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Joey Devine to not pitch for 5-7 days

Hey everyone. This is Curtis Pashelka filling in for Joe Stiglich, whose taking some well-deserved days off. A few things to report from Phoenix Muni, where the sun is actually shining, before the start of today’s A’s game against the White Sox.

Right-hander Joey Devine will not pitch for the next 5-7 days after he reported elbow soreness after throwing a side session Tuesday. Geren didn’t want to say what that did to Devine’s chances of being ready for opening day in less than four weeks, but it’s not exactly a step in the right direction.

Outfielder Travis Buck, who was kept out of yesterday’s game against Kansas City because of dizziness, said he felt better and that he had his left ear flushed out this morning. He said he would be okay to play today, and A’s manager Bob Geren said if Buck goes through his morning workout without any problems, that he’s probably insert Buck in the later innings.

Buck said he felt fine in the morning but started to feel dizzy on the bus ride over to Surprise.

Coco Crisp has a strained left hamstring. Geren said the injury is not severe and that Crisp is day-to-day.

Righty John Meloan has elbow soreness and will be checked out this afternoon by a local doctor. Meloan pitched two-thirds of an inning against Kansas City and gave up two hits and two earned runs.

The commissioner’s office also announced today that the Mets’ waiver claim of former A’s reliever Jay Marshall has been voided. Marshall was returned to the A’s, who then released him. Marshall was 5-3 with seven saves and a 3.20 ERA in 50 games for Triple-A Sacramento. For the A’s, Marshall was 1-4 with a 7.66 ERA in 61 appearances over two seasons for the A’s.

I asked Mark Ellis about the retirement of Nomar Garciaparra, and it was news to him. But Ellis said he and other A’s learned a lot from the oft-injured Garciaparra, just about the way he prepared every day and persevered.

The lineups:

A’s — Davis CF, Pennington SS, Suzuki C, Chavez 1B, Cust DH, Taylor LF, Gross RF, Patterson 2B, Tolleson 3B, Sheets RHP.

White Sox — Danks RF, Vizquel 2B, Pierzynski C, Jones CF, Rios DH, Kroeger 1B, Morel 3B, De Aza LF, Ramirez SS, Hudson RHP.

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A’s 3, Giants 2

There were big smiles and long faces inside the A’s clubhouse after today’s 3-2 win over the Giants, as you would expect on final cutdown day. Things played as was expected with the roster decisions (you can check out my earlier blog today for the entire roster).

Andrew Bailey made the bullpen out of his first big league camp, and Sean Gallagher was kept as a reliever over Gio Gonzalez. Since Gallagher and Bailey each used to be starters, manager Bob Geren said he’ll use both as long men and situational guys. “They’re similar guys stuff-wise,” Geren said. “Both could come in and blow a couple hitters away. Both can give me some length too. We have a young staff, and if the need arises, we need a guy that can go a few innings.”

Gonzalez was pretty dejected afterward, understandably, even though his chances didn’t look great after coming back from a shoulder injury. The A’s want to use him as a starter at Triple-A, but he’ll start out throwing 1-2 innings at a time and work his way up from there. “If I’m healthy, everything else falls into place. It’s not up to me, it’s what Bob wants. I respect the decision,” Gonzalez said.

–Eric Chavez and Jack Cust drilled back-to-back homers off Ramon Ortiz in the sixth to put the A’s ahead in the game for good. Brett Anderson looked strong in 6 2/3 innings, giving up two runs with 5 strikeouts and one walk.

Although Chavez’s shoulder is feeling much stronger, he says he still can’t play more than 3 or 4 days in a row.

–The A’s official roster moves: Gonzalez, first baseman Daric Barton, infielders Jack Hannahan and Cliff Pennington, and outfielder Chris Denorfia were optioned to Triple-A.

Anderson, Bailey and right-hander Trevor Cahill were added to the 40-man roster. Reliever Joey Devine was transferred to the 60-day DL to clear a spot on the 40-man roster, and the A’s still need to free up one more spot by noon tomorrow. Right-hander Justin Duchscherer and outfielder Ben Copeland were placed on the 15-day DL as expected. …

That’s all for now …

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A’s rotation set; Outman in, Gallagher out

The A’s waited until the last possible moment here in Arizona to drop some concrete news regarding their rotation.

