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Manny Ramirez to join Triple-A Sacramento on Saturday; Ka’aihue returns; A’s add a reliever

As I mentioned last night, it’s not often we get 4 p.m. games on the West Coast. But the Angels agreed to do this as a favor to the A’s, who have a long flight to Texas tonight for a series starting tomorrow against the Rangers. I find myself in “in-between” mode. It doesn’t really feel like a day game or a night game.

–The big news earlier today was the A’s announcement that Manny Ramirez is joining Triple-A Sacramento on Saturday to begin his 10-game minor league assignment. Josh Reddick, for one, said he is looking forward to Ramirez’s arrival. He got to know Ramirez pretty well during spring training, and said he was surprised at how friendly and outgoing Ramirez was. I had to ask: “Seriously? You expected Manny Ramirez to be a wallflower?”

“I thought he’d be a quiet veteran,” Reddick said. “But he came over to my locker every day and said good morning.”

Obviously the bigger question is what kind of impact Ramirez can make in the batter’s box. That remains to be seen, but perhaps his 10-game assignment with Sacramento will help provide a glimpse.

–Today’s lineups:

A’s: Weeks 2B, Pennington SS, Reddick RF, Smith LF, Ka’aihue DH, Donaldson 3B, Barton 1B, Suzuki C, Cowgill CF; Colon RHP.

Angels: Trout CF, Callaspo 3B, Pujols 1B, Morales DH, Trumbo RF, Kendrick 2B, Wells LF, Aybar SS, Wilson C; Santana RHP.

–Kila Ka’aihue said his injured hamstring started feeling a lot better yesterday, so he’s back in the lineup today. A’s manager Bob Melvin said Brandon Inge is doing better with his groin injury. He expects to have Inge back at third base by Thursday, the second game of the Texas series, but he didn’t rule out Inge playing tomorrow.

–The other pregame news of the day: The A’s claimed left-hadned reliever Travis Blackley off waivers from the Giants. He has yet to join the team, but he will serve in a long relief role once here. The A’s haven’t made a 25-man roster move yet, but they made room on the 40-man roster by transferring Joey Devine to the 60-day DL. Did this bullpen really need another lefty to join the four already here? No, but if the A’s have Blackley pegged for long relief, lefty-vs.-righty really doesn’t matter as much. And there’s no guarantee how long he’ll stick with the big club. With a long stretch of games with no days off, the A’s might shuttle relieves to and from the minors to keep arms fresh.

Blackley’s addition makes it four Australians in the organization – he joins relievers Grant Balfour and Rich Thompson and third baseman Luke Hughes (those latter two are with Sacramento). Melvin noted that Major League Baseball is considering holding an Opening Day in Australia.

“I think we’re posturing,” he joked.

Joe Stiglich