The A’s have been exceedingly cautious with their key bullpen guys. Andrew Bailey, Michael Wuertz and Craig Breslow have yet to pitch in a game this spring, but that changes today when Bailey takes the mound for the first time against Kansas City. Bailey, who was shut down in September to have bone chips and spurs removed on his right elbow, has looked great in his side sessions but this will be the first real test. He’s not on any real pitch limit, and manager Bob Geren says he’ll go an inning.
Wuertz has had one side session throwing BP so far and will have another Saturday, with a tentative first game appearance next Tuesday. Breslow is the most worrisome case at the moment with a nagging hamstring issue that cropped while he was conditioning after a BP mound stint Monday. It’s unsure when he’ll throw, and his situation is day-to-day. Not to the panic stage yet, though.
Elsewhere, Daric Barton is still feeling some calf stiffness after his Sunday collision, and even though he was originally in today’s lineup, had to be scratched after testing it. Maybe Friday, says Geren. Rich Harden continues to progress with long-toss sessions and may be ready for a mound stint soon, probably BP at first before a game. Adam Rosales, who is not projected to be ready by Opening Day following offseason foot surgery, is doing some light work.
Here’s today’s A’s lineup: CF Crisp, C Suzuki, LF Willingham, DH Matsui, 3B Kouzmanoff, 2B LaRoche, RF Carson, 1B Timmons, SS Pennington. Brett Anderson starts.
The Royals, if you’re keeping score at home: CF Cain, 2B Getz, 1B Butler, 3B Betemit, RF Maier, LF Gordon, DH Myers, C Perez, SS Bianchi. Will Smith starts for KC. No, not that Will Smith.
The A’s will play a split-squad Friday, with Gio Gonzalez and Tyson Ross scheduled to start in the respective games, one in Phoenix and the other in Maryvale.
Joe Torre had some nice things to say about Hideki Matsui as he was making the rounds as MLB’s new VP of baseball operations Wednesday. You can find his comments here: http://tinyurl.com/4vybzay