PRE-GAME NOTES: Another rookie debut, this time it’s not for the A’s

In for John Hickey, who’s making a head start to Houston …

It’s a murky, wet morning at the Coliseum and less than an hour before game time, there’s couldn’t be more than 200 fans here at this point. It’ll be intriguing to see how many more straggle in. Thursday day games aren’t huge draws.

Lots of little tidbits today …

The A’s get their first look at Seattle right-hander Brandon Maurer, who will be making his major league debut today against A.J. Griffin. Maurer, 22, is a good success story, a 23rd-round draft pick in 2008 who has established himself as one of the most anticipated rookies in the American League. He has a fastball that registers between 92-96 and reportedly has a nasty slider. He was 3-1 with a 1.50 ERA in spring training.

–Hiro Nakajima (left hamstring strain) and Adam Rosales (intercostal strain) will remain in Oakland when the A’s hit the road and work with the rehab coordinator. Ultimately, both will start rehab assignments in the minor leagues, but Bob Melvin hinted that probably won’t occur until the team returns from its trip. So it’s going to be awhile for both guys. Nakajima can hit in the cage now and do some soft tossing. Rosales is just getting started with his rehab and he has to take it slow.

–Good news, Daric Barton fans. He cleared waivers and he’s still with the A’s. He’s been outrighted to Triple-A Sacramento, so we may not have seen the last of him after all. The A’s did lose right-handed pitcher Josh Stinson to a waiver claim (Orioles) after claiming him last week from Milwaukee. Oakland DFA’d Stinson after claiming right-handed pitcher Will Harris on Wednesday. So dizzying. No word on Travis Blackley just yet. Hopefully, he stays in the Oakland organization.

–The A’s minor league system starts play tonight. Triple-A Sacramento, which has many familiar players, plays at home against Las Vegas, while Class A Stockton, featuring shortstop phenom Addison Russell, opens its season at home against Bakersfield in the California League. Double-A Midland is also in action on the road. It always pays to keep one eye on what’s happening in Oakland’s system at all time, because a good number of guys wind up here. One’s starting today who came all the way from Double-A (Griffin) last year.

–Melvin was happy to see Cliff Pennington got the game-winning hit in the 16th inning for the Arizona Diamondbacks Wednesday night. “Everybody loves Penny here,” the manager said. No pie delivered by a mysterious Spiderman, though. Spanish broadcaster Manolo Hernandez suggested that the D’Backs drape the hero with a giant snake.

–Melvin isn’t whining about interleague issues as other managers surely will be over the first two months. The A’s don’t play an interleague series until late May. Besides, he’s a guy who has played in both leagues, and said he likes the dynamic of varying rules for each league.

–Broadcaster Ken Korach said his forthcoming book on Bill King received more than $7,000 in publishing pledges the first day (Wednesday) it was posted on the publisher’s website: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/430499270/holy-toledo

As I checked this morning, the book was just $100 from its goal of $9,000.

Can’t resist: Holy Toledo!


OAKLAND: CF Crisp, SS Lowrie, RF Reddick, DH Cespedes, 1B Moss, LF Young, C Jaso, 3B Donaldson, 2B Sogard. RHP Griffin

SEATTLE: RF Saunders, CF Gutierrez, DH Ibanez, LF Morse, 1B Smoak, 3B Seager, 2B Ackley, C Shoppach, SS Andino. RHP Maurer


Carl Steward