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A’s, Giants lineups for Saturday

We’ll cut to the chase with the A’s and Giants lineups. It should be close to a sellout at Phoenix Municipal Stadium for the first meeting between the Bay Area teams. Attendance was much better for Friday’s game against Texas (4,448) than the A’s first two home games, and the weekend always brings bigger crowds …

A’s
Crisp CF
Barton 1B
Ellis 2B
Willingham DH
LaRoche 3B
Taylor RF
Powell C
Choice LF
Sogard SS

Anderson P

Giants
Rowand CF
Sanchez 2B
Tejada SS
Burrell LF
DeRosa 3B
Belt 1B
Schierholtz RF
Whiteside DH
Stewart C

Bumgarner LHP

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Rangers (at least some of them) face A’s in first spring matchup

The Texas Rangers roll into town today to play their first exhibition against the A’s, but it won’t be a real accurate representation of the squad the A’s will see in the regular season. Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre (who’s hurt) are not making the trip. But ace C.J. Wilson is on the mound.

The lineups:

A’s:
DeJesus RF
Suzuki C
Jackson 1B
Matsui DH
Kouzmanoff 3B
Carson CF
Carter LF
Tolleson SS
Weeks 2B

Braden LHP.

Rangers:
Borbon CF
German 2B
Moreland 1B
Barden DH
Davis 3B
Teagarden C
Deeds RF
Engel Beltre LF
Andres Blanco SS

Wilson LHP

–A’s manager Bob Geren said he sees David DeJesus as a good leadoff candidate when Coco Crisp doesn’t play. DeJesus has lots of experience atop the order from his time with the Royals. Mark Ellis and Cliff Pennington could also fill the role, according to Geren, but DeJesus is the most natural fit.

–Under-the-radar Athletic who is having a nice camp so far: Matt Carson. He homered yesterday and made a great catch slamming into the right field wall against the Brewers. He’s getting a start in center today.

–Outfielder Ryan Sweeney thinks about three weeks is needed for him to get his timing at the plate and be ready for the regular season. He’s scheduled to play in his first game Wednesday – he’s been brought along slowly while he recovers from knee surgery – and that would give him three weeks before the April 1 opener. “In batting practice, everything feels great. It’s just the timing in games,” he said. Sweeney was scheduled to face Andrew Bailey and Craig Breslow this morning in batting practice. He said he’s been shagging flies and his knee feels good.

–Reliever Joey Devine reached the 92-93 mph range in his last outing Wednesday, and Geren said his slider was sharp too. That’s a good sign for the A’s, obviously, and if Devine continues to round into form in Cactus League games, one of the seven bullpen spots surely is his. Speaking of relievers, Michael Wuertz threw 30 pitches yesterday off the mound and his shoulder came out of it fine. He’ll throw off the mound at least one more time before facing hitters. “He’s the kind of guy who doesn’t need 10 to 12 outings,” Geren said. “It could be five or six and he’ll be ready to go.”

–Rich Harden (side muscle injury) played catch at 80 feet today, but there’s no word on when he’ll get back on the mound.

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Apologetic Crisp addresses reporters over DUI arrest

Thought I’d provide you a full block of Coco Crisp’s quotes that pretty much sum up his feelings on his DUI arrest. I’ll leave my original post below in case you haven’t read that …

“I can’t really go into too much details right now, I guess those will come out later. I guess I can just pretty much say how I feel about the whole situation. Obviously, embarrassment is one of the main feelings. My family has called me. A lot of people look up to me. This is obviously a decision that wasn’t the right decision. One thing that I don’t want to ever be that I am right now, I feel like I’m a distraction. And the sooner that this can get out of the clubhouse, the better. I’ll deal with it myself.

“To all my fans, obviously there’s two different types: Ones that love to razz me because of my name and those ones that love to cheer me on. I apologize to all of them — the team, Major League Baseball. I just want to get this behind me. I guarantee that this will never happen again. I’ve just got to make better decisions moving forward.”

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A’s center fielder Coco Crisp addressed the media before the team took the field Thursday morning and apologized for his DUI arrest. He said he couldn’t share details about the incident, but I have to say his words came across sincere. “A lot of people look up to me,” he said, speaking quietly with reporters gathered around his locker. “This is obviously a decision that wasn’t the right decision. The sooner I can get this out of the clubhouse, the better.” What he’s most sorry for, he said, was that the story became a distraction in the clubhouse for his teammates. “I can guarantee you this will never happen again.”

