Andrew Bailey to have “clean-up” elbow surgery, miss rest of season; will Wednesday’s loss linger for A’s?

We know the A’s have their work cut out to keep the Texas Rangers from cracking open the champagne this weekend. Texas’ magic number is four, and two victories in this four-game series will give them their first AL West title since 1999. So we know the task that lies ahead for Oakland. But regardless of what happens on the scoreboard, I’m interested to see how much fire this team shows after Wednesday’s deflating loss to the White Sox. I think there’s big-time potential for the “hang-over” effect after such a defeat. And I would have said that even if the Rangers had lost last night and the A’s deficit remained at seven games. Yesterday was just a huge shift in momentum, and it’s going to be tough to snatch that back …

–News of the day: Closer Andrew Bailey will have “clean-up” surgery on his right elbow Friday in Pensacola, Fla. with Dr. James Andrews. That rules him out for the final 11 games. Most importantly for Bailey, he said his exam Thursday showed no ligament damage. Andrews will smooth out cartilage and other calcified build-up in his elbow that caused him pain over his recent outings. All indications are he should be fully recovered by spring training. “I guess you would call it the best-case scenario for surgery if they had to go in there,” Bailey said over the phone.

As for the rest of the bullpen, the A’s are likely to be short-handed again tonight. Manager Bob Geren said lefty Jerry Blevins (left shoulder soreness) is unavailable. Michael Wuertz (right thumb) was a question mark before batting practice, and Geren said he was unsure about Craig Breslow. But Breslow told me after Wednesday’s game he expected to be ready.

But there is a new injury revelation: Cliff Pennington’s left shoulder has been bothering him, Geren said, so Steve Tolleson starts at shortstop tonight. Pennington’s shoulder hurts him most when he’s swinging the bat, but Geren said he’s available for defensive purposes. “If he was available (in a full capacity), he’d be in there,” Geren said.

Tonight’s lineups:

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

Rangers — Andrus SS, Young 3B, Cruz LF, Guerrero DH, Kinsler 2B, Francoeur RF, Murphy CF, Cantu 1B, Teagarden C; Lee LHP.

Joe Stiglich

  • crister

    you have to feel bad for ziegler with yesterday’s loss. talk about a bummer. considering how little he’s been used and especially the second half of the season…has he pitched himself out of a roster spot for next year? sure he may have a decent era, but when you start looking at what kind of situations he’s been pitching in and his pretty drastic splits and the fact that he’s just not as affective this entire year as he was when he first came up, it doesn’t really add up to ziggy’s staying on the team through the winter.

    service time, performance, taking into account all the guys that should be coming back and the one or two that come out of nowhere every year and all of the sudden, a so so 7th inning righthanded soft tossing specialist that makes lefthanded batters trip over themselves to get to the plate doesn’t seem necessary.

  • scott no2

    Whew, I was worried Baily might need Tommy John. I mean most of the staff needs it. some twice.

  • Joe Stiglich

    You make good points about Ziegler, Crister. He doesn’t have enough service time to be up for arbitration yet, so he still won’t cost much $$$ next season. But others have taken on bigger roles in the bullpen. Henry Rodriguez has had some shaky moments, but you’d think he could play a bigger role in 2011 (although I also see Rodriguez as an attractive trading chip, perhaps part of a package for a hitter?).

    Whether Ziegler is part of next year’s ‘pen could also depend on if Joey Devine returns to health. Can’t forget about that guy …