0

Michael Taylor should get a good look with A’s; Kurt Suzuki back in lineup

The lineups for the A’s-Rays series opener at Tropicana Field:

A’s – Weeks 2B, Pennington SS, Reddick RF, Cespedes CF, Gomes DH, Inge 3B, Suzuki C, Ka’aihue 1B, Taylor LF; Ross RHP.

TB – Jennings LF, Upton CF, Pena 1B, Joyce RF, Scott DH, Zobrist 2B, Rhymes 3B, Molina C, Rodriguez SS; Price LHP.

After that plunking Kurt Suzuki took on his left hand, I’m surprised to see him in the lineup tonight. But manager Bob Melvin said Suzuki wanted in there. “When I first saw it, I thought potentially it was something bad,” Melvin said. “His hand is swollen but not too bad. And he wanted to play. He’s a very tough kid. He plays with any number of injuries over the course of the season.”

It looks like Michael Taylor will get his first real shot at extended big league playing time. “At the big league level, you earn playing time,” Melvin said. “But with those lefties coming up (that the A’s face), we’re going to get a good look at him. It looks like this is his best opportunity. I don’t know if there’s going to be a better one at this point.”

It was just last week that Taylor flew to Baltimore to join the A’s just in case Coco Crisp couldn’t play with his inner ear infection. Taylor stayed just one day and was never activated. Crisp’s condition hasn’t gotten better, so he’s back in the Bay Area and will be examined by Dr. Allan Pont, the A’s physician. Taylor was in a Sacramento movie theatre when he got the call he was being promoted. He was watching “Think Like A Man,” but immediately left to go home and pack. “I saw about seven minutes of it,” Taylor said. “We got our money back.”

Playing the outfield at Tropicana Field can be tricky with the roof, the low lights and the rings of catwalks all making it tough to track the ball, but Taylor played some minor league games here while in the Phillies’ system. He attended high school in Apopka, Fla., — near Orlando – so he’s got about 10 people in attendance tonight, including his parents.

The Rays are rolling right now with a major league-best 18-8 record, and David Price has won his past three starts. Needless to say, it’s a pretty stiff test for the A’s this weekend, but they have to be feeling pretty good too after taking two of three from the Red Sox.

That’s all for now …

Joe Stiglich