated. He’ll need to throw multiple bullpen sessions or perhaps in a minor league game or two to get his arm in shape. Geren said that how Bailey feels after Sunday’s session would help dictate the plan …

–Lost in the details of Friday’s game: Barton hit the ball hard in four of his at-bats, including two liners right at outfielders. He said before tonight’s game that he sees the ball well here at Target Field …

The lineups:

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

Twins — Span CF, Hudson 2B, Mauer C, Kubel RF, Cuddyer 1B, Thome DH, Young LF, Valencia 3B, Casilla SS; Duensing LHP.

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Lineups and pregame updates

Here’s tonight’s lineups:

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

Twins — Span CF, Hudson 2B, Mauer DH, Cuddyer 1B, Kubel RF, Young LF, Valencia 3B, Casilla SS, Butera C; Pavano RHP.

–Conor Jackson played nine innings with Single-A Stockton last night and will join Triple-A Sacramento tonight. Looks like his return is just around the corner. … Andrew Bailey had another good day of long toss, but still no word on when he’ll get on the mound.

That’s all for now. The essential news of the day was in my earlier post … First impression of Target Field is a strong one. It’s built on a very small plot of land and there’s a pretty cozy feeling inside. The stadium opens up in right field to display the downtown skyline. That always scores points w/me …

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Injury news continues for A’s — Adam Rosales to DL, Michael Ynoa likely to have Tommy John surgery

Here’s an early post since there’s news to report from Target Field, which still has that new ballpark smell to me …

–The A’s placed Adam Rosales on the disabled list with a stress fracture in his right ankle, and the plan is for him to rest for four weeks. Considering it’s mid-August, it seems possible Rosales could be shelved the rest of the season, though assistant GM David Forst said it’s too early to tell.

The bigger long-term concern for the A’s came with today’s news that prized pitching prospect Michael Ynoa will undergo elbow surgery Aug. 24, and the A’s expect him to have ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction — or Tommy John surgery. Dr. Lewis Yocum will handle the procedure, and Forst said the exact work to be done won’t be known until Yocum begins operating. Deja vu, wouldn’t you say? Just two days ago, you read that Ben Sheets will have UCL reconstruction. This news regarding Ynoa, 18, obviously is troubling for the A’s considering how highly touted he is and how much money is invested in him. The A’s gave him a $4.25 million bonus in July 2008, the biggest bonus a major league team had ever given an international amateur who wasn’t from Cuba. The typical recovery time frame from this surgery is anywhere from 12 to 18 months.

Perhaps it’s best for Ynoa and the A’s that he’s getting this out of the way now. Tommy John surgery is a rather common procedure these days and lots of pitchers recover from it fully (Andrew Bailey, for one, had it in college). But when will the parade of A’s pitchers having Tommy John surgery end? Since the start of the 2008 season, Joey Devine, Josh Outman, Dan Giese, John Meloan, Fautino De Los Santos, Ben Sheets and Ynoa have either had the procedure or are scheduled to have it. That’s a lot of arms on the mend …

I’ll have another update after Bob Geren gives his daily media address …