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Should A’s play the vets or the youngsters?

Some breaking news we just received: Conor Jackson was scratched from the A’s lineup with neck tightness, so Brandon Allen draws another start at first base. Manager Bob Melvin talked before the game about his first base situation, and the decision between playing Jackson and Allen. Jackson is hitting .313 since the All-Star break, and Melvin thinks that warrants him remaining in the lineup on a somewhat regular basis. So this isn’t a platoon situation at this point. But it does bring up an issue the A’s will face — how do they balance the playing time between veterans and young players who are brought up in the remaining weeks? You figure Michael Taylor and probably Chris Carter will be up in September, and with the A’s entire starting outfield heading for free agency, it stands to reason the younger players should be getting their share of at-bats.

Thoughts? Are you ready for young players like Allen to start getting the majority of starts, or would you stick with veterans who might give the A’s a chance to finish with a better record?

–Coco Crisp is back in the lineup after missing six games with a strained right calf. The A’s will take any lift they can get as they try to stop a seven-game losing streak to the Texas Rangers. Melvin said beating the Rangers is “a hurdle” the A’s need to clear, much like beating the Yankees, learning to win on the road, etc.

–Melvin said he’s confident Brandon McCarthy (right knee contusion) will make his next start Wednesday against Baltimore. But the real test comes tomorrow, when McCarthy is scheduled to throw his regular side session. That will be the big indicator of whether he’s ready.

–The A’s are exploring every avenue for improving their defense, Melvin said. That includes watching video of the good defense they’ve played in the past — “positive reinforcement,” as Melvin puts it. Clearly, the team thinks there’s more that goes into improving things than just taking extra grounders before the game. But I’m hearing there will also be a pitcher’s fielding practice soon, perhaps Monday. That would seem in order, given how much the pitchers have hurt themselves with errors.

The lineups:
A’s — Weeks 2B, Crisp CF, Matsui DH, Willingham LF, Sizemore 3B, DeJesus RF, Suzuki C, Allen 1B, Pennington SS; Harden RHP.

Rangers — KInsler 2B, Andrus SS, Hamilton CF, Young 3B, Cruz RF, Napoli C, Moreland 1B, Torrealba DH, Murphy LF; Harrison LHP.

Joe Stiglich