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It’s baseball in the shadows today at Angel Stadium

We’ve got a wacky 4:05 start time as the A’s try to avoid the sweep in Anaheim. As if A’s hitters needed anything else going against them. Now they get to face Dan Haren as the shadows are moving over Angel Stadium. The twilight hours are always tough on hitters. “It’s not going to be good out here today,” A’s second baseman Mark Ellis said. Not that he was looking to use the shadows as an excuse. Ellis has been struggling as much as any Athletic – he’s hitless in his last 16 at-bats – and he acknowledged that he and his teammates have to turn things around quickly.

Coco Crisp (left quad) and Josh Willingham (back) are both out of the lineup, though Willingham took some swings today and said he could have played if absolutely necessary. With a day off Thursday, the A’s want to maximize his rest so he comes back ready to go against Texas on Friday. “I still felt it but it’s a lot better,” Willingham said. “Hopefully I’ll play Friday.”

Crisp made himself scarce around the clubhouse before batting practice. Chatting with reporters about his injuries is not among Crisp’s favorite activities. So we’ll go with what manager Bob Geren told us: Crisp remains day-to-day and is unavailable in any capacity Wednesday. But Geren said the disabled list is not being considered.

Catcher Josh Donaldson was called up to take Kurt Suzuki’s roster spot. Donaldson was happy to get the promotion from Triple-A Sacramento but knows it will be short-lived. Suzuki’s wife had induced labor this morning so Suzuki is on paternity leave. But it seems possible that he could return Friday (no word yet on the birth of his baby). I’m not sure I’ve mentioned it before, but Donaldson is a dead-on Bill Clinton sound-alike. Close your eyes and you’d swear you were talking to the former President. Donaldson just needs to get that hand gesture down that Clinton used to do during his speeches. If Donaldson dyes his hair gray, he could have a second career, like Kevin Kline in “Dave.”

The lineups:

A’s – DeJesus RF, Barton 1B, Jackson LF, Matsui DH, Ellis 2B, Sweeney CF, Powell C, Kouzmanoff 3B, Pennington SS; Ross RHP.

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

Joe Stiglich