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Gabe Gross quotes, other leftovers from busy A’s Monday

***I heard back from Gabe Gross tonight (after turning my story in) and just thought I’d share with you some highlights of the conversation. Safe to say he’s pretty psyched about his situation w/the A’s:

–He compared the A’s potential to that of his 2008 Rays team, a 94-win squad that made the World Series that season and went worst-to-first in the AL East. “I’ve been a part of one of the biggest upset stories in (baseball) history, it seems, with the 2008 Rays. There seems no reason that a team with as much talent on it (as the A’s), especially from a starting pitching standpoint, can’t do the same thing.”

–A’s GM Billy Beane said the team has pursued Gross in the past. Maybe that’s why Gross felt he eventually would be wearing green and gold someday: “I felt for one reason or another I’d wind up in Oakland one day. I’m glad to be there now. I feel like, the way I play the game, and the things I do well, are things they appreciate and look for in players. It seems my game fits well with their idea of the way the game is played.”

–Gross says he’s comfortable in all three outfield spots but that he’s probably most at home in center field, where he’s played the least. “It’s probably the easiest spot to play as far as angles and routes. When the ball is hit to one side, it stays to that side.”

***I was talking to Beane today about his outfield situation, which could be set with Rajai Davis, Coco Crisp and Ryan Sweeney starting, Gabe Gross as a backup, and Jack Cust as a possible fifth outfielder when he’s not DH. Beane also threw Eric Patterson’s name into the mix as someone with a great shot of making the Opening Day roster. “He played well last year, he’s got versatility, he can back up at second. Given his performance, he certainly deserves that opportunity.” Noticeably absent from the discussion was Travis Buck, who is stewing over his status w/the team. Not that Buck’s low spot on the totem pole is a revelation. That’s been obvious for some time now.

****In a bit of housekeeping news, the A’s have re-signed right-hander Dan Giese to a minor league deal. Giese is recovering from Tommy John surgery on his elbow, which was performed in June. He was expected then to be out 12-18 months. …

That’s all for now … 19 days until pitchers and catchers report.

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Tuesday update from the Coliseum

We’ve had a string of nice nights for baseball at the Coliseum. Looks like this will be another one, although the wind is whipping right now during BP. …

Let’s get the news out of the way: Josh Outman did in fact have Tommy John surgery today on his left elbow. Aside from having the ulnar collateral ligament reconstructed, he also had a bone spur removed. No official timetable for his recovery, but it’s generally anywhere from 12-18 months. That makes three A’s pitchers this season lost to Tommy John surgery. Yikes … Joey Devine and Dan Giese are the others.

In cheerier news on the pitching front, Justin Duchscherer’s back problems have improved and he’s been cleared to resume throwing in Phoenix. He’ll be following the typical routine, playing long toss from progressively longer distances. If all goes as planned, the A’s have it mapped out for him to throw in a minor league game July 26. As you know, all plans are written in pencil … Starting or relieving, you ask? The A’s don’t have a set plan for Duchscherer at this point. “There are no plans in any way other than to get him healthy and on the mound,” Bob Geren said.

–Geren touched a little bit on the A’s running game today. Matt Holliday stole a base last night, and the A’s were planning a double steal w/runners on the corners but it backfired when Kurt Suzuki got picked off third. Geren said he wants to look for opportunities to steal when the right guy is on base and the situation seems favorable.

I’m all for this. One of the few bright spots of last year’s offense was the A’s efforts to steal more. The aggression seemed to be dialed back in the early going this season, and with the A’s adding Matt Holliday and Jason Giambi to the middle of the order, I could see why they didn’t want to run themselves out of innings. But the power hasn’t come, and with the offense struggling to score, they’ve really got nothing to lose. They have some players who can swipe a bag, and it’s time to turn them loose.

Anyone w/me on this?

Tonight’s lineups, featuring Nomar Garciaparra DH’ing for the A’s, but no Travis Buck:

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

Gonzalez LHP

Tigers
Granderson CF
Polanco 2B
Cabrera 1B
Thames DH
Raburn LF
Inge 3B
Ordonez RF
Ryan C
Everett SS

Galarraga RHP

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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

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Cahill adding to his arsenal

Something to look for tonight from Trevor Cahill: Bob Geren says he’s been working to perfect a “front-door” sinker against left-handed batters. The pitch basically starts at a guy’s hip and works its way back over the plate. It takes a lot of confidence and trust in the pitch to throw it, because you’re basically aiming for a hitter knowing the pitch will tail back. “It’s not something that’s easily perfected, but it’s almost like having a new pitch,” Geren said. He added that not many pitchers utilize a front-door sinker, but Greg Maddux is an example of somebody who’s had incredible success w/it …

–Checked in w/Ryan Sweeney about his left knee, and he doesn’t sound all that optimistic right now. The A’s staff doesn’t want him to hit or run today. Sweeney found out yesterday he has a sprained MCL. “It’s irritated, so if I start doing stuff it’s going to flare up,” he said. “It’s frustrating.” No talk of the DL yet for Sweeney.

–Geren said he doesn’t expect Nomar Garciaparra to come off the DL when he’s eligible Monday, not a big surprise considering he hadn’t done much in the way of baseball activity since going on the DL.

–Tough news on reliever Dan Giese, who is having Tommy John surgery Tuesday w/Dr. Lewis Yocum. He thought his ulnar nerve simply needed to be moved, but his ulnar collateral ligament was torn, which was causing all the pain with his nerve. He’ll definitely be out at least a full year.

