0

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

0

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

0

More Yankee Stadium rain, of course

Well, the tarp is on the field and the rain is coming down pretty good at Yankee Stadium. We’re about 30 minutes from the scheduled first pitch, and weather.com lists the chances of continued rain at 95-100% through 10 p.m. local time. A 100% chance of rain? Does that mean Mother Nature has dictated rain WILL FALL, no questions asked???? Dallas Braden came into the clubhouse drenched after running out on the field and doing a “tarp dive” (Andrew Bailey captured footage on his cell phone). Right now, tarp diving looks like the only activity that might be taking place on this field tonight. The A’s just can’t catch a break here. Tonight’s game is a makeup from their last trip to the Bronx, when they had an April 20 contest rained out. If they don’t play tonight, they’ll probably play a doubleheader at some point this weekend. We haven’t gotten any word on a Plan B yet.

–You’ve probably seen this report from ESPN’s Buster Olney, who has a source saying there’s a 50-50 chance the A’s and Cardinals swing a deal for Matt Holliday. No surprise that the A’s might be zeroing in on St. Louis third base prospect Brett Wallace, who was a heavy consideration for them during the 2008 draft.

–Surely there’s a large group of Vin Mazzaro fans who hope tonight’s game gets played. Mazzaro, from nearby Rutherford, N.J., is scheduled to make his first start in Yankee Stadium. He’ll have plenty of people cheering him on, as Andrew Bailey did during the last series here. Jack Cust is the A’s third New Jersey native.

–Some details if this game does get played: Adam Kennedy gets a rare day off, as Bob Geren said he’s trying to budget some time off for his everyday players during this 28-day stretch of consecutive games. Rajai Davis is leading off and playing right field. Bobby Crosby (7-for-23 with a HR lifetime against Yankees starter C.C. Sabathia) is playing third base. Cust is the only left-handed hitter in the A’s lineup.

–Justin Duchscherer update: His first rehab outing might come Sunday for Single-A Stockton against the San Jose Giants in San Jose. Geren said that was a possibility instead of Duchscherer throwing Monday in an Arizona Rookie League game. Hold tight on that for now. We’ll probably know more tomorrow. …

Tonight’s lineups:

A’s
Davis RF
Cabrera SS
Hairston CF
Holliday LF
Garciaparra 1B
Suzuki C
Cust DH
Crosby 3B
Ellis 2B

Mazzaro RHP

Yankees
Jeter SS
Damon LF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Matsui DH
Posada C
Cano 2B
Hinske RF
Gardner CF

Sabathia LHP

0

Giambi to DL with quad injury; Barton called up

A quick update before I head down to the A’s clubhouse. Jason Giambi was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained right quadriceps. Daric Barton was promoted from Triple-A Sacramento to take his spot.

There’s no details yet on how Giambi hurt himself, but Bobby Crosby replaced him at first base for the top of the ninth yesterday. More details to come …

0

Friday update from Cleveland

Major leaguers find no shortage of ways to kill time leading up to batting practice. And the visitors’ clubhouse here at Progressive Field in Cleveland has an arcade-like vibe going on with the selection of video games. Several A’s players were taking full advantage this afternoon. It sounded like Chuck E. Cheese when I walked in …

On to today’s news … The A’s starting rotation has been tweaked for the upcoming games. Gio Gonzalez and Brett Anderson have been flip-flopped, with Gonzalez pitching Sunday against the Indians and Brett Anderson going Monday against the Red Sox. The A’s liked what they saw with Anderson in terms of his velocity in his last start, when he had two extra days’ rest because of arm fatigue. Bob Geren said Anderson is feeling fine physically right now, and that the A’s simply wanted to give him a little extra rest again. Because the A’s were off Thursday, Gonzalez still gets to go on four days’ rest. “Brett responded well last time with the extra days, so we’re going to give him one more day,” Geren said.

