0

Cust leaves after one at-bat

Bobby Crosby replaced Jack Cust at DH in the top of the third, as Cust’s back spasms started acting up. I asked him how his back was feeling a couple hours before the game (he had just gotten out of the batting cage), and he didn’t sound real sure he’d make it through the whole game. This lineup — already minus Eric Chavez, Nomar Garciaparra and Mark Ellis — can ill-afford to lose Cust, to state the obvious.

It’s a 2-2 tie after three innings. Travis Buck mashed a 423-foot two-run homer in the second inning to tie the game. An absolute laser to right …

0

A late scratch

Nomar Garciaparra’s return to the lineup was short-lived. He was a late scratch at DH tonight. We can only assume his right calf started acting up again. Jason Giambi shifts to DH with Bobby Crosby switching from third to first base, and Jack Hannahan entering the lineup at third. Here’s the new order:

Cabrera SS
Suzuki C
Cust RF
Holliday LF
Giambi DH
Kennedy 2B
Crosby 1B
Davis CF
Hannahan 3B

0

Bobby Crosby back at shortstop — for a day

Orlando Cabrera is getting his long-awaited first day off of the season, which means Bobby Crosby draws a start at shortstop this afternoon against Seattle. It’s familiar territory for Crosby, of course, being he was the A’s starting shortstop (when healthy) from 2004-08. Although it’s his first start there this season, Crosby did play three innings at short last Monday against Tampa Bay in relief of Cabrera. Cabrera, who played 161 games for the White Sox last season, has said that the occasional break is crucial for him.

Adam Kennedy slides into the leadoff spot for a day. According to baseball-reference.com, Kennedy has started 28 games in the leadoff spot over his career. His approach is pretty basic. “Get on base, however you’re best at getting on base,” Kennedy said this morning. “I don’t think there’s any one way to get on base as a leadoff guy.”

No Nomar Garciaparra in the lineup for a second straight day. He didn’t offer much on the condition of his right calf. “It’s still attached,” he said. Geren is hopeful he’ll be ready to play tomorrow night.

Another injury update: Justin Duchscherer had his throwing session cut short yesterday in Phoenix because his back started bothering him. “His throwing program was set back a couple of days with a little stiff back,” Geren said, adding that Duchscherer’s elbow is feeling good. He’s rehabbing from arthroscopic surgery on his elbow March 31. Duchscherer has said he’s targeting a return sometime in June. Neither Geren nor pitching coach Curt Young thought the back issue will delay him long.

Your A’s lineup for a Memorial Day matinee:
Kennedy 2B; Suzuki C; Cust DH; Holliday LF; Giambi 1B; Ryan Sweeney CF; Buck RF; Crosby SS; Hannahan 3B; Anderson P.

Mariners lineup: Ichiro RF; Betancourt SS; Beltre 3B; Griffey Jr. DH; Mike Sweeney 1B; Lopez 2B; Johjima C; Chavez LF; Gutierrez CF; Jakubauskas P.

0

A mix-and-match Sunday

The A’s are trotting out a funky looking lineup today as they try to avoid the sweep in Detroit. Catcher Kurt Suzuki is getting a day off, and Jason Giambi gets a turn at DH. So Adam Kennedy is hitting second, Jack Cust moves from DH to right field, Bobby Crosby moves across the diamond to first base and Jack Hannahan starts at third. That’s six left-handed hitters in the lineup against right-hander Armando Galarraga (counting switch-hitter Landon Powell, who’s catching).

 Travis Buck, despite an RBI single last night, gets bumped from the lineup. But we also learned this morning that he’s nursing a sore left shoulder. Buck is still diving with abandon after balls in the outfield, and he thinks he aggravated the shoulder with a dive early in the season. Buck has talked before about the need to be smarter about hurling his body everywhere, and I can think of at least a couple of occasions this season when he’s dove for a ball he had no chance of catching. Not only does that put him at injury risk, it lets a runner take an extra base as the ball gets past him. Anyway, Buck has been told that his left shoulder is somewhat weak structurally. So he’s felt a little discomfort even just reaching across his body to make a catch. ”I would say I’ve got to play knowing it’s not going to be 100 percent,” Buck said. “I’ve got to find a way to strengthen it during the season.”

I asked Bob Geren about Orlando Cabrera’s play last night, when he reached down and slapped the ball on the roll to Adam Kennedy for a force-out at second. You might have caught it on ESPN’s “Web Gems”. Geren thinks Cabrera, a native Colombian, has probably made that play before. “In a lot of Latin American countries, they play a game called ‘Flip’ before batting practice,” Geren said. “It’s kind of a fun game. You hit the ball around with your glove. When I saw (Cabrera’s play), it didn’t surprise me one bit. He’s probably played that game a lot. The great thing was Adam Kennedy was ready for it.”

It looks like the earliest Nomar Garciaparra will return would be Wednesday, Geren said. Garciaparra’s right calf was sore after yesterday’s workout, so he’s taking today off. Tampa Bay starts lefty Scott Kazmir on Wednesday, so Geren would like to have Garciaparra’s right-handed bat in there. I didn’t get a chance to grab Garciaparra before the game.