The lineups for tonight’s game, serving as a Jordin Sparks opening act:

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

Cahill P

Orioles
Roberts 2B
Markakis RF
Jones CF
Scott DH
Huff 1B
Mora 3B
Zaun C
Pie LF
Andino SS

Berken P

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A’s pregame update — Monday

We’re less than an hour from first pitch here in Tampa Bay (St. Petersburg to be precise) … It’s a pretty heavy-activity day for Nomar Garciaparra. He’s run the bases and taken grounders, and he’s about to hit. If today goes well with his right calf injury, I’d think he’s a decent bet to be activated Wednesday, as A’s manager Bob Geren is hoping. ….

Gio Gonzalez was scheduled to land in Tampa at about 4 p.m., but hadn’t made it to the park by the time we talked with Geren. He’ll be used in the same long relief role that Dan Giese was filling before going on the DL. Gonzalez walked 11 batters combined in two outings at Triple-A since he was last optioned, so it’ll be interesting to see how he responds up here when he gets in a game. I think the A’s just like the fact that he has some big league experience, and he’s pitched decently in relief up here. So he got the call.

Considering how he struggled for Sacramento, though, I wonder if his last outing with the A’s stuck w/him a bit. Remember, he was optioned out after pitching five innings in relief and giving up a three-run lead in that 15-inning loss May 3 at Seattle. Can’t blame him too much for that game. Five innings of relief is a lot to ask of anybody…

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

Rays lineup: Upton CF; Crawford LF; Longoria 3B; Pena 1B; Zobrist RF; Aybar DH; Bartlett SS; Iwamura 2B; Hernandez C; Niemann P.

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Eveland sent down; OF Copeland joins roster

Today brought more shuttling with the A’s roster, as lefty Dana Eveland was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento and outfielder Ben Copeland was activated from the disabled list. Dan Giese will make tomorrow night’s start against Texas in Eveland’s place. Can’t be too surprised by the decision to send Eveland down, as those two outings in Seattle (one start, one unexpected relief outing) couldn’t have done much for his confidence. “We’ll get him in the rotation down there,” Bob Geren said. “He’s got to improve command of all of his pitches.”

Starting tomorrow shouldn’t be a huge adjustment for Giese, who served as a spot starter for the Yankees last season. “I really enjoy it,” Giese said. “I really don’t do much different (from relieving).” He said he’ll stay in the stretch tomorrow since that’s what he’s used to doing out of the ‘pen. Geren labeled this a spot start for Giese, and with two offdays next week, the A’s have some wiggle room with their rotation. They don’t know yet if Brett Anderson’s blister will be healed enough for him to start Saturday. If he can’t go, I’d assume Sean Gallagher would take his place. Geren mentioned Gallagher as a starting option when he talked about the flexibility with the upcoming rotation.

Copeland, you’ll remember from spring training, was the Rule 5 outfielder the A’s picked up from the Giants. He suffered whiplash when he crashed into the wall making a catch down in Arizona, and he had lingering shoulder problems as a result. He said throwing isn’t an issue now, and he was 6-for-13 in three games split between Single-A Stockton and Sacramento.

I’m not sure if I envision Copeland with a long-term future in Oakland, but as a Rule 5 guy, he has to stay on the 25-man roster or be offered back to the Giants. We’ll see what kind of playing time he gets. This gives the A’s six outfielders, which they’re able to pull off because they’re carrying just five infielders right now.

Nomar Garciaparra apparently is recovering well from his right calf injury. He’s back w/the team and Geren said Garciaparra is hopeful of being ready to come off the DL when he’s eligible May 14.

One last note: Geren said he’ll probably get Brad Ziegler in tonight’s game even if it’s not a save situation. Ziegler hasn’t pitched since April 25, but is ready to roll after recovering from the flu …

Today’s A’s lineup, featuring Ryan Sweeney back in the leadoff spot:

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

Angels lineup: Figgins 3B; Matthews Jr., RF; Abreu DH; Hunter CF; Napoli C; Kendrick 2B; Morales 1B; Rivera LF; Aybar SS; Loux P.

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Giese called up; Blevins optioned to minors

The A’s made a move in the bullpen this morning, recalling right-handed reliever Dan Giese from Triple-A Sacramento and optioning down lefty Jerry Blevins. Considering Blevins has struggled in the early going, it’s not a big shock. If there’s any surprise, it’s that the A’s now have seven right-handed relievers and no lefties. But Bob Geren has always said he wants the best seven guys in the ‘pen, regardless of whether they’re righties or lefties.

Giese, 31, was claimed off waivers from the New York Yankees on April 8. Last season, he was mainly a long reliever for the Yankees and occasional spot starter. He said he figures he’ll be used in a similar fashion with Oakland. Don’t be surprised if he swaps roles at some point w/Josh Outman if Outman continues to struggle in the rotation. Outman’s next outing would be Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.

Giants fans might remember Giese making his major league debut with them in 2007. “I’m not a guy who’s going to blow up the radar gun,” Giese said this morning. “I’m a sinker/slider guy who will throw a lot of strikes, get quick, easy outs.”

He had a bit of an adventure getting to Toronto, as his flight from Sacramento was delayed. He had to switch to a different flight because he would have missed his connecting flight to get here. He finally arrived in town at 12:30 a.m. this morning, but said a couple cups of coffee were keeping him alert …

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A’s claim RHP Giese off waivers from the Yankees

The A’s just announced that they’ve claimed right-handed pitcher Dan Giese off waivers from the New York Yankees, and then optioned him to Triple-A Sacramento on Wednesday.

The former San Francisco Giant went 1-3 with a 3.53 ERA in 20 games with the Yankees last season.

The A’s made room on the 40-man roster for the 31-year-old Giese by designating right-handed pitcher Chris Schroder for assignment.