9

Jemile Weeks, Gio Gonzalez earn honors; Willingham might play vs. Texas Rangers

Here’s the latest on another very warm day at the Coliseum …

A couple of individual awards came the A’s way Tuesday, as second baseman Jemile Weeks was named the American League’s co-Rookie of the Month along with Minnesota Twins outfielder Ben Revere. Left-hander Gio Gonzalez earned AL co-Player of the Week honors with the Toronto Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista. It’s the sixth time an A’s player has earned Rookie of the Month, but Weeks is just the second  position player to do it. Shortstop Bobby Crosby was honored in June 2004.

It’s impressive in that this truly was Weeks’ first month in the major leagues. He’s hitting .299 with 13 runs and six stolen bases in 25 games since being called up June 7, providing a jolt of excitement immediately upon his arrival. But I’ll be interested to see what happens with him once cleanup man Josh Willingham returns from the DL. I would think Hideki Matsui goes back to the No. 3 spot, Coco Crisp returns to leadoff and Weeks might drop back down to the No. 9 spot. I think that makes for an overall stronger batting order. Where would you like to see Weeks hit once Willingham comes back? …

–Speaking of Willingham, he’s been running for the past couple days and is doing well enough that both he and manager Bob Melvin think he could return sometime during the four-game series at Texas that begins Thursday. “Cautiously optimistic” is how Melvin characterized things. Willingham said the key is how his strained Achilles responds AFTER he’s done running. That’s when he still experiences problems. “If it continues to get better, I’ll play in Texas,” he said.

–Check out this all-encompassing review of the Oakland Coliseum, courtesy of www.stadiumjourney.com. Do you agree with the points made? Disagree? Feel free to share …

The lineups:

A’s – Weeks 2B, Sizemore 3B, Crisp CF, Matsui DH, Jackson 1B, DeJesus RF, Suzuki C, Sweeney LF, Pennington SS; Cahill RHP.

Mariners – Ichiro DH, Ryan SS, Kennedy 3B, Smoak 1B, Ackley 2B, Olivo C, Peguero LF, Guiterrez CF, Halman RF; Hernandez RHP.

0

Movin’ out day — lineups for A’s season finale

Boxes were scattered everywhere in the A’s clubhouse this morning and players were shaking hands all around — there’s no hiding it’s the last day of the season.

A’s manager Bob Geren decided to pitch all relievers today, w/Brad Kilby starting. So expect lots of pitching changes. “Honestly, I think it gives us the best chance to win, and that’s been the goal since spring training,” Geren said. Edgar Gonzalez had been the previously announced starter. But Gonzalez is a known quantity to the A’s, and emptying the bullpen gives Geren one last chance to see a lot of relievers.

Here’s today’s lineups, featuring two players likely playing their final game in an A’s uniform — third baseman Bobby Crosby and DH Nomar Garciaparra:

A’s
Davis CF
Ellis 2B
Suzuki C
Nomar DH
Crosby 3B
Barton 1B
Carson RF
Patterson LF
Pennington SS

Kilby LHP

Angels
Figgins 3B
Abreu DH
Hunter CF
Rivera LF
Morales 1B
Kendrick 2B
Matthews Jr. RF
Napoli C
Aybar SS

Saunders LHP

0

Andrew Bailey posters decorate clubhouse; Tomko’s season done

A’s closer Andrew Bailey has gotten some playful ribbing from his teammates for all of the media attention he’s received this season. I’d imagine that’s why there were several copies of the Andrew Bailey “Rookie of the Year” poster plastered around the clubhouse today. The poster was a fan giveaway Sunday. There was one greeting visitors on the door leading into the clubhouse this afternoon. Reliever Michael Wuertz also had one pinned to the wall right next to his locker. Wuertz is one of Bailey’s primary hecklers. But you also won’t find anybody happier for Bailey and his success this season than Wuertz. He was gushing about Bailey’s ability even before the rookie began closing games.

