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Starting rotation plans and other pregame A’s notes

This weekend certainly hasn’t gone according to plan for the A’s, and it’s doubtful how much salvaging a win today will mean in the big picture. But certainly, the A’s need something positive to draw on as they disperse for the All-Star break. Here’s the pregame news coming out of the clubhouse:

–The starting rotation coming out of the break will go Brandon McCarthy against the Angels on Friday, Rich Harden and Trevor Cahill in Saturday’s doubleheader and Gio Gonzalez on Sunday. The fifth spot is still up for grabs, but the A’s won’t need that fifth starter until July 19 at Detroit, thanks to off-days. Guillermo Moscoso remains the favorite to return to the big league rotation and make that start. Tyson Ross (strained oblique) is still an option, but he’s struggled in two rehab starts with Triple-A Sacramento, giving up 13 hits and eight runs in just 5 1/3 innings. Ross is pitching for Single-A Stockton today (Sacramento is off). “You want a guy to have some success (in a rehab start), and I know he does as well,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.

With this setup, Harden will get eight days’ rest before his next start, as Melvin wants to make sure the right-hander is fresh and healthy (there’s no indication that Harden isn’t healthy). Trevor Cahill will get one extra day of rest for each of his next two starts (thanks to off-days), an idea Melvin also prefers.

–It’s no surprise that Conor Jackson isn’t in today’s lineup after the shot he took at first base last night from Elvis Andrus. Jackson said he’s “pretty sore in a bunch of places,” including his ribs. “I’ve never had a rib issue so I don’t know what to expect here,” Jackson said. “They’re not broken, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to raise my arms. It’s just like I took a Mike Tyson jab.”

I’ve never been punched by Tyson, but I imagine it can’t feel too good.

–Hideki Matsui is also out of the lineup, with Chris Carter as DH and Adam Rosales getting a rare start at first base. Melvin said he simply wanted to get Matsui a little extra rest with the All-Star break beginning Monday, and that Matsui will return to the No. 3 spot on Friday against the Angels. “He’ll never say it, but I really do feel like I extended him too much by playing him in the outfield a lot,” Melvin said. “He really wasn’t conditioned for it, but I needed him so badly.”

After the break, Melvin envisions Matsui drawing maybe two starts a week in left to allow Willingham to DH and get a bit of  rest.

Today’s lineups:

A’s — Weeks 2B, DeJesus RF, Crisp CF, Willingham LF, Sizemore 3B, Carter DH, Suzuki C, Rosales 1B, Pennington SS; Cahill RHP.

Rangers –Kinsler 2B, Andrus SS, Hamilton CF, Beltre 3B, Young DH, Cruz RF, Moreland 1B, Napoli C, Murphy LF; Harrison LHP.

Joe Stiglich