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No Giambi for A’s; Chavez starting at 3B

Lots of on-field activity this morning at Rangers Ballpark. The A’s and Rangers each took batting practice, which is pretty unusual for a day game. But with yesterday’s rainout, both teams want to sharpen up, I suppose. …

No Jason Giambi for the A’s today, as his hamstrings need another day of rest. Bob Geren thinks he might be able to play in tomorrow’s series opener in Seattle. … Just got word that Eric Chavez will start at third base. He was penciled in to play first, but Geren mentioned to reporters that he would play Chavez at third if his elbow felt good during pre-game drills. “My preference if Eric’s arm is available would be to do that,” Geren said. That means Bobby Crosby draws his second start at first base.

I’m wondering how wise it is to have Chavez play third, if there was doubt surrounding his elbow as recently as Tuesday. Crosby has looked better at third recently, and says he’s feeling more comfortable there.

Closer Brad Ziegler is under the weather, and Geren said the plan was for Ziegler to show up to the stadium around game time to see how he felt. If he’s unavailable, that leaves the A’s with a five-man bullpen unless Santiago Casilla (right calf) is able to go. I’m sure Geren would like to avoid using him. Regardless, the A’s would sure like to see Dallas Braden pitch deep into today’s game …

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

Rangers lineup: Kinsler 2B; Byrd CF; Young 3B; Jones LF; Blalock DH; Cruz RF; Davis 1B; Saltalamacchia C; Andrus SS; Padilla P.

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Starting at first base for the A’s … Eric Chavez

Not a misprint in that subject line, folks. Eric Chavez is starting at first base for the A’s tonight against the Texas Rangers. It turns out both of Jason Giambi’s hamstrings are sore. He had been nursing one sore hamstring, and the other one tightened up on him as he beat out an infield single last night in the fifth inning (who knew how close the A’s were to losing FIVE players in one game?).

This is quite an odd twist on things, but we’ve come to expect the unexpected w/this team. Chavez said just last night he was 2-3 days away from playing, but manager Bob Geren clarified in today’s media chat that it’s primarily the throwing aspect that is holding Chavez back from playing third. “Eric’s arm is still not quite ready to play third, but he can swing,” Geren said. I didn’t get a chance to grab Chavez before he went out to stretch to get his reaction to all of this.

Chavez has made exactly one major league appearance at first, and that came in 2001, when he started at third and made a mid-game switch. But Geren said he had no problem sticking Chavez there. “He’s a Gold Glove fielder.”

Think Geren is desperately trying to scrape together some offense? He could have played Bobby Crosby or Hannahan at third, and let the other one play first, but with Giambi and Nomar Garciaparra out, the A’s need some thunder in there (not that Chavez and his .100 average have created much thunder so far).

Back when spring training started, would you have guessed that Bobby Crosby, Landon Powell and Eric Chavez would have seen time at first base??? But the bigger concern here is Giambi’s status. I didn’t talk to him either before stretch, as there was no indication he was hurting. Geren said he was hopeful Giambi could play in tomorrow afternoon’s game. If not, he wouldn’t rule out Chavez playing more first base(interesting note: Geren talked with Chavez during one game earlier this season about moving to first if the A’s had tied the score).

Geren was emphatic in saying there are no plans to shift Chavez to first on a full-time basis.

While you’re digesting all of this, some other tidbits:

–Eric Patterson, freshly arrived from Sacramento, draws the start today at second base.

–Brett Anderson had his left index finger taped, but said his blister shouldn’t keep him from making his next start Sunday. He also had a blister form on the hand last year, and didn’t miss any time.

–Geren said he’d try to avoid using Santiago Casilla at all costs today. He’s officially day to day with a sore right calf, and the promotion of Kevin Cameron gives the A’s six healthy relievers.

–Weather update: The tarp is on the field here at Rangers Ballpark right now, but it doesn’t appear to be raining at the moment. And to my understanding, there’s no heavy showers in tonight’s forecast.

Here’s the A’s lineup: Sweeney CF; Cabrera SS; Cust DH; Holliday LF; Chavez 1B; Suzuki C; Buck RF; Crosby 3B; Patterson 2B; Outman P.

For the Rangers, still without slugger Josh Hamilton, who’s out with sore ribs: Kinsler 2B; Byrd CF; Young 3B; Jones LF; Blalock DH; Cruz RF; Davis 1B; Saltalamacchia C; Andrus SS; Padilla P.

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Cahill’s start pushed back to Saturday

The dark clouds come and go over Rangers Ballpark. Right now the sun is out as the A’s take BP before tonight’s series opener w/Texas. Weather.com says there’s a 40 percent chance of rain tonight and tomorrow. The wind is blowing pretty good too, so we’ll see how that affects fly balls tonight.

On to today’s news …

Trevor Cahill was supposed to start tomorrow’s game, but he’s been pushed back to Saturday. Josh Outman will take the ball tomorrow, so they’ve basically flip-flopped rotation turns. This gives Cahill two bullpen sessions in between starts instead of one to work out the kinks from Friday’s outing, when Tampa Bay knocked him around pretty good. “I’m just trying to find a consistent arm slot,” Cahill said before heading out to stretch.

That was more insight than we got from Bob Geren when discussing Cahill. Geren said during his media chat that the switch was made partly because the A’s didn’t like Outman going so long between starts. But I’m thinking this has EVERYTHING to do w/Cahill’s last outing. You’ve gotta believe the A’s will have a quick hook w/Cahill in the rotation if he keeps struggling, especially if Sean Gallagher and/or Gio Gonzalez continue throwing well at Triple-A (Gio starts tonight, by the way). I could see one of them up soon.

Eric Chavez just finished taking grounders and making throws around the infield. How he comes out of that will determine when he might return to the lineup. Could be tomorrow. Could be … ?????? If Chavez winds up on the DL, I’d expect the A’s to call up a reliever. They’re going with a 6-man bullpen right now, one short of what Geren usually likes carrying …

Today’s A’s lineup:

Sweeney CF; Cabrera SS; Giambi 1B; Holliday LF; Cust DH; Garciaparra 3B; Suzuki C; Buck RF; Ellis 2B; Anderson P.

For the Rangers: Kinsler 2B; Byrd CF; Young 3B; Jones LF; Blalock DH; Cruz RF; Davis 1