And the A’s second half begins … with a rain delay

It’s ugly here at Target Field right now. The heavy rain we had earlier has stopped, and the hope is that it’s gone for good tonight. But dark clouds remain. They recently turned the stadium lights on, but before that, it was bizarre how dark and empty this ballpark was. Fans are trickling in now, but I can’t think we’ll get a big turnout.

… Just as I finished writing that, it was announced that we will be delayed, with the new start time at 7:20 p.m. (CT). The second half is underway with a bang!!!

What an odd scene we had earlier. The A’s were unaware the tarp was on the field, and they had planned to get early work in to shake off rust from the All-Star break. All the players emerged from the dugout and just sort of stared at the tarp. For about 20 minutes, they congregated by the dugout, unsure what to do with themselves. Brandon Inge and Cliff Pennington finally started pitching to each other, just messing around. They looked like kids that were cooped up too long the past four days.

The lineups:
A’s — Crisp CF, Weeks 2B, Reddick RF, Cespedes DH, Carter 1B, Gomes LF, Norris C, Inge 3B, Hicks SS; Griffin RHP.

Twins — Span CF, Revere RF, Mauer DH, Willingham LF, Morneau 1B, Plouffe 3B, Dozier SS, Butera C, Carroll 2B; Liriano LHP.

–Yoenis Cespedes is having a bit of trouble squeezing his glove with his sprained left thumb, but it’s not so much an issue swinging the bat, so he’s at DH. A’s manager Bob Melvin said Cespedes will probably return to the outfield Saturday.

–Lefty reliever Pedro Figueroa was promoted from Triple-A to replace Jim Miller, who was placed on the paternity list. Melvin said Figueroa could see action in lefty matchup situations or perhaps pitch as long as two innings. As for Miller, his wife gave birth to a boy, Ethan James, who weighed in at 8 pounds, 10 ounces.

–The A’s added some bullpen depth by signing veteran Chris Ray and assigning him to Triple-A Sacramento.

–No more Mohawk for Jonny Gomes. He shaved his head over the break. “Mohawks are tough,” he explained. “When it’s time for a new Mohawk, you trade it in and you start fresh.”

Joe Stiglich