Struggling Barton gets a day off

Daric Barton is out of the lineup tonight, which manager Bob Geren is calling a mental and physical day off. I talked to Barton this afternoon, and he wishes he was in there. He likes hitting in Anaheim. He’s a Southern California guy and would prefer to play when the A’s are here. But he also said he understands why Geren sat him considering his hitting struggles. Barton is 2 for 30 (.067) over his past nine games. If you watched the game last night, you saw him blow his top when he was called out on that close 6-3 putout, a play that landed Angels shortstop Erick Aybar on the ESPN highlights. That wasn’t the only play that had Barton steamed. He thought a ball he hit down the left-field line in his second at-bat landed fair, but it was called foul. “If I go 2 for 4, I’m probably in the lineup tonight,” he said.

It’s a long season, and the bad calls probably even out with the favorable calls over 162 games, so there’s only so much stock to be put in that. The A’s had Barton out taking extra swings before batting practice today. Conor Jackson draws the start at first in his place.

–Josh Willingham is not playing. He’s still got some stiffness after tweaking a back muscle last night and leaving the game. Sounds like he won’t be available in any capacity, but the injury is considered minor.

–Without coming out and directly saying it, Geren gave indication the A’s would call up a catcher to fill Kurt Suzuki’s roster spot when Suzuki leaves Wednesday on paternity leave. Willingham’s injury would seem to assure a catcher is called up since Willingham would normally be the A’s emergency catcher. Consider Josh Donaldson the likely choice to be promoted, as I wrote a couple days ago. …

The lineups:
A’s – Crisp CF, DeJesus RF, Jackson 1B, Matsui DH, Suzuki C, Sweeney LF, Ellis 2B, Kouzmanoff 3B, Pennington SS; McCarthy RHP.

Angels – Aybar SS, Abreu DH, Hunter RF, Wells LF, Callaspo 3B, Kendrick 1B, Conger C, Bourjos CF, Amarista 2B; Chatwood RHP.

Joe Stiglich