–A’s manager Bob Geren confirmed that right-hander Brett Tomko will miss the rest of the season with nerve irritation in his right arm, though Geren didn’t have full results from Tomko’s trip to a neurologist. Basically, there’s not enough time for Tomko to get his arm strength back before season’s end. So now the question is whether Tomko could be a part of the A’s 2010 pitching staff. The A’s certainly could use a veteran figure such as Tomko to complement all of their youngsters, particularly if Justin Duchscherer isn’t re-signed. “That’s something you’d look at in the winter (depending on) where we’re at,” Geren said. “I thought (Tomko) did a nice job. He’s definitely going to be a big league pitcher somewhere. If he fits in with us, great. If not, he’s definitely a quality pitcher and a quality guy.”

–Daric Barton is bothered by a minor heel injury that happened while running the bases yesterday, so Bobby Crosby starts at first base in the opener of a four-game series against Texas. Geren is hopeful Barton returns tomorrow.

Tonight’s lineups:

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

Edgar Gonzalez RHP

Rangers
Borbon DH
Andrus SS
Murphy LF
Byrd CF
Blalock 1B
Kinsler 2B
Cruz RF
Davis 3B
Teagarden C

Millwood RHP

0

All’s ‘right’ with A’s batting order tonight

It’s not your typical A’s lineup tonight, with eight right-handed hitters starting against Cleveland lefty David Huff. Nomar Garciaparra (DH) and Bobby Crosby (3B) each get a rare start, and Daric Barton is the lone left-handed bat.

The most intriguing name in the A’s order? Right fielder Matt Carson, called up from Triple-A to make his major league debut at age 28. Ryan Sweeney is battling soreness in his knees, according to Bob Geren. Nothing serious, but enough for the A’s to call up another outfielder, even with Sacramento still in the Triple-A playoffs (the River Cats will be eliminated if they lose tonight, so there’s a chance we could see more call-ups soon).

I remember walking into the A’s clubhouse in spring training, seeing Carson and asking, “Who is this guy?” His signing in November hardly caused a ripple, and he was just one of many anonymous faces around Papago Park when camp opened. But he really caught the A’s attention during Cactus League play, and has only helped his cause this season. Who knows if he’s got a chance to make the team next year? But if Sweeney remains banged up, Carson could see more starts.

With Adam Kennedy getting a day off, Rajai Davis moves into the leadoff spot. Geren said he could easily interchange Kennedy and Davis at the 1-2 slots, but he’s stuck w/Kennedy at leadoff because the offense has been clicking. It’ll be interesting to see if Davis gets a few more looks in the top spot. After all, he’s a pretty realistic leadoff option going into next season.

–Geren on the odds of right-hander Brett Tomko returning to the mound this season: “Probably less than 50-50, but there’s a chance.”

–Dallas Braden, out for the season with nerve damage in his left foot, is with the team today. He’s not doing much in the way of activity, and acknowledged some frustration w/an injury that ended what was a pretty encouraging season for him. He had this to say about his recovery: “There’s about a 90 percent chance of (a full recovery). It could be a month, it could be six months. I could never be the same, or I could bounce back like nothing ever happened.”

Braden and Kurt Suzuki are being honored tonight w/the Dave Stewart Community Service Award.

Tonight’s lineups:

A’s
Davis CF
Suzuki C
Hairston LF
Nomar DH
Crosby 3B
Ellis 2B
Barton 1B
Carson RF
Pennington SS

Anderson LHP

Indians
Brantley CF
Carroll 2B
Choo RF
Peralta 3B
LaPorta 1B
Shoppach DH
Marson C
Crowe LF
Romero SS

Huff LHP

0

A’s Mazzaro likely to miss “1 or 2″ starts

So we’ll get our second look at right-hander Clayton Mortensen tonight as he fills in for Vin Mazzaro. Obviously, Mortensen wasn’t the most heralded of the three players the A’s obtained for Matt Holliday (Brett Wallace holds that distinction). But Mortensen can help himself with a solid outing because it looks like Mazzaro, suffering from shoulder tendinitis, could miss two starts. So pitching well tonight could earn Mortensen a second start.

