Sure looks like Gio Gonzalez will be throwing (emphasis on “throw”) tomorrow tonight for the A’s. Whoop-de-du!!
Looks like we’re about to find out just how much worth Dan Johnson’s career has at this point. Reports are circulating that he’s been designated for assignment to clear room on the 25- and 40-man rosters for Greg Smith, tonight’s starting pitcher.
The A’s, according to industry people with whom I’ve spoken, couldn’t give away Johnson during spring training. I think that’s probably a harsh assessment; the A’s never want to give away anybody. But Johnson clearly doesn’t command much, and it is possible he’ll make his way through waivers and wind up back in the minors.
Even if doesn’t, my guess is that it’s not a big loss. Johnson strikes me as a prototypical 4A player. He’ll always be a good minor-league player, but never a great major leaguer.
The saying around baseball is that you don’t fall in love with a guy in the spring or during the last month of the season. Therefore, the A’s say they’re keeping their expectations for Daric Barton in check.
But the lineup that manager Bob Geren posted before their first Cactus League game against Milwaukee today gives you a hint as to what they really think. Barton is hitting third, and while it is just spring training, the opening games usually reveal a hint as to what the ideal lineup would look like.
For the record, here is the starting nine for the Cactus opener.
RF Travis Buck
2B Mark Ellis
1B Daric Barton
LF Emil Brown
DH Dan Johnson
SS Bobby Crosby
3B Jack Hannahan
CF Chris Denorfia
C Justin Knoedler
RHP Joe Blanton
Couple of thoughts. 1) Don’t worry about Brown hitting cleanup when the season starts; he’s there because Jack Cust got scratched with the flu. 2) Johnson gets the initial call (at DH) over Mike Sweeney.
Manager Bob Geren told the media it shouldn’t read anything into the latter move. The thought is that Johnson and Sweeney will get a boatload of AB’s during the exhbition season, and the fact that Cust originally was down to play left field is indication of that. The A’s, more than likely, will have to make a tough decision regarding one of those two, and the competition starts now.
More updates as the Cactus League opener progresses.