Greetings on a splendid afternoon at AT&T Park, where the A’s have a 10-game losing streak which they’ll try to snap today. That’s tied for the third-longest losing streak at a road ballpark in Oakland history. The A’s lost 12 straight at Milwaukee’s County Stadium from 1992-95. They turn to right-hander Tyson Ross to help turn things around, and after his six shutout innings against the Angels last time out, you figure Ross will have some confidence going ….
–It seems Coco Crisp (inner ear infection) will be back in the lineup soon, we just don’t know when. A’s manager Bob Melvin said he’ll talk with Crisp after the game as the team decides the next course of action for the outfielder. That could include activating him Sunday, it could include a minor league rehab assignment. “That’s going to be up to him,” Melvin said. “We can’t force him to do that. That’s up to him.”
–Yoenis Cespedes checked out good during his doctor examination last night, but the center fielder still isn’t swinging a bat. Melvin didn’t predict when that would happen, but he said it was unlikely to be Sunday. So although Cespedes is eligible to come off the DL on Tuesday, that’s looking very unlikely. And since it appears Crisp will definitely be back before Cespedes, I’ll speculate that we’ll see Crisp play some center field until Cespedes returns from his left hand injury. Josh Reddick gets the call in center today, with Collin Cowgill out of the lineup and Seth Smith playing right field to get another lefty bat in there against Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong.
—-One last injury update: Left-hander Brett Anderson has been shut down for a few days with forearm tightness, although Melvin stressed he is not greatly concerned about him. “He’s so far ahead of schedule, we’re going to slow him down for a few days. It’s miraculous he got to this point so fast.”
It’s very common for pitchers coming off Tommy John surgery to hit snags on the comeback trail, and Anderson really hasn’t had any until now. I’ll keep you updated on his status …
A’s – Weeks 2B, Pennington SS, Reddick CF, Gomes LF, Smith RF, Donaldson 3B, Barton 1B, Suzuki C, Ross RHP.
Giants – Blanco RF, Crawford SS, Cabrera LF, Posey C, Pagan CF, Belt 1B, Arias 3B, Burriss 2B, Vogelsong RHP.
–The first base merry-go-round continues, as Daric Barton draws his second straight start there. Melvin says he thinks Barton looks more comfortable at the plate and defensively than at any time he’s seen him. Barton got a key pinch-hit in Thursday’s win at Texas, and he went 2 for 4 last night. “We’re starting to make strides with him,” Melvin said. Part of the change he sees is Barton being more aggressive at the plate, swinging at more first-pitch strikes. And I know for many A’s fans, Barton’s penchant for taking a called third strike is the most frustrating thing about watching him. Hitting coach Chili Davis has worked with Barton to be more aggressive. “You don’t go up there looking for a walk,” Melvin said. “If the first pitch is there, and it’s a first-pitch fastball, have at it. We want him to be aggressive, (and) everybody.”
–After Jarrod Parker’s early exit last night, the A’s bullpen is pretty taxed. Melvin mentioned two, possibly three, relievers could be unavailable. He mentioned Jerry Blevins and Pedro Figueroa as two guys that have been worked pretty good. Might the A’s call up a reliever in the next day or two? “Maybe,” Melvin replied. He said Travis Blackley is available for long relief today. But it’s worth noting that Graham Godfrey was pulled early from his start for Triple-A Sacramento last night, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him brought up in the next couple days for bullpen depth.