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Bailey diagnosed with strained forearm — news could have been worse for A’s

Here’s a few updates following the A’s 8-1 loss to the Cubs. …

–The team issued a release saying closer Andrew Bailey was diagnosed with a strained right forearm, and that he can begin throwing again when he’s pain-free. Bailey was examined Tuesday in Alabama by Dr. James Andrews. He had no swelling or structural damage, which means surgery isn’t in the cards as things stand. That’s relatively good news for the A’s and Bailey, who looked to be in considerable pain when he left Monday’s outing against Cleveland. “While there’s no timetable for his return, this is welcome news,” A’s GM Billy Beane said in the release.

–Fellow reliever Michael Wuertz (right shoulder) made his Cactus League debut with a scoreless seventh inning. He gave up one hit with one walk and one strikeout, mixing in fastballs, sliders and changeups. “It was nice to get out there in a game situation,” he said. “I had to battle to get out of that inning. Overall, it was a positive outing for me.” He’s confident he’ll squeeze enough games in to be ready by opening night.

–Left-hander Brett Anderson went 5 2/3 innings and allowed one run and three hits in his best outing of the spring. The only damage came on Brett Jackson’s solo homer in the sixth. “I got five or six ground balls on my changeup, which is good,” Anderson said. The lefty said earlier in the spring that he’s inclined to throw his slider rather than experiment with a changeup he doesn’t feel real comfortable with. But pitching coach Ron Romanick is stressing the importance for all A’s starters to utilize their change. “You’ve gotta have that third dimension to be a front-line starter, especially in the American League,” said Romanick. He noted that Anderson is also busting right-handers inside more with his fastball instead of solely relying on his slider.

–The A’s dropped their other split-squad game 4-3 to the Kansas City Royals in Surprise. Right-hander Brandon McCarthy was solid in 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits. He struck out four and walked none, continuing to make a strong case for the fifth starter’s spot along with Tyson Ross and Bobby Cramer. The other No. 5 candidate, Josh Outman, pitches Thursday against the Cubs and needs to turn around his fortunes to remain in the conversation.

Shortstop Cliff Pennington started against the Royals and had two right-handed at-bats, lining an RBI single up the middle in one of them. It’s the first time Pennington, a switch hitter, has hit from the right side in a game this spring as he’s coming off shoulder surgery.

Joe Stiglich