Intriguing matchup vs. Chisox, Willingham drops suspension appeal and sits

In for Joe Stiglich tonight …

Interesting pitching matchup tonight. Brandon McCarthy goes for the A’s against the White Sox, the team that originally drafted him in 2002 and with whom he made his major-league debut in 2005. He’s only pitched once against them, picking up a win in 2009 while with the Texas Rangers, throwing five innings and allowing one run.

Then there’s the interesting case of Chicago starter Phil Humber. The A’s claimed him off waivers from the Kansas City Royals on Dec. 17, 2010, but when they subsequently acquired Guillermo Moscoso from the Texas Rangers on Jan. 8, 2011, they needed a spot for Moscoso on the 40-man roster and put Humber back on waivers themselves. The White Sox, who one Chicago writer told me  were hot on Humber before the A’s stepped in first, claimed him from Oakland on Jan. 15.

Long story short, Humber made the White Sox rotation and has pitched well. He’s 2-3 with a 2.97 ERA, and in the start before last, he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Yankees. He also pitched seven innings in his last start against Baltimore, allowing just three hits, but took the loss in a 2-1 outcome. Moscoso, meanwhile, is pitching for Triple-A Sacramento and doing decently: he’s 3-2 with a 3.13 ERA in seven appearances, six starts.

A’s news: Josh Willingham dropped the appeal of his one-game suspension, paid an undisclosed fine and is sitting out Friday night. Willingham said he just wanted to be done with it even though he still contends he was innocent of the claim that he bumped umpire Jim Miller in Kansas City last Saturday after being ejected for throwing his helmet after a called third strike. Ryan Sweeney starts in left tonight in Willingham’s place.

Andrew Bailey is scheduled to pitch in an extended spring training game tomorrow in Arizona. If it goes well, he could make a subsequent rehab appearance in Stockton or Sacramento.

Tonight’s lineups:

A’s: CF Crisp, 1B Barton, LF Sweeney, DH Matsui, C Suzuki, RF DeJesus, 2B Ellis, 3B Kouzmanoff, SS Pennington. P McCarthy

CWS: LF Pierre, SS Ramirez, DH Dunn, 1B Konerko, RF Quentin, C Pierzynski, CF Rios, 3B Vizquel, 2B Beckham. P Humber

Carl Steward