After today’s 8-8 tie against the Chicago Cubs, Bob Geren unveiled his starting five: Dallas Braden, Trevor Cahill, Dana Eveland, Brett Anderson, Josh Outman, in that order.

We knew for a while the 21-year-old duo of Anderson and Cahill looked pretty solid for the rotation. The big news here is Outman’s inclusion in the No. 5 spot over Gallagher. Outman, who gets the April 10 home opener vs. Seattle, pitched very well yesterday in a start against the Royals, and that probably sealed it for him. Gallagher, who the A’s envisioned as an instrumental part of their rotation when they acquired him from the Cubs last season, is still a long relief candidate, Geren said.

More details in tomorrow’s paper …

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Braden gets the word — finally

Not exactly a huge revelation here, but Dallas Braden got the official word from Bob Geren today that he’s starting Opening Night against the Angels. Get this for timing — Geren told Braden right after he came in from a six-run third inning against the Cubs today. “He told me after the hit parade,” Braden said. “He told me, ‘I want you to get back out there and get a couple ground balls, and then I want you to win on Opening Night.’ You’re my guy.’”

Braden’s schedule had him lined up to get that assignment for the past couple of weeks, but it’s still a pretty amazing progression for a guy who was a question mark to even start for Oakland at the end of last season. I know … the pessimist inside of you says that this is an indication of just how much the A’s rotation is hurting. Can’t argue w/you too much on that one … He’s not the prototypical, dominant No. 1 starter, but given the arms available to Geren right now, you can’t argue with this call either.

8-3 Cubbies in the bottom of the seventh …

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Update from A’s Cactus League finale

The A’s and Cubs are underway here at Phoenix Muni in the last Cactus League game of the spring. Dallas Braden, the expected Opening Day starter, struggled big-time through the third inning. He hit Reed Johnson with the bases loaded and an 0-2 count, and then served up a grand slam to Geovany Soto. Not a great way to wind up camp for the lefty …

Here’s a rundown on the morning’s interesting tidbits:

Looking back on the A’s longest spring camp ever (from a games played standpoint), Bob Geren said he was pleased with what the team accomplished, particularly weaving third baseman Eric Chavez and second baseman Mark Ellis back into the mix from injury, and getting shortstop Orlando Cabrera ready for Opening Day after he signed late. Obviously, losing pitchers Justin Duchscherer and Joey Devine to injury was a huge setback. But Geren, true to his glass-is-half-full nature, saw lots of positives. “The questionable-type guys — would they be ready or not? — it seems to be positive,” Geren said. “It was a long spring, and we needed every day of it.”

–We’re getting another glance at the A’s possible Opening Day lineup today: Sweeney CF; Cabrera SS; Giambi 1B; Holliday LF; Chavez 3B; Cust DH; Suzuki C; Buck RF; Ellis 2B.

Geren reiterated he likes Sweeney as his leadoff man, but could also work Travis Buck, Rajai Davis and/or Orlando Cabrera in there.

–Given Sean Gallagher’s iffy status for the rotation, I quizzed Geren on whether he sees Gallagher as a long reliever possibility. “Sean is stretched out and competing for a spot as a starter,” he said. “If not, he’d be a good candidate for a reliever.”

So whoever doesn’t get a rotation spot between Gallagher and Josh Outman is a long-man candidate along with Gio Gonzalez. Gonzalez, by the way, was scheduled to pitch today in relief but instead will work tomorrow’s game against the Giants. He’ll get 1-2 innings.

–Bobby Crosby’s hamstring is still bothering him. He was scratched yesterday from starting and Geren said he’d try not to use him today.

–The A’s are holding out hope backup catcher Landon Powell will be healthy enough to avoid the DL. Geren said Powell, who has a strained rib muscle, might play Friday against the Giants. …

That’s all for now …

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Outman makes case for rotation; A’s beat K.C.

Josh Outman turned in 5 2/3 strong innings as the A’s beat Kansas City 7-2 this afternoon at Phoenix Muni. His line: 5 2/3 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K. Outman is still being considered for the rotation, and long story short, he only strengthened his case today. It’s looking like the A’s are still deciding between Sean Gallagher and Outman for one spot in the rotation.

Outman also could be a natural fit in a long relief role. What’s unknown is whether Gallagher would also be considered as a long man in the bullpen if he doesn’t make the rotation.