Crisp hasn’t addressed his teammates about the situation. He said he would be willing to talk to everyone as a group if the front office asked him to, but it sounds as if he won’t take the initiative himself to do that. Manager Bob Geren penciled Crisp into today’s starting lineup against the Brewers but otherwise declined to address Crisp’s arrest. Crisp said he received some words of advice from team management. Perhaps that had to do with what to say to the media, or perhaps it had to do with life choices and how to make sure the same mistake never happens again. All I know is this news shook up what was an otherwise tranquil and non-eventful A’s camp to this point. Aside from a few minor injuries, things have proceeded according to the team’s plan. I don’t expect Crisp’s arrest to have a lingering effect on the team as a whole. But the state of Arizona tends to be very tough on DUI infractions, so we don’t know what’s in store for Crisp from a legal standpoint …

–Here’s the lineup against Milwaukee:

Crisp CF
Barton 1B
Willingham LF
Jackson DH
LaRoche 3B
Carson RF
Timmons 2B
Donaldson C
Sogard SS

Cahill RHP

–In other AL West news, defending division champion Texas will be without third baseman Adrian Beltre for longer than expected due to his calf injury, according to an espn.com story. The Rangers expect him to still be OK for opening day, but that’s an issue worth keeping an eye on.

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Report: A’s center fielder Coco Crisp arrested on suspicion of DUI

A’s center fielder Coco Crisp was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, according to a Comcast SportsNet Bay Area report. Crisp has yet to comment, but he is at the stadium now and in uniform. The team is expected to release a statement soon. I’ll have a story posted at www.contracostatimes.com as soon as more information becomes available …

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Chris Carter draws start at first base, and other A’s updates

It’s a slow news day in A’s land.

Here’s the starting nine vs. the Indians, who have former Athletics Travis Buck and Jack Hannahan in their lineup:

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

Cramer LHP

–Chris Carter is playing first base just a day after manager Bob Geren said he’d stay primarily in the outfield. But things are pretty fluid w/spring training lineups. Daric Barton is still only playing every other day and Conor Jackson played the past two days at first and is getting a rest. That leaves Carter as the remaining option to play first (Sean Doolittle, another young prospect, isn’t game-ready yet as he comes back from knee surgery).

–Other updates: Shortstop Cliff Pennington’s debut likely will be Sunday, when the A’s play split-squad games against the Padres in Peoria and the Brewers at home in Phoenix. Andrew Bailey and Craig Breslow will throw to hitters Friday, and Michael Wuertz will throw off the mound Thursday. Outfielder Ryan Sweeney should make his exhibition debut sometime early next week. …

That’s all, short and sweet for this morning …

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Random A’s notes: Josh Outman’s crazy number; Daric Barton and bunting; no outfield for Hideki Matsui in near future

The A’s hold their Cactus League home opener against Cincinnati today, but is there such thing as a home opener when the team is 645 miles away from Oakland? (That’s the distance between Phoenix and Oakland that I found online anyway, and I’m going with it).

–David DeJesus (illness) is feeling much better today and he actually has some color in his face. He’s not in the lineup, but he did some bunting in the cage this morning. DeJesus could play Wednesday against the Indians.

Today’s lineup:
Crisp CF
Barton 1B
Willingham LF
Jackson RF
Carter DH
Powell C
LaRoche 2B
Timmons 3B
Sogard SS

Gonzalez P (followed by Brett Anderson)

–Conor Jackson draws a start in right field, as manager Bob Geren wants him to get innings in left and right field, as well as first base in spring training. Chris Carter is at DH, but he’ll continue to get lots of outfield time in the Cactus League despite Monday’s adventures in left field, Geren said.

–I see Josh Outman taking the mound wearing No. 88, and I can’t help but think he aspires to be an NFL wide receiver. Outman gave up No. 55 to Hideki Matsui when the A’s signed the designated hitter, but Outman wasn’t married to that number anyway. But he did wear No. 8 in college and in the minor leagues, so you could see how the wheels turned in his head when he needed to choose new digits. “Fifty-five was the number given to me when I was called up in 2008. It was just the number Vuc (A’s equipment manager Steve Vucinich) gave to me,” he said. “Suzuki’s No. 8, and I know it’s taboo for a pitcher to wear single digits. I figured nobody’s ever going to want 88. I figured if I can play 15 years, I’ll be able to keep 88 for 15 years. You get comfortable with a number. You get comfortable with a pair of shoes.” A wacky number fits this guy pretty good. I think I’ve mentioned before that Outman has some under-the-radar nuttiness going in his personality.

–Last season, Daric Barton had 12 sacrifice bunts, the most by any major league first baseman since Rod Carew had 16 in 1982. Being able to bunt a guy over is a useful skill for a No. 2 hitter, but several times last year, Barton decided to bunt on his own as opposed to getting the bunt sign. Most of those came in the first half of the season, and Geren said he talked with Barton midway through last season about being more aggressive and swinging the bat more to try advancing guys. Geren said he’ll give Barton the bunt sign when it’s warranted, but will take away the voluntary sacrifice bunt option “just because he’s too valuable,” Geren said. “He’s too good of a hitter to give himself up.”

Interesting stuff, and I think the A’s are a better offensive team if Barton takes a more aggressive approach at the plate.

–Geren has no plans to use Hideki Matsui in the outfield in the near future. “In a perfect season, he would just DH, with the possibility of some outfield in interleague play,” Geren said. “His legs feel good and I want for him to feel that way all through the season.”

–Sunday is a possibility for shortstop Cliff Pennington to play in his first exhibition, as the A’s have split-squad games that day and will need every body available.

That’s all for now …