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Duchscherer seeking treatment for depression

Damon Lapa, the agent for A’s right-hander Justin Duchscherer, just informed media members that Duchscherer is seeking treatment for clinical depression and will miss the rest of the season. Lapa didn’t provide many other specifics on Duchscherer’s condition, and didn’t predict a timetable for when he could return to pitching. Lapa did describe the depression as a “very treatable form.”

“It’s something I think he’s been battling for some time, and he recently made the really difficult decision that he needs to put his career on hold for the time being and focus 100 percent of his efforts on his recovery,” Lapa said.

Duchscherer is a free agent after this season. He’s been out all season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow at the end of spring training, and also has been hindered by back problems.

A’s assistant GM David Forst said the A’s have been aware of Duchscherer’s condition for a while, but didn’t specify how long.

“Our only concern right now is getting him healthy,” Forst said. “He obviously has all the resources available that we can provide and we’ve been trying to help him, and will continue to even beyond this season.”

I’ll post more soon …

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Chad Gaudin — familiar foe for A’s

Not much in the way of pregame updates today. But I’ll be interested to see how Chad Gaudin looks tonight going against his old Oakland teammates. Big night for the right-hander, as this is his first start for the Yankees since they acquired him in a trade from San Diego. I talked to him during the A’s trip to San Diego in June, when he was still a Padre, and he was disappointed he wasn’t on turn to face the A’s down there. Surely he’ll have some extra adrenaline flowing tonight, just as Brett Tomko did facing the Yankees on Monday night.

Check out the first four hitters in the A’s batting order tonight: Adam Kennedy, Rajai Davis, Mark Ellis, Kurt Suzuki. That’s not exactly a 1-4 sequence you expected back in spring training, eh? Things are a little funky tonight because Scott Hairston isn’t starting (his quad still isn’t 100 percent). And there isn’t a hotter hitter on the A’s than Ellis, so might as well plug him into the “3″ hole for a night. Suzuki, the DH, gets his first career start at cleanup.

–Joey Devine is backing up to 45 feet to play catch tonight. He said a couple days ago that there wasn’t a set date for him to get on the mound. It’ll be baby steps for him as he continues strengthening his elbow after Tommy John surgery.

–Bob Geren said the team has begun discussions about possible September roster call-ups, and that “obviously pitching will be at a premium.” Triple-A infielders Adrian Cardenas and Brett Wallace are swinging hot bats, as is Double-A first baseman Chris Carter. It’ll be interesting to see if any of them gets a ticket to Oakland. I’d be surprised if Carter didn’t at least get a promotion to Sacramento.

Anyway, here’s tonight’s lineups:

A’s
Kennedy 3B
Davis CF
Ellis 2B
Suzuki DH
Sweeney LF
Powell C
Cust RF
Everidge 1B
Pennington SS

Anderson LHP

Yanks
Jeter SS
Damon LF
Teixeira 1B
A-Rod 3B
Matsui DH
Swisher RF
Cano 2B
Cabrera CF
Molina C

Gaudin RHP

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Cunningham optioned to minors to make room for Tomko; other pregame happenings

The expected media throng is here for the Yankees’ only visit to Oakland this season. We’ll see how big of a crowd shows up for these three games, and (as is always the case) how many are actually rooting for the home team as opposed to the Pinstripes.

Brett Tomko takes the hill tonight after getting called up from Triple-A Sacramento. It was interesting to see him take the field and stretch w/the team before batting practice. Normally, a starting pitcher just chills in the clubhouse and gets ready on his own schedule. But you figure Tomko showed up today probably not knowing most of his new teammates. He probably wanted to shake as many hands as possible, rather than take the mound w/a bunch of strangers around him. But this is Tomko’s ninth team, and he’s making his 261st start, so he knows the drill.

Surely he won’t lack motivation, being he was released by the Yankees on July 29 after making 15 relief appearances. The A’s have been stretching him out as a starter since signing him, but he won’t pitch very deep tonight. Bob Geren said he’d be happy if Tomko gave him five innings. Geren also mentioned that Dallas Braden (left ankle) probably wouldn’t be ready to start next time through the rotation, so Tomko could get more than one turn if he’s decent tonight. …

–Outfielder Aaron Cunningham was optioned to Sacramento to make roster room for Tomko. It was an odd stint with the big club for Cunningham, who was up for seven games and got just one start and seven at-bats. Granted, he dropped a fly ball yesterday, but he hardly got a look. And Cunningham, a quiet and very good-natured guy, was shocked by the news. The A’s also didn’t notify him until long after he arrived at the clubhouse, after he had already started preparing for the game, which is never a good way to handle things …

–Former Athletic and current Yankee Nick Swisher remains as nutty as ever. He spent some time in the A’s clubhouse socializing with his old friends, and was smiling and shaking hands like a politician.