–Justin Duchscherer had his elbow scoped this morning by Dr. Lewis Yocum in Southern California. According to manager Bob Geren, Yocum “cleaned up the joint a little bit, nothing major.” I had mentioned six weeks as a ballpark recovery time for such a procedure, but it will depend on how Duchscherer feels when he starts throwing, and it’s unknown when that might be.

–First baseman Jason Giambi snapped an 0-for-20 slump when he lined an RBI single to center in the first inning today. He went 1-for-3 and is hitting just .136 in exhibitions. Not sure how worried I’d be about the average, but his one homer is his only extra-base hit in 44 at-bats.

–Ryan Sweeney returned to the lineup after missing two games with a left quad injury and went 2-for-2 before leaving. Geren said before the game he only planned to play Sweeney long enough to get two at-bats.

–Travis Buck cleared the bases with a three-run triple in the fourth.

–The A’s are trying to get as many of their frontline relievers back-to-back outings as possible. Russ Springer pitched for the second straight day but went just 1/3 of an inning. Springer hasn’t been incredibly sharp this spring, but he told me last week he rarely pitches great during camp. He also said he felt his arm was ready for the regular season a couple of weeks ago, and that because of the extra-long spring training, the trick was maintaining his arm and not over-working it.

Santiago Casilla pitched two innings of one-hit ball.

–Bobby Crosby was a late scratch at second base today because of a sore right hamstring, but said he could be back tomorrow.

The A’s host the Cubs tomorrow in their final Cactus League game before they fly home for the Bay Bridge Series with the Giants from Thursday-Saturday. …

It’s been one long spring …

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Devine headed to DL; out indefinitely with elbow injury

We learned this morning that right-hander Joey Devine will open the season on the disabled list with an elbow injury that he really hasn’t shaken since last season. Devine will visit elbow specialist Dr. James Andrews either Wednesday or Thursday of next week to try to decipher how significant the injury is.

Needless to say, it’s a huge blow as the A’s prepare for Monday’s season opener against the Angels. Devine and Brad Ziegler were set to open the season as co-closers, but it was generally thought among baseball observers that Devine’s stuff would allow him to eventually assume the full-time role. It’s a recurring injury that landed Devine on the DL for much of last season. He eventually returned to the mound (his 0.59 ERA was the lowest in major league history among pitchers with a minimum 25 IP). But the elbow was enough of an issue that the A’s had him visit Andrews in October. Devine missed three weeks of action once spring camp started, and his elbow flared up again yesterday.

“I spent the entire offseason and rehabbed it and then it came back as soon as I got to game-ready, the first part of spring training,” Devine said. “That tells me there is something there.”

With Devine out, Ziegler takes over the closer’s role, and Bob Geren said Russ Springer and Santiago Casilla could also be called upon on days Ziegler isn’t available for the ninth. Springer, 40, was signed to be an eighth-inning man and has just eight saves in his 16 big league seasons. Casilla has four saves, seeing just the occasional ninth-inning opportunity in recent seasons with Oakland. “Casilla is definitely throwing the ball right now where I would have confidence putting him in the ninth inning too,” Geren said.

Devine’s absence has a trickle-down effect on how the A’s can handle their bullpen. They’re expected to carry seven relievers. Ziegler, Springer, Casilla, Wuertz and left-hander Jerry Blevins, at first glance, would take five spots. The A’s could also carry two long relievers, as Geren has said might be necessary because of his young rotation. In that case, think lefties Josh Outman and Gio Gonzalez (if Gonzalez is healthy). Or, if the A’s want to avoid having three lefties, they could sub in prospect Andrew Bailey for Blevins. Bailey hasn’t allowed a run in 10 spring outings.

Of course, Outman is starting today’s game against the Royals, and Geren still considers him a rotation candidate. “We haven’t finalized anything in our rotation and probably won’t until after the Bay (Bridge) Series,” Geren said.

The rest of today’s lineup vs. KC:

Sweeney CF
Cabrera SS
Giambi 1B
Holliday LF
Garciaparra 3B
Cust RF
Suzuki C
Buck DH
Crosby 2B

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A’s 9, Dodgers 5

A couple quick hitters from the A’s 9-5 victory over the Dodgers, their second win in a row after losing 10 straight:

–Young lefty Brett Anderson bounced back from a three-run first inning to throw five shutout innings after that. His final line: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K.