According to Mazzaro, his shoulder started bothering him about two starts ago. “I didn’t really recover the way I normally do,” Mazzaro said. “I felt a little soreness. … I’ll get a few days off and bounce back. I’ll probably miss one or two starts. I’ll start throwing in five or six days. I’d like to get two or three more (starts before the season ends).”

He said his shoulder feels better today, but this is all new territory for him. He’s never had any shoulder or arm problems before, so he doesn’t know how to gauge the severity of an injury based on how it feels.

A’s manager Bob Geren said Mazzaro has to get through a side session with no problems before being considered for his next outing, but he added that there’s no thought (yet) to shutting the rookie down for the season.

Mortensen gave up eight runs in four innings in his A’s debut on Aug. 8 in Kansas City, and he was sent back to the minors immediately after that. Geren said Mortensen has terrific natural movement on his pitches, and that his key is just staying around the plate and letting that movement work for him (sounds similar to Trevor Cahill).

Two faces in tonight’s lineup that you haven’t seen for a while: Bobby Crosby playing first base and Nomar Garciaparra at DH. Geren wanted to get as many righties as possible in the lineup, as Mariners left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith is very tough on lefties. With Adam Kennedy showing some recent life at the plate (three straight multi-hit games), Geren wanted to keep him out there at third. But that guy is gonna need a rest one of these days, I’d say. …

Tonight’s lineups, featuring Mike Sweeney as a late replacement for Ken Griffey Jr. as Seattle’s DH …
A’s
Kennedy 3B
Davis CF
Suzuki C
Hairston LF
Nomar DH
Ellis 2B
Crosby 1B
Sweeney RF
Pennington SS

Mortensen RHP

Mariners
Ichiro RF
Gutierrez CF
Lopez 2B
Sweeney DH
Beltre 3B
Hall LF
Carp 1B
Johjima C
Wilson SS

Rowland-Smith LHP

0

Crosby reinstated from DL; Patterson draws start in left field

Trevor Cahill takes the hill today as the A’s try to claim this three-game series against Kansas City. You have to like their chances based on how Cahill has pitched over his last four outings. If he is dialed in, it’ll be interesting to see how long Bob Geren sticks w/him. Out of all four of the rookies in the rotation, the A’s are most concerned with the innings Cahill and Brett Anderson are piling up. Cahill leads major league rookies with 153 1/3 IP.

No Scott Hairston in left field today after he aggravated his left quad last night. Geren thinks Hairston could return tomorrow or Friday, but Eric Patterson starts today, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Patterson in left for the next couple of days. If Hairston doesn’t show signs of improvement, Geren said the A’s would consider calling up another outfielder (figure Travis Buck or Aaron Cunningham as leading candidates in that scenario). But I wouldn’t say there’s a ton of concern over Hairston right now. As for today, Geren said he’d like to try getting the running game going, so if Patterson gets on base, look for him to be active …

–Bobby Crosby was reinstated from the DL as expected, and you can expect to see him at third base in this weekend’s Seattle series. Adam Kennedy can flat-out use a break right now, wouldn’t you say? He hasn’t had an extra-base hit in his past 16 games, and with the Mariners starting left-handers Friday and Saturday, Geren said he’ll start Crosby at third one of those days. Geren even mentioned giving Crosby a possible start at first base over the weekend.