A’s lineup: Cabrera SS; Kennedy 2B; Cust RF; Holliday LF; Giambi DH; Sweeney CF; Crosby 1B; Powell C; Hannahan 3B; Cahill P.

Tigers lineup: Granderson CF; Anderson LF; Thomas RF; Cabrera 1B; Ordonez DH; Larish 3B; Laird C; Santiago 2B; Everett SS; Galarraga P.

0

Crosby back in the lineup; Cust hitting third

It rained pretty heavily early this afternoon, but it’s all sunshine at Comerica Park as the A’s get ready for  game two of this three-game series against Detroit. Bobby Crosby was feeling good enough to return to the lineup at third base after a stomach ailment prompted his early exit last night. Crosby is guessing it might have been food poisoning. “About an hour before the game, I was just feeling off,” he said before BP. “By about the second inning, I felt like I had to throw up.”

Whether that played a part in him booting that grounder last night, I’m not sure. But Crosby echoed what Adam Kennedy said after Friday’s game regarding the infield’s four errors: Sometimes bad defense can be contagious.

On the offensive side of things, Bob Geren has flip-flopped Jack Cust and Jason Giambi in the lineup, bumping Cust up to the No. 3 spot and dropping Giambi to fifth. It’s a decision spurred more by Cust’s hot hitting than any struggles Giambi might be having, Geren said. I asked him if he thinks Giambi will benefit from hitting fifth (seeing better pitches, etc.) “I don’t think that makes much of a difference as much as getting one of our top hitters an extra at-bat a game,” Geren said. Cust is hitting .281 right now, Giambi .208.

Geren also bumped Adam Kennedy to sixth and dropped Ryan Sweeney to seventh.

–Sean Gallagher will take Monday’s start in Tampa Bay, with Josh Outman going Tuesday. That’s also puts the duo on turn to pitch the May 29th doubleheader at Texas (when the teams make up their rainout from April 29).   

A’s lineup: Cabrera SS; Suzuki C; Cust DH; Holliday LF; Giambi 1B; Kennedy 2B; Sweeney CF; Crosby 3B; Buck RF; Braden P.

Tigers lineup: Granderson CF; Polanco 2B; Thomas RF; Cabrera 1B; Ordonez DH; Inge 3B; Raburn LF; Laird C; Everett SS; Porcello P.

0

A’s-Tigers delayed after four innings

Tough to understand the logic being used here in Detroit, as the A’s-Tigers game is in its second rain delay with Detroit leading 9-1 after four innings.

First pitch was delayed for an hour in anticipation of heavy rain that didn’t show up until now. Had they completed just one more inning, this would have been an official game. So the first rain delay, in effect, caused the second rain delay.

At any rate, if you’re an A’s fan, do you really want to watch much more of this? This is easily the A’s sloppiest game of the season. … Four errors through the first three innings — one by every starting infielder. Only three of the nine runs charged to Brett Anderson were earned. You get the feeling the A’s just weren’t mentally prepared to take the field tonight.

By the way, Bobby Crosby left in the third inning with an upset stomach, it was announced. Jack Hannahan replaced him.

0

A’s trade for Adam Kennedy; he’ll start at 2B

Expect a different face out at second base for the A’s as soon as tomorrow. They acquired Adam Kennedy from the Tampa Bay Rays today for a player to be named later. He’s expected to arrive in Oakland tonight, and Bob Geren indicated he’d get Kennedy in the lineup immediately. “We’ll give him a shot to get out there,” Geren said. “He’s similar to other players here. He’s very experienced, he’s been in pennant races, the postseason. He’s a good base runner and good fielder, and he’ll bring another veteran presence to the team.”

Obviously the A’s felt they needed an experienced everyday-type player with Mark Ellis likely to miss at least another month with a strained left calf. And calf injuries can linger for longer than expected, so I’m sure that factored into the A’s decision-making. Although Gregorio Petit provided a spark at the plate last weekend in Seattle, they must not be sold on him as a starter. With Eric Chavez’s uncertain status, Bobby Crosby will be needed more at third base (Chavez took grounders today during batting practice, but I don’t believe he made any throws. I saw him tossing the ball to Jack Hannahan).

The A’s will have to bump somebody from the 40-man roster to make room for Kennedy, who was on Tampa’s Triple-A roster. Kennedy is a .276 hitter over his 10-year major league career. He was the Cardinals’ main second baseman last year, hitting .280 in 115 total games. Geren wouldn’t predict where he’d bat Kennedy in the lineup.

Other tidbits …

–Reliever Santiago Casilla will make a rehab appearance for Single-A Stockton tomorrow. He’ll pitch a couple days later for Triple-A Sacramento, and if his sprained knee is feeling good, he’ll be activated from the DL next Friday, when the A’s open a seven-game road trip in Detroit.

