There was some pretty surprising news today from the A’s clubhouse, as Kila Ka’aihue was designated for assignment and Brandon Moss was called up from Triple-A Sacramento to start at first base. True, Ka’aihue was only hitting .234 with four homers and 14 RBIs. But when Daric Barton was sent down Saturday, it seemed to clear the path for Ka’aihue to grow some roots at the position. Now the A’s have 10 days to trade him, release him or send him to the minors. But because Ka’aihue is out of options, he must first clear waivers before he can go the minors. So it’s the same as the Brandon Allen situation — the A’s wanted to retain Allen after he was designated, but Allen was claimed by Tampa Bay (and Allen, in a weird coincidence, was DFA’d by the Rays on Wednesday).
So the A’s began spring camp with Daric Barton, Ka’aihue and Allen battling to be the starting first baseman, and now none of them are on the major league roster anymore. Moss, 28, had a sensational spring for the A’s but didn’t make the club. He’s hit 15 homers with 33 RBIs in 51 games for SAcramento, and he had four homers in his past five games with the River Cats. But it was a tough break for Ka’aihue, who fought just to make the team out of camp and seemed to have finally secured the first base job. Moss had a clause in his contract that allowed him to become a free agent if he wasn’t on the big league club by June 15, and A’s manager Bob Melvin said that played a role in the decision-making. “It was difficult to let Kila go, but sometimes you have to make tough moves, and this was one of them,” said Melvin, who called the move “an organizational decision.” He said Ka’aihue took the news well.
Moss — who has logged time in the majors with Boston, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia — was thrilled when he got word from Sacramento manager Darren Bush that he was being called up to the bigs. The River Cats spent Tuesday night in Tacoma, Wash., and Bush knocked on Moss’ hotel room door to deliver the news. “I thought he was the pizza guy,” Moss said. It turns out that Moss’ pizza came about five minutes after Bush knocked. So in a very short span, dinner was served and Moss found out he was going to the majors. “It was the greatest 10 minutes of my life,” Moss said with a laugh.
–Coco Crisp, hitting .164, returned to center field after sitting for three games. That means Collin Cowgill, who is hitting .419 over an eight-game hitting streak, returned to the bench. This will be a decision the A’s wrestle with until (or if) Crisp breaks out of his slump: Do they stick with Crisp, who is making $14 million on a two-year contract? Or do they give the fiery Cowgill more playing time and see if he has some staying power in the majors? Melvin acknowledged that it’s tough to sit Crisp when he’s making the money he is. “Coco is a guy we need,” Melvin said.
–It sounds like bad news on the injury front for reliever Andrew Carignan. He was placed on the 15-day DL with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament, and Melvin said Tommy John surgery might be considered. Right-handed reliever Evan Scribner was called up to take his bullpen spot.