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A’s relievers still being handled carefully; the batting order takes shape

Hideki Matsui makes his A’s debut today, but don’t read too much into the rest of the lineup against the Angels with so many regulars getting the day off. David DeJesus is still trying to shake off a stomach bug, but it’s possible he’ll play tomorrow against the Reds. Here’s your starting nine:

Ellis 2B
Suzuki C
Matsui DH
Jackson 1B
Kouzmanoff 3B
Carson CF
Carter LF
Taylor RF
Tolleson SS

Braden P

**Joel Pineiro is on the hill for the Angels.

–Michael Wuertz is scheduled to throw off the mound Thursday for the first time since his shoulder soreness started. Fellow reliever Craig Breslow has had some tenderness in his throwing arm, according to manager Bob Geren, so there’s no indication yet when he’ll appear in a game. Closer Andrew Bailey is probably 5-7 days away from his first game. Those are three key guys in the bullpen, but I’d attribute their inactivity to the A’s precaution as opposed to anything seriously bothering any of these guys. The plan has been to limit their throwing early to preserve them for the regular season.

–A little insight into the batting order: Geren said he wants a right-handed hitter to bat behind Hideki Matsui (the likely No. 5 hitter). He mentioned Kurt Suzuki, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Mark Ellis as possibilities for the sixth spot. So bit by bit, we can piece together how the order will look. If I had to project right now, I’d say: Crisp, Barton, DeJesus, Willingham, Matsui, Kouzmanoff/Suzuki, Ellis, Pennington.

How would that lineup strike you, A’s fans?

Joe Stiglich

  • H2

    Kouz behind Matsui sounds like double plays galore. A hitter prone to hitting into double plays hitting behind a player who can’t run because of bad knees. I sure hope Zuk hits 6th and not Kouz

  • jclay09

    That’s the lineup I’d go with as well, with one minor change. Suzuki, Kouz, and Ellis all being interchangable based on who is the hottest bat at the time. All are streak hitters, especially Kouzmanoff, and when they’re on it’s best to move them up and take advantage.

    Against tough lefties, I’d probably change the middle and roll Willingham, Matsui, Dejesus… maybe Kouzmanoff at 5 if he’s streaking, or even Conor Jackson if he is ever actually healthy and starting in place of DD or DB.