There’s also been a Reggie Jackson sighting. He’s working for the Yanks these days …

Here’s tonight’s lineups, featuring Bobby Crosby at first base instead of Tommy Everidge, who’s struggled of late. It’s a mental and physical day off, as Geren put it:

A’s
Kennedy 3B
Davis CF
Suzuki C
Hairston LF
Sweeney RF
Ellis 2B
Cust DH
Crosby 1B
Pennington SS

Tomko RHP

Yanks
Jeter DH
Damon LF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Posada C
Cano 2B
Swisher RF
Cabrera CF
Pena SS

Burnett RHP

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A’s sign fourth-round pick Max Stassi

The A’s just announced they have agreed to terms with catcher Max Stassi, their fourth round draft choice out of Yuba City High. He got a $1.5 million bonus, his agent Greg Genske confirmed. That’s the largest bonus ever given to a fourth-round pick.

That leaves shortstop Grant Green (first round) and left-hander Ian Krol (seventh round) as the top picks the A’s still hope to get under contract by tonight’s 9 p.m. deadline. Major league teams lose the rights to 2009 draft picks after that.

You could argue Stassi was an even tougher player to sign than Green, just because Stassi had a scholarship waiting to UCLA, giving him some negotiating leverage. It was assumed it would take a seven-figure bonus to sign him. Stassi was rated as one of the elite prep catchers in the nation, and if he lives up to the hype, he’ll be worth the money …

–Also from the A’s, second baseman Mark Ellis has been named American League Player of the Week …

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Duchscherer won’t pitch Tuesday; Tomko gets call

Just a quick postgame update … Justin Duchscherer won’t be coming off the DL to pitch Tuesday, A’s manager Bob Geren informed the media after today’s 3-2 walkoff victory over the White Sox. Recently signed veteran Brett Tomko will be called up from Triple-A Sacramento and will pitch tomorrow night’s series opener against the Yankees. Vin Mazzaro gets pushed back to Tuesday to give him an extra day of rest.

Why isn’t Duchscherer being activated? “It’s not baseball-related. I can’t comment further than that,” assistant GM David Forst said.

The “non-baseball” reason also was given when Duchscherer was scratched from a start with Sacramento on July 31. He came back to make two rehab appearances after that. That’s all we know for now …

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It’s 1929 all over again

It was an entertaining morning inside the A’s clubhouse, as players curiously tried on their 1929 throwback unis that are being worn for today’s “Turn Back The Clock” promotion. The colors (blue and white) actually look pretty good, except that the A’s will be wearing their regular cleats. So you’ll see some green clashing with the rest of the attire.

Manager Bob Geren did indeed take the field before the game wearing a pinstriped suit and hat in the style of Connie Mack. I gotta say he looked pretty sharp, but he wore a dark felt hat instead of the straw hat Mack probably would have preferred during the ’29 season. That didn’t escape the attention of an eagle-eye A’s fan near the dugout. “You need a straw hat!” she yelled to Geren. “We don’t want to put you in Alcatraz!” Come to think of it, the skipper did have an Al Capone look going on …

A’s equipment manager Steve Vucinich also got in the spirit, wearing a bow tie and hat that he described as “Ben Hogan-style,” complete with a cigar hanging out of his mouth. I especially liked the khaki pants and bright blue belt. … Sweet

–Geren said he might have an update after the game on Justin Duchscherer’s status for coming off the DL and pitching Tuesday. Geren didn’t know if Duchscherer actually threw the side session that was a possibility for yesterday. Hopefully we get some clarity on this madness …

–Dallas Braden said he might throw a side session tomorrow. He played catch at 200 feet yesterday, which he said was important because it forced him to use his lower body and test his inflamed left ankle. It’s still looking like he’s at least a week away from returning. …

Here’s the lineups for today, including eight right-handed hitters for the A’s against White Sox lefty John Danks … Bobby Crosby starts at shortstop w/Cliff Pennington getting a rest.

A’s
Kennedy 3B
Davis CF
Suzuki C
Hairston LF
Nomar DH
Crosby SS
Everidge 1B
Ellis 2B
Cunningham RF

CAhill RHP

White Sox
Podsednik LF
Beckham 3B
Dye RF
Thome DH
Rios CF
Pierzynski C
Ramirez SS
Kotsay 1B
Nix 2B

Danks LHP

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Saturday’s pregame update

Not a lot going down before this afternoon’s game, other than the A’s took full batting practice on the field, a bit unusual for a day game following a night game.

