It’s the thinnest of benches for the A’s tonight. Jemile Weeks is sitting out after fouling a ball off his right instep last night. Scott Sizemore, as expected, won’t play after taking a pitch in the jaw area last night. With the A’s carrying just three bench players (and eight pitchers), that leaves Ryan Sweeney as the only healthy position player available off the bench for manager Bob Melvin.
Conor Jackson draws the start at third, Eric Sogard is playing second and backup catcher Landon Powell is playing first. Sogard has played lots of second base in his career, so it would seem the bigger concerns are Jackson and Powell on the corners. Both took extra work before the game, but keep an eye on whether the Tigers try laying down some bunts early on. Powell appeared in six games at first base in 2009 (four starts) and entered one game at first as a substitute last season. He’s taken grounders this season as a way to stay ready. Jackson has made a couple of appearances at third this season, but he’s much more comfortable at first and in the outfield.
Melvin said he’s hopeful that Weeks and Sizemore both will return for Friday’s series opener against the Yankees (Sizemore shares that hope). Melvin considered Weeks available in a pinch tonight. Sizemore, who took a fastball off the jaw and neck, said his neck is the bigger issue right now. When he simulates standing at the plate, he can’t turn his head all the way toward the pitcher. But Melvin noted that Sizemore’s face was less swollen than last night.
More updates …
–Right-hander Tyson Ross will test his sore shoulder with a bullpen session Friday in Sacramento.
–It was 95 degrees at first pitch, which makes the Christmas theme going on tonight at Comerica Park all the more odd. I saw a big Christmas float outside the stadium that said “Season’s Greetings”, and then heard “White Christmas” and “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” playing during batting practice. Not sure what that’s all about, but “roasting” at least is appropriate for today …
A’s — Crisp CF, Pennington SS, Willingham LF, Matsui DH, Jackson 3B, Suzuki C, DeJesus RF, Powell 1B, Sogard 2B; McCarthy RHP.
Tigers — Jackson CF, Boesch LF, Ordonez RF, Cabrera 1B, Martinez DH, Guillen 2B, Avila C, Kelly 3B, Santiago SS; Below LHP.