Think back to the A’s starting rotation candidates during spring training … It figured Rich Harden might eventually get healthy and contribute for the big league club. Josh Outman, too. But who would have thought Guillermo Moscoso would play such an important role for the A’s in 2011? The right-hander makes his return tonight against Detroit, after being sent to Triple-A for a spot start as the A’s re-worked their rotation over the All-Star break. Moscoso takes a 2.16 ERA into the game in 10 appearances (eight starts), and he’s provided stability as injuries ravaged the starting staff. His outing will be key in setting the tone for the A’s on this five-game road trip through Detroit and New York …
–Josh Willingham is out of the lineup tonight, with Ryan Sweeney playing left field and Hideki Matsui serving as DH. A’s manager Bob Melvin is trying to be cautious with Willingham in the aftermath of his strained left Achilles. Melvin wanted to get Willingham back-to-back days off (including Monday’s off-day) and said that Willingham is likely to play all four remaining games of the trip.
–Tyson Ross came out of his throwing session well over the weekend and is likely to throw off the mound sometime this week before starting in a minor league game. Ross said during the last homestand that his oblique injury is healed, and now he’s trying to work through the soreness in his right shoulder.
–Coco Crisp will get a rest at some point this week, according to Melvin. Crisp was just 3 for 16 on the last homestand. Another player who I’m guessing will get a break soon — Jemile Weeks. He has started 35 straight games at second base since being called up. Unlike Crisp, Weeks is rolling at the plate, so it’s tough to take him out right now. He went 9 for 16 on the last homestand.
–Reliever Jerry Blevins was optioned to Triple-A to clear a spot for Moscoso. No big surprise there …
A’s — Weeks 2B, Sweeney LF, Crisp CF, Matsui DH, Sizemore 3B, DeJesus RF, Jackson 1B, Suzuki C, Pennington SS; Moscoso RHP.
Tigers — Jackson CF, Boesch LF, Ordonez RF, Cabrera 1B, Martinez DH, Peralta SS, Guillen 2B, Avila C, Inge 3B; Porcello RHP.