There were no updates coming from the A’s on Justin Duchscherer’s status, other than Bob Geren saying the right-hander is still in Phoenix. Asked if he had gotten any word on how Duchscherer has responded physically from Thursday’s five-inning rehab stint, Geren said he hadn’t. Hmmm, I find it hard to believe a manager wouldn’t get at least a little bit of information about how his All-Star pitcher is feeling nearly two full days after he threw. Especially when that pitcher is a possibility to start Tuesday. Maybe the A’s really are waiting another day or so to get a clearer read on Duchscherer’s status. Or maybe they know more than they’re letting on. Just seems odd …

Today’s lineups, on a beautiful afternoon at the Coliseum:

A’s
Kennedy 3B
Davis CF
Suzuki C
Hairston LF
Sweeney RF
Everidge 1B
Cust DH
Ellis 2B
Pennington SS

Gonzalez LHP

White Sox
Nix 2B
Beckham 3B
Dye RF
Thome DH
Konerko 1B
Rios CF
Pierzynski C
Quentin LF
Ramirez SS

Floyd RHP

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Play ball! Baseball, that is …

Wow, must be football season … Tune in to tonight’s A’s-White Sox game, and you’ll see a perfectly lined football field cutting right across the Coliseum diamond, courtesy of last night’s Raider game. I know we’re all used to seeing the baseball field disfigured during August and September home games. But I always forget just how unsightly it becomes for baseball, and how multi-sport pro stadiums are a thing of the past … except in Oakland. It’s tough to blame the A’s for wanting their own stadium — somewhere — when they get to this point in the schedule …

Not that a marked-up field is spoiling the A’s mood these days. Everybody seems in good spirits in the clubhouse, not a surprise considering they’re playing well and they just had their first day off of the second half.

As for the day’s news, Bob Geren didn’t flat out say that Justin Duchscherer would start Tuesday against the Yankees. He listed Duchscherer and Dallas Braden as the candidates, but being that Braden basically told reporters his ankle wouldn’t be ready by Tuesday, Duke’s your man as long as he’s healthy. He threw five shutout innings last night in an Arizona Rookie League game, but Geren said the team will wait a day or two to see how he comes out of that physically before penciling him in for Tuesday. … Braden, by the way, was set to play catch before the game, but there’s still no plan for when he might throw off the mound.

First baseman Daric Barton had a couple of at-bats in the same game, but Geren wasn’t sure what the next step would be in his comeback from a hamstring injury. He’s eligible to come off the DL whenever he’s ready …

Tonight’s lineups

A’s
Kennedy 3B
Davis CF
Suzuki C
Hairston LF
Sweeney RF
Everidge 1B
Cust DH
Ellis 2B
Pennington SS

Anderson LHP

White Sox
Podsednik DH
Beckham 3B
Dye RF
Konerko 1B
Rios CF
Quentin LF
Ramirez SS
Nix 2B
Castro C

Contreras RHP

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Reineke optioned; reliever Gray recalled

Slow news morning at the Coliseum …

Chad Reineke, last night’s starting pitcher, was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento, not so surprising considering that Dallas Braden should jump right back into the rotation the next time through. But I was surprised the A’s didn’t add a position player to fill Reienke’s spot. Reliever Jeff Gray was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento, bolstering the bullpen but leaving manager Bob Geren with just three position players on the bench. Are you surprised the A’s didn’t use the opportunity to activate Jason Giambi? Neither am I, judging by the way this scenario has played out so far.

Speaking of first base, Daric Barton was put through running drills to test his strained left hamstring. If all goes well, Barton could begin a rehab stint with Sacramento as soon as tomorrow. Things will get really interesting once Barton is healthy. Does he get the majority of time at first? Does Tommy Everidge keep playing? Does one get sent down to make it easier to squeeze Giambi back on the roster?

I see the A’s continuing to play the young guys. Any thoughts out there on how you’d like to see first base handled???

–One thing to watch today: Geren said Trevor Cahill’s last side session was the best he’s seen from the young right-hander in a while. We’ll see if that shows through today, as Cahill tries to bounce back after two poor outings …

today’s lineups

A’s
Kennedy 3B
Davis CF
Cust RF
Nomar DH
Everidge 1B
Sweeney LF
Powell C
Ellis 2B
Pennington SS

Cahill RHP

Rangers
German 2B
Young 3B
Murphy LF
Jones DH
Hamilton RF
Byrd CF
Blalock 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Vizquel SS

Hunter RHP