–No shocker here, as Geren said he’ll stick w/Edgar Gonzalez in the rotation based on last night’s solid outing. But Gonzalez’s next turn would fall on Monday’s day off, so there’s a possibility he could be skipped …

Today’s lineups

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

Cahill RHP

Royals
DeJesus LF
Bloomquist 2B
Callaspo 3B
Jacobs 1B
Pena C
Guillen DH
Maier RF
Betancourt SS
Anderson CF

Bannister RHP

0

A’s pregame update: Edgar Gonzalez will start Tuesday, Tomko goes Wednesday

All’s quiet this morning on the A’s front … Sunday mornings are odd because there’s usually no regular BP on the field. The pitchers stretch at their own separate time, and players pop in and out of the batting cage at their leisure. Mostly, players were just sitting around watching the Yankees-White Sox on TV. Probably not real different from how you spent your Sunday morning …

A little news to share w/you …

–Edgar Gonzalez is starting Tuesday unless something unexpected happens. Brett Tomko is slated for Wednesday, which bumps him ahead of Trevor Cahill in the rotation to give Cahill a little extra rest. Manager Bob Geren had mentioned yesterday that Tomko could stay on regular days’ rest in the six-man rotation to give the younger guys a longer break. The A’s will especially monitor the innings of Cahill and Brett Anderson, today’s starter, since those two will surpass their innings from 2008 by such a large margin.

–Geren acknowledged it’s real doubtful Dallas Braden returns from his foot infection in time to rejoin the rotation. A little bullpen duty is still a possibility in Geren’s mind, but like I’ve mentioned here before, I would just shut Braden down and make sure he’s good for 2010. My guess is that will happen.

–Asked if there’s a definitive plan for call-ups on Tuesday when rosters expand, Geren said talks have centered “99 percent about pitching.” That means no Travis Buck, at least not right away. There is a chance they could promote a catcher, Geren said. Eric Munson would be the lead candidate …

–Bobby Crosby is expected to be activated from the DL on Wednesday without going on a rehab assignment. My guess is his playing time would likely come at third or second base, whenever Adam Kennedy or Mark Ellis might need a rest. You figure the A’s will keep running Daric Barton and Cliff Pennington out to first base and shortstop, respectively, to evaluate them as much as possible …

Today’s lineups, featuring Ryan Sweeney batting third. Kurt Suzuki and Scott Hairston both have the day off, and Geren likes the way Sweeney is swinging, so he gets bumped to the middle of the order …

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

Anderson LHP

Angels
Figgins 3B
Aybar SS
Hunter CF
Vlad DH
Rivera LF
Morales 1B
Kendrick 2B
Matthews Jr. RF
Mathis C

Lackey RHP

0

Bobby Crosby getting closer; other Saturday tidbits

It’s another warm evening here in Anaheim, where I’m guessing we’ll have an emotional pregame ceremony for Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart, Henry Pearson and Courtney Stewart, who were all killed in an April 9 car accident, which happened the last time the A’s played a series at Angel Stadium …

–Bobby Crosby ran the bases today for the first time to test his strained left calf. If all went well, he looks on target to return from the DL on WEdnesday when he’s eligible. Crosby doesn’t think he’ll need a rehab assignment in the minors to get back in game shape. The A’s could use the infield depth he provides, as they’ve been playing with a short-handed bench.

–Geren won’t say for certain that Edgar Gonzalez will start Tuesday, but Gonzalez is definitely the lead candidate if he’s not needed in relief before then. With Gonzalez’s addition, the A’s will start the six-man rotation they’ve talked about to give their younger starters some extra rest. Geren said the rotation could be tinkered with on occasion, with veteran Brett Tomko pitching on regular four days’ rest occasionally to give some of the rookies even more rest.

Tonight’s lineups:

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

Mazzaro RHP

Angels
Figgins 3B
Abreu RF
Hunter CF
Guerrero DH
Morales 1B
Izturis SS
Napoli C
Matthews Jr. LF
Kendrick 2B

Weaver RHP

0

First base is Daric Barton’s — for now

Didn’t the A’s roster activity seem unusually quiet in recent days? That ended today, as first baseman Tommy Everidge was optioned to Triple-A and outfielder/second baseman Eric Patterson was recalled.

It’s a bit of a surprise considering indications were that Everidge and Daric Barton would split time as the A’s evaluated both first base prospects. But Bob Geren pointed out that Patterson provides a versatile option off the bench, especially w/left fielder Scott Hairston nursing a sore quad and center fielder Rajai Davis playing with a fractured thumb.

The big-picture impact is that the A’s want Barton to get the majority of at-bats at first. Asked if Barton is the primary guy at first base for the rest of the season, Geren responded, “Yeah.” He left the door open to Everidge returning when rosters expand, but it’s clear the A’s want to give Barton a hard look. … I wouldn’t read too much into this as far as the A’s plans for next season, because you figure Chris Carter, Sean Doolittle and possibly Brett Wallace will all be in the first base mix in spring training. But Barton gets his chance to leave a strong imprint heading into the offseason, much like Cliff Pennington at shortstop.

Patterson split his latest stint in Sacramento between center field, left field and second base. I see center being his best chance for playing time up here, as Davis could probably use a little rest for his thumb.

–Other newsie bits: Bobby Crosby said his calf feels good after running sprints yesterday. He’s taking today off from running but looks like he could be ready Wednesday, when he’s eligible to come off the DL. … Geren reiterated that Edgar Gonzalez is his preference to start Tuesday at Kansas City, which would set into motion a six-man rotation.

–I’ve mentioned this before about Brett Tomko, who starts tonight: It’s unusual to see a starter, on the day he’s pitching, hang out on the field w/the rest of the team when it comes out to stretch. Starting pitchers typically hole up in the clubhouse until they’re ready to start their pregame throwing. But Tomko seems to enjoy being w/the team. I’ll have to ask him about it …

The lineups:

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

Tomko RHP

Angels
Figgins 3B
Abreu RF
Hunter CF
Guerrero DH
Rivera LF
Morales 1B
Aybar SS
Kendrick 2B
Mathis C

Bell RHP

0

Adenhart’s memory lives on

The A’s pregame routine has been pushed back here in Anaheim, with first pitch not until 7:25. The Angels are inducting outfielder Brian Downing and pitcher Chuck Finley into their Hall of Fame before the game.

It was something to walk up to the entrance at Angel Stadium today and see the memorial that still sits out front for Nick Adenhart. It was first started April 9, just hours after the Angels pitcher died in a car crash. Basically, there’s a big circle with flowers and Adenhart T-shirts in the middle of it. Ringing the memorial are hundreds of hats that people left, most of them with hand-written messages about Adenhart. All three victims who died in that crash will be honored before Saturday’s game. Jon Wilhite, the lone crash survivor and a good friend of Kurt Suzuki’s, is supposed to throw out the first pitch.

–As for A’s news, Bob Geren said we can expect some pitchers called up Sept. 1 when rosters expand, but probably not any position players that day (he didn’t say how many pitchers).

Geren added that Edgar Gonzalez is a strong candidate to start Sept. 1, which would signal the start of a six-man rotation. But that depends on if (and in what capacity) Gonzalez is needed before then. He hasn’t appeared in a game since Aug. 15, and Geren wants to get him at least a brief outing before Sept. 1. … I could see why …

–Bobby Crosby ran some sprints today to test his strained left calf. He has yet to run the bases, but the A’s say he’s very close to being ready. He’s eligible to come off the DL on Sept. 2.

–Niko Gallego, the 20-year-old son of A’s infield coach Mike Gallego, took grounders at shortstop during batting practice and looked pretty smooth (I guess the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree). Niko will be a junior at UCLA next season and just got done playing in the wood-bat Cape Cod League.

Here’s tonight’s lineups for Game 1 of a four-game series w/the AL West-leading Angels:

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

Cahill RHP

Angels
Figgins 3B
Abreu RF
Hunter CF
Guerrero DH
Rivera LF
Morales 1B
Izturis 2B
Aybar SS
Mathis C

Santana RHP