–Nomar Garciaparra ran again today, but no word on his timetable for coming off the DL. Ditto for Chavez.

–Lefty Brett Anderson has been throwing with a protective device on his left index finger to protect his blister. He isn’t likely to make his next start until next weekend in Detroit, Geren said. With two offdays before then, the A’s have some flexibility to rework their rotation a bit.

Tonight’s A’s lineup. Not surprisingly, it’s identical to the one that produced nine runs yesterday:

Cabrera SS; Suzuki C; Giambi 1B; Holliday LF; Cust DH; Sweeney CF; Crosby 2B; Buck RF; Hannahan 3B; Outman P.

Blue Jays lineup: Scutaro SS; Hill 2B; Rios RF; Wells CF; Lind DH; Rolen 3B; Millar 1B; Barajas C; Bautista LF; Richmond P.

0

A’s 3, Mariners 2

A couple of leftover thoughts from tonight’s game, won by the A’s when Bobby Crosby scored on Gregorio Petit’s single to right in the top of the ninth. Crosby ran through a stop sign by third base coach Mike Gallego, and I’m still wondering what the conversation would have been like between Crosby and Bob Geren had Seattle catcher Rob Johnson held on to that ball. Anyway …

–A nice bounce-back effort from Trevor Cahill, who used his extra time between starts to work on his arm slot during his delivery. The work paid dividends, according to Geren, who called the outing a “stepping stone.” “He had a touch less movement, but a touch more velocity. And he had enough movement, if that makes sense,” Geren said.

Said Cahill: “After the first couple innings, I felt like I got comfortable. It was a lot easier. I found that rhythm I had in my last couple of side (sessions).”

But the A’s still aren’t giving him much offensive support. Coming in, his run support of 2.25 per outing was fourth lowest in the American League.

–The A’s continue to lean on Andrew Bailey hard out of the bullpen. It speaks to his effectiveness, but he’s logging an awfully heavy workload for a young guy. He gave up a run in the seventh, but came back strong in the eighth, getting Jose Lopez and Johnson swinging on 93 and 94 mph fastballs. Geren continues to rave about him.

“He was working at a tempo a touch quicker today, but when he had to at the end, he got his rhythm and threw fastballs right by guys. I could see him closing games when he gets more (experience). He has that ability.”

Don’t be surprised to see Bailey get a crack at the ninth inning soon, especially if it takes Brad Ziegler (still battling the flu) a while to regain his strength …

0

Chavez scratched after all

When it comes to the A’s lineup card, it’s always wise to keep the White Out handy. We didn’t find out until Oakland started batting in the top of the first that Eric Chavez was scratched from the lineup. Since the morning began, he went from playing first base, to playing third, to not playing at all. There’s been no further explanation yet, but my guess would be his elbow began acting up. Bobby Crosby is starting at third (and just made a sweet diving grab on Ian Kinsler’s grounder), with Landon Powell playing first …

0

Time warp in Toronto

Tune in to tonight’s series opener between the A’s and Blue Jays, and you’ll see the Jays wearing their powder blue throwback unis, as they wore during the 1980s. Is it powder blue? Carolina blue? No idea … I guess we’ll just call it Blue Jay Blue. They wear them for every Friday home game as part of a “Flashback Friday” promotion. …

Josh Outman starts for the A’s against lefty David Purcey, but the talk surrounding the Jays is their impressive offense out of the gate. Bob Geren talked before the game about how Toronto’s offense has done well supporting a young pitching staff, which is what the A’s are trying to do. “They’re always a team that when you come in here, you know they’re going to provide some offense,” Geren said. “They always play us tough.” Former Athletic Marco Scutaro has been terrific in the leadoff spot. He already has 3 HR’s, and he’s never hit more than nine in an entire season.

No Eric Chavez today, and probably not tomorrow or Sunday either. He says Monday is the day he’s likely to return, and he sounded pretty certain about it, for what it’s worth. He’ll take BP tomorrow, and if all goes well, he’ll throw and take grounders Sunday. In Oakland, he had mentioned possibly playing Saturday or Sunday, but the training staff is holding him back from throwing an extra day, thus Monday is the target.

Nomar Garciaparra is DHing tonight, so Bobby Crosby starts at third. The turf here in Toronto can be tough for anybody dealing w/leg issues (Garciaparra’s calf is giving him trouble), and Geren wants Garciaparra to start at third in tomorrow’s day game, so he’s saving him as much as possible.

No fresh news on reliever Joey Devine. He underwent those additional tests on his elbow, and he’s going back to visit Dr. James Andrews on Monday. The A’s should know more by Tuesday.

The lineups:

A’s — Sweeney CF; Cabrera SS; Giambi 1B; Holliday LF; Garciaparra DH; Cust RF; Suzuki C; Ellis 2B; Crosby 3B; Outman P

Jays — Scutaro SS; Hill 2B; Rios RF; Wells CF; Lind DH; Rolen 3B; Millar 1B; Barrett C; Bautista LF; Purcey P