The plan is for Gonzalez to pitch out of the bullpen against Tampa Bay next weekend leading into the All-Star break, so Sunday will be his last start of the first half. With another day off this Thursday, the A’s had some flexibility in the rotation. This lines up the other four starters — Trevor Cahill, Vin Mazzaro, Anderson and Dallas Braden — to make two more starts before the break, while Gio gets one.

–Geren made a late change in tonight’s lineup, putting Nomar Garciaparra at first base and Jason Giambi at DH. They originally were flip-flopped. Geren wanted to see how Garciaparra felt taking infield practice before making the switch. This marks Garciaparra’s first defensive start since coming off the DL.

–The babies keep arriving for A’s players. SEcond baseman Mark Ellis’ wife, Sarah, gave birth to a girl yesterday. Ellis is flying to Cleveland as I write this, so Adam Kennedy moves back to second base for a day, and Bobby Crosby gets the start at third.

Your lineups:

A’s
Kennedy 2B
Cabrera SS
Holliday LF
Giambi DH
Suzuki C
Garciaparra 1B
Cust RF
Sweeney CF
Crosby 3B

Cahill RHP

Indians
A. Cabrera SS
Sizemore CF
Martinez C
Choo RF
Hafner DH
Peralta 3B
Garko 1B
Valbuena 2B
Francisco LF

Huff LHP

0

Holliday is playing; A’s draft another Crosby

Slow morning in the A’s clubhouse. … Matt Holliday is back in left field today after getting drilled in the left knee by a pitch last night. Jason Giambi returns to the lineup at DH, with Daric Barton playing first. …

The A’s wrapped up the third and final day of the draft this morning. Among their picks: 42nd round selection Blake Crosby, first baseman from Sacramento State and younger brother of Bobby Crosby. Here’s his stats this season w/the Hornets …

And here are today’s lineups:

A’s
Cabrera SS
Kennedy 2B
Cust RF
Holliday LF
Giambi DH
Powell C
Barton 1B
Davis CF
Hannahan 3B

Cahill P

Twins
Tolbert 2B
Harris SS
Mauer C
Morneau DH
Kubel RF
Crede 3B
Cuddyer CF
Buscher 1B
Young LF

Blackburn P

0

A’s pregame update: Wednesday

Lots of baby stories out at the Coliseum today. Bobby Crosby is in the lineup at first base, his first start since returning to the team after the birth of his son, Tyler, on Monday. Crosby played a couple of innings last night, then returned to San Ramon Regional Medical Center and found that teammate Landon Powell’s wife, Allyson, was in the room next to his wife, Gina. The Powells had their first baby, a boy, just after midnight last night. Powell is expected to arrive at the park before first pitch and be available if needed. …

–Today’s pre-game scene resembled the early days of spring training in February, as pitchers were put through bunt defense practice. The A’s run through such fundamental drills on occasion, and with interleague play coming up in National League parks, the A’s will be seeing lots of opposing pitchers laying down bunts.

–Jason Giambi is out of today’s lineup — just a needed day of rest, according to manager Bob Geren. Aaron Cunningham is back in there at right field after getting hit in the head with a pitch Monday and suffering a concussion. “I feel good,” Cunningham said. “Yesterday I had a little headache, but with a day off, it got me feeling pretty good.”

–Injury roundup: Nomar Garciaparra is getting an MRI tonight on his right calf, which isn’t getting better even with prolonged rest on the DL. … Justin Duchscherer, rehabbing in Phoenix, has thrown twice at 120 feet, but no word yet on when he’ll get back on the mound. … Reliever Dan Giese’s Tommy John surgery went well yesterday, according to Geren.

And now your lineups for tonight:

A’s:
Cabrera SS
Kennedy 2B
Cust DH
Holliday LF
Suzuki C
Crosby 1B
Cunningham RF
Davis CF
Hannahan 3B

Braden P

Twins:
Gomez CF
Harris SS
Mauer DH
Morneau 1B
Crede 3B
Cuddyer RF
Young LF
Redmond C
Tolbert 2B

Liriano P

0

Ryan Sweeney to DL; Daric Barton returning

Bob Geren was late for his pre-game media chat, but he had a pretty good excuse: The A’s decided to put Ryan Sweeney on the 15-day DL with a sprained MCL in his left knee. His replacement on the roster?