He also got to face Manny Ramirez for the first time. The Dodgers’ No. 3 singled in his first at-bat, then walked, and then Anderson got him on a groundout to third. Anderson doesn’t seem in awe of much on a big league mound, and while he said he didn’t know how to pitch Ramirez, he didn’t seem overwhelmed by the experience either. “It’s fun facing those guys,” he said, as the Dodgers pretty much played their ‘A’ lineup. “It lets you get honed in a little more.” You can pretty much write in ink that this guy’s in the starting rotation …

–Reliever Joey Devine left the game in the eighth inning, and Bob Geren indicated Devine’s elbow was hurting him again. Obviously, that’s potentially huge news, but we won’t know more on his condition until the morning. Devine loaded the bases, and then Jerry Blevins allowed a two-run double, but the A’s were already way ahead.

–Nomar Garciaparra hit a two-run homer in the second, homer No. 2 for him on the spring.

–Eric Chavez had a good day, doubling and scoring two runs. He looked good moving around the bases and also dove all-out for a single that shot through the hole at third. Another signal he very well may play Opening Night. …

That’s all for now …

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Selig appoints committee to study Oakland’s stadium situation

 Bud Selig and Major League Baseball are going to do some fact-finding to determine what the next move should be for Lew Wolff’s Oakland A’s. Here is the text of the press release from MLB that was just handed out:

“After meeting with ownership and management of the Oakland Athletics in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday, Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig announced today that he has appointed a committee to thoroughly analyze all of the ballpark proposals that have been made to date, the current situation in Oakland, and the prospects of obtaining a ballpark in any of the communities located in Oakland’s territory.

Oakland’s current lease expires in 2010 with three one-year club options beyond that date.

The committee will be chaired by Bob Starkey, a stadium expert and financial consultant for Major League Baseball. It also will consist of Corey Busch, a former baseball executive, and Irwin Raij, a lawyer with Foley and Lardner who worked extensively on both the Washington and Miami ballpark proposals. They will work with MLB President & Chief Operating Officer Bob DuPuy and will provide a written report to the Commissioner at the conclusion of their analysis.

“Lew Wolff and the Oakland ownership group and management have worked very hard to obtain a facility that will allow them to compete into the 21st Century,” Commissioner Selig said. “To date they, like the two ownership groups in Oakland before them, have been unsuccessful in those efforts, despite having the significant support of their corporate partner Cisco. The time has come for a thorough analysis of why a stadium deal has not been reached. The A’s cannot and will not continue indefinitely in their current situation.”

 

 

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Monday morning update from A’s camp

The morning happenings as the A’s prepare to play the Dodgers today at Camelback Ranch, their second game at the Glendale ballpark in the past six days:

–Backup catcher Landon Powell is recovering from a strained intercostal muscle (located in the ribs), enough to where he’ll make today’s trip to catch bullpens. He’s also hitting off a tee. With the regular season starting a week from today, the A’s need to figure out if Powell will be ready for the active roster or if he needs to go on the DL. Recently acquired Curtis Thigpen is starting today at catcher, and he’ll be the likely backup should Powell not be ready for Opening Night. “Any time you have a player not healthy a week before the season, it’s a concern,” Bob Geren said of Powell. “But it’s been eight days now, and that injury usually is a week- to 10-day type thing.”

–Center fielder Ryan Sweeney isn’t playing today because of a tight left quad, but he’s doing all other baseball activity and could be back in the lineup tomorrow.

–Gio Gonzalez is testing his sore left shoulder in a minor league game today. If all goes well, Geren said he would probably pitch in a game with the big league club later in the week.

–Nomar Garciaparra gets his first start at first base today. With Eric Chavez coming along well at third, it makes sense to get Garciaparra some time over at first. If Chavez plays regularly, Garciaparra’s main role will be spelling Chavez at third and Jason Giambi at first (along with some DH time). Garciaparra told me this morning he doesn’t think he’ll need much time at first to be ready for the regular season. He’s been doing pre-game work all over the diamond.

Today’s lineup:

Davis CF
Cabrera SS
Garciaparra 1B
Chavez 3B
Cust DH
Ellis 2B
Denorfia LF
Buck RF
Thigpen C

Brett Anderson pitching …

I’ll try to throw a couple in-game updates on here, so check back a little later …