PHOENIX – The A’s almost had a bit of news this morning.
They posted the first starts for three expected members of the starting rotation, including Brett Anderson, who pitches against the Cubs in Mesa Thursday after A.J. Griffin faces the Diamondbacks today in Scottsdale and Dan Straily throws Wednesday at home against the Padres.
Sorry for the late post … technical difficulties with our blog today. Not that there was a ton to report anyway. The A’s workout was interrupted by rain for a second straight day, and it poured much harder today than yesterday. The team had to shift operations to Papago Park because there’s more covered batting cages over there, although the pitchers were able to throw outside. Weather.com predicts tomorrow will be in the mid-60′s with no rain … We can only hope.
A few tidbits and observations:
–Justin Duchscherer’s procedure to relieve pain in his SI joint was rescheduled for tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. No reason given for the postponement.
–Jake Fox has taken the early lead for chattiest player in the clubhouse. The guy is just friendly as can be. Some players see reporters and head the other direction. Fox invites you to sit down, talks your ear off, and then encourages you to drop by again soon. Gotta love it …
–Manager Bob Geren and pitching coach Curt Young both were impressed with RHP Tyson Ross today. “His delivery looks cleaner and cleaner,” Geren said. Ross split last year between Single-A and Double-A, and the A’s are very high on him.
–Coco Crisp and stud first base prospect Chris Carter were among the position players to report today. All position players are due in Thursday, with the first full-squad workout Friday.
–Never knew Ben Sheets had such a dry wit about him. He’s a really funny dude, and seems to relish it when reporters are around. It’s early, but that bodes well for us covering the team, because he’s going to be a big story for as long as he’s with the A’s. Poking fun at his (lack of) hitting ability, Sheets said he wants the chance to dig in against CC Sabathia. “Just let him know that if I ever face him in Yankee Stadium, the porch is short.”
Check in w/you tomorrow …
Justin Duchscherer just addressed the Bay Area media, giving his thoughts on how happy he is to return to the A’s. He was also pretty frank about his much-publicized bout with clinical depression, which isn’t surprising because he’s always been one to speak his mind with us reporter folks.
A few tidbits:
–Duchscherer said he didn’t accept the A’s offer of arbitration because he wanted to explore opportunities with East Coast teams, in an effort to be closer to his son, Evan, who lives in Philadelphia. He talked with several teams, but in the end, Oakland wound up being his best option. He loves Kurt Suzuki as his catcher and Curt Young as his pitching coach. And A’s skipper Bob Geren was his first professional manager back in 1996 in Boston’s farm system.
–His divorce in 2008, and being separated for long periods from his son, took a huge toll on him. And the elbow surgery that largely wiped out his 2009 season compounded things. “Not being able to handle the stress and pressure and all of it at one time, I needed some help,” he said. “I sorted out a lot of things that needed to be dealt with and I’m ready to go. … Where I’m at now and where I was six months ago is (real different).”
–Duchscherer looks forward to joining a rotation that showed much promise while he was sidelined last season. He thinks there’s much he has to offer to the young staff, especially that “you can get guys out with subpar stuff. I don’t have 95 mph stuff. I look forward to being a bit of a mentor. When I was a younger kid — 24, 25 — I didn’t know anybody who was going through stuff I was going through.”
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.