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Soto catching on for A’s during race to post-season

Geovany Soto's big swing in the first inning Monday was A's biggest hit of the night in 8-4 win over Angels.

Geovany Soto’s big swing in the first inning Monday was A’s biggest hit of the night in 8-4 win over Angels.

Some deals get more notoriety than others.

But for the final 10 days of the season, the trade that brought Geovany Soto to the A’s could rank there with any of them. Oakland picked him up from the Rangers in a little-noticed Aug. 24 transaction. Since then the A’s have been down two starting catchers, Soto and Derek Norris.

And for Sunday and Monday at least, it was just Soto. Norris is dealing with a shoulder problem and has taken a wild pitch off his jaw, so he could use the break.

All Soto has done has been to deliver three RBIs for the A’s in Sunday’s 10-inning win over the Phillies, then get the key hit of the game Monday, a bases-loaded single that drove in the middle two runs of a six-run first.

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Tanaka has potential to alter look of AL West

With their relative surplus of pitching and relative paucity of wealth, the A’s don’t seem inclined to be in on the bidding for Japanese starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka in the coming weeks.

That doesn’t mean Oakland won’t be closely following the ins and outs of the Tanaka talk. The 25-year-old right-hander was made available for posting Thursday, and it wouldn’t be too outlandish a proposition to see him coming to rest with one of the A’s American League West competitors.

Tanaka, who was a simply unbelievable 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA last year with the Rakuten Golden Eagles, stands to be the player with the most potential impact still on the open market this winter. The Yankees (yawn) are almost always the first club mentioned as coveting Tanaka, thanks to their big pockets and fragile starting rotation.

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Smith making his case for more at-bats vs. lefties

For a man who has been primarily a platoon player in a Major League career that career that dates back to 2007, Seth Smith is looking decidedly un-platoonish these days.

Smith, a left-hander, came into the season having an 11-1 edge in games started against right-handed pitchers opposed to lefties, 368 to 32. Sunday, however, was his fifth start against a lefty this season in 27 games overall, and his third in the last four games.

He’s playing about twice as often against lefties this year than he has historically.

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Young becomes third A’s player to land on DL as a result of 19-inning win over Angels Monday

In retrospect it’s become increasingly important that the A’s won Monday’s 19-inning, six-hour, 32-minute marathon against the Angels in Oakland, because the negative repercussions from that game just keep mounting.

Outfielder Chris Young is the third player on the team to have suffered an injury in that game that necessitated a trip to the disabled list, Young’s left quad keeping him from running full out.

Already, the A’s had lost pitcher Brett Anderson to a sprained right foot (admittedly, he was already hurting before his 5.1 innings of one-run relief) and center fielder Coco Crisp, who strained his left hamstring while running up the third base line.

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C.J. Wilson’s comments catch A’s attention

We’re 3 for 3 on open-roof days here at the Rogers Center. Blue sky and sunshine, so it should be good baseball weather. …

The comments from Texas Rangers pitcher C.J. Wilson, in which he bashed the Coliseum and A’s fans, should make for an interesting game Friday night. Wilson will pitch the opener of a three-game series against Brandon McCarthy, his former Rangers teammate. Check out Wilson’s comments if you haven’t seen them yet. “He said kind of what he wanted to say,” McCarthy said. “The people that should be angry should be the fans. They can choose to respond how they want.” Here’s Kurt Suzuki’s take on Wilson, a free agent after the season who says he would never play for the A’s: “He’s a good pitcher and he’s probably going to make a lot of money soon. We don’t have a stadium like the Rangers or Yankees, but we’re fortunate to play for the Oakland A’s and we’re proud of it.”

–Center fielder Coco Crisp is not playing today, and manager Bob Melvin is unsure of Crisp’s availability for the Rangers series. But he said the team will hold off until after the weekend to decide if Crisp will go on the DL for his strained right calf. “I think we’re prepared to go through the Texas series,” Melvin said. “We’re reluctant to DL him because he’s such an important cog.” But Melvin also said a calf injury is a big deal for a player such as Crisp, whose speed is so important to his game.

–Scott Sizemore makes a surprise appearance in the leadoff spot with Jemile Weeks getting a day off. Melvin likes Sizemore’s on-base percentage and he thinks Sizemore is swinging the bat a little better lately. Adam Rosales is playing second base. “We want to keep (Weeks) healthy,” Melvin said. “It looks to me like he’s wearing down some.”

–Michael Wuertz, on the DL with right thumb tendinitis, won’t throw until Monday, and Melvin says it’s likely that Wuertz wouldn’t return until September.

Today’s lineups:
A’s – Sizemore 3B, Pennington SS, Matsui DH, Willingham LF, Jackson 1B, DeJesus RF, Suzuki C, Sweeney CF, Rosales 2B; Moscoso RHP.

Jays – Escobar SS, Thames LF, Bautista RF, Lind DH, Encarnacion 1B, Rasmus CF, Hill 2B, Arencibia C, Lawrie 3B; Mills LHP.

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Does getaway day success bode well for A’s?

The A’s are 9-4 in day games and 8-2 in the last game of a series. So are good things in store for Oakland in this afternoon’s series finale against the Royals? They need to rebound after last night’s deflating loss. Tyson Ross takes the hill coming off strong starts in his previous two outings. … It’s a warm afternoon in Kansas City, but there’s a pretty strong breeze blowing, so I’d think the heat shouldn’t be too much of a factor.

–Hideki Matsui is sitting against Royals lefty Jeff Francis, and reading through the lines during Bob Geren’s pregame media session, Matsui could sit Monday as well. Geren said he’d stack his lineup with right-handed hitters against Texas lefty C.J. Wilson. Matsui is hitting .275 against right-handers, .171 vs. lefties. Last night, his two doubles were one of the few offensive bright spots for the A’s. But they both came with the bases empty.

–Kevin Kouzmanoff is starting at third for the second straight day. He’s 9 for 20 w/two homers against Francis. “When you’re trying to get somebody going, there’s nothing better than doing it with a guy he’s had success against in the past,” Geren said.

–Conor Jackson is back in the lineup at left field, with Josh Willingham the DH. I didn’t mention it in this morning’s stories, but Jackson’s left shoulder apparently was bothering him more than he let on after his collision at first base Friday night. Geren said after that game that he was planning to give Jackson a day off Saturday anyway, but it sounds as if Jackson needed a day to recover. “We’re very fortunate it wasn’t anything more serious,” Geren said.

–You’ll see lots of A’s players swinging pink bats today to raise awareness for breast cancer on Mother’s Day. And pitcher Brandon McCarthy will be wearing pink cleats. McCarthy is the only Athletic who wears Under Armour cleats, the official cleat of Major League Baseball. According to A’s equipment manager Steve Vucinich, only players contracted with Under Armour can wear the pink cleats. Too bad McCarthy isn’t pitching today. It’s an interesting look …

The lineups:
A’s – Crisp CF, Barton 1B, Jackson LF, Willingham DH, Suzuki C, DeJesus RF, Ellis 2B, Kouzmanoff 3B, Pennington SS; Ross RHP.

Royals – Getz 2B, Cabrera DH, Gordon LF, Francoeur RF, Hosmer 1B, Betemit 3B, Maier CF, Pena C, Escobar SS; Francis LHP.