First baseman Daric Barton.

Barton got word about 4:30 p.m. and is driving to the Coliseum from Sacramento right now. The A’s like the way he’s been swinging the bat lately at Triple-A. He’s hitting just .245 with three homers and 32 RBI after getting off to a slow start. But he’s turned it on over his last 10 games, hitting .357 with a homer and eight RBI. Who could have predicted he’d be back this soon? You know all about his 2008 season, when he got his shot as the everyday first baseman but struggled mightily at the plate.

He was hard-pressed to win a roster spot in spring training after the A’s signed Jason Giambi and Nomar Garciaparra, and a quad injury ensured Barton would start in Triple-A.

Sweeney has missed five games, so his DL stint is retroactive to June 3, and he’s eligible to return June 18. Geren said surgery does not appear necessary for Sweeney. He added that Barton could draw some starts at first base to allow Giambi (who’s dealing with a sore lower right calf) to DH some. Jack Cust’s back is well enough for him to play right field in that scenario. Plus, Bobby Crosby is still with his wife, who’s in labor with their first child, so he won’t be available as an infield option for tonight and perhaps longer.

There’s been speculation about whether prospect Sean Doolittle had passed Barton on the pecking order as the future first baseman. But Doolittle is on Sacramento’s DL right now w/knee tendinitis. The A’s still think highly of Barton’s potential.

“He’s still very young and talented, and he’s hit very well at every level,” Geren said. “We’re going to give him a chance.”

The lineups:

A’s:
Cabrera SS
Kennedy 2B
Cust DH
Holliday LF
Giambi 1B
Suzuki C
Cunningham RF
Hannahan 3B
Davis CF

Outman P

Twins:
Span LF
Mauer C
Morneau 1B
Cuddyer RF
Harris SS
Young DH
Gomez CF
Tolbert 3B
Casilla 2B

Swarzak P

0

Buck placed on DL

It figured that roster moves were coming down today. The A’s placed Travis Buck on the 15-day DL with a strained left oblique muscle and optioned reliever Jeff Gray to the minors. Infielder Gregorio Petit and outfielder Aaron Cunningham were recalled from Triple-A Sacramento.

Jack Cust? It looks like he’ll avoid the DL, although he’s not in the lineup today. He says his back spasms have calmed down, but that one more day of rest might have him 100 percent by tomorrow. “I probably shouldn’t have played yesterday,” said Cust, who only lasted one at-bat before having to be replaced.

How bad is this injury situation? There wasn’t even a lineup posted in the A’s clubhouse by the time players hit the field to stretch. And during his media chat, Bob Geren had difficulty remembering the lineup he finally settled on, because he scribbled out so many drafts based on who might/might not be available.

I didn’t catch Buck before BP to discuss his injury. He had said he thought he’d be available today. … Cunningham and Petit each return for their second stint w/the big club, and Cunningham is starting in right field tonight. Petit played some third base in his latest stint w/Sacramento, and I’d expect he’d get some time there w/the A’s. He provided a nice spark earlier this season (he had that game-winning RBI in Seattle, when Bobby Crosby plowed over the catcher). I could see him playing third against left-handed pitchers, particularly when Crosby plays first and Jason Giambi is DH …

The A’s are back to 12 pitchers (seven relievers) and 13 position players. That gives Geren four position players off the bench, although Cust probably isn’t much of an option tonight …

Tonight’s lineups:
A’s — Cabrera SS; Kennedy 2B; Holliday LF; Giambi DH; Suzuki C; Sweeney CF; Cunningham RF; Hannahan 3B; Crosby 1B; Anderson P.

Rangers – Kinsler 2B; Young 3B; Hamilton DH; Jones LF; Cruz RF; Blalock 1B; Byrd CF; Saltalamacchia C; Andrus SS; McCarthy P.