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A’s-Rangers makeup date set; Sweeney starts again, Matsui sits

It’s a gloomy afternoon at the Coliseum, as the A’s try to even the series with a White Sox team that’s suddenly playing very good ball. On to the news …

–The A’s and Texas Rangers will make up Wednesday’s rainout on July 7 in Arlington. That was scheduled to be an off-day leading into an Oakland-Texas series, but now the teams will just play a four-game series.

–Ryan Sweeney is swinging a hot bat, and it’s earning him some playing time. He’s back in left field for the A’s for a second straight day, hitting third. Josh Willingham is serving as DH, which pushes Hideki Matsui to the bench. It’s an encouraging sign for the A’s that Sweeney is forcing his way into the lineup, and it reflects well on the outfield depth that Bob Geren talked up during spring training. But it’s also a statement on Matsui’s struggles. He’s started just three of the A’s past six games and is hitting .236. Today is just the third time he hasn’t started against a right-handed pitcher. “It’s just kind of a thing where I wanted to get Sweeney in there because he’s swinging so well,” Geren said. “We’ll look at what happens today, but more than likely, (Matsui) will be back in there tomorrow.”

–Andrew Bailey threw 18 pitches in an extended spring game in Arizona. Geren said he recorded four outs and allowed one bloop hit. More importantly, Bailey was in the 92-94 mph range with his fastball and used all of his pitches. He’ll be re-evaluated in Oakland on Sunday, and if all goes well, he might begin a true rehab assignment.

The lineups:
A’s – Crisp CF, Barton 1B, Sweeney LF, Willingham DH, DeJesus RF, Suzuki C, Ellis 2B, Kouzmanoff 3B, Pennignton SS; Ross RHP.

White Sox – Pierre LF, Ramirez SS, Dunn DH, Konerko 1B, Quentin RF, Rios CF, Castro C, Beckham 2B, Morel 3B; Floyd RHP.

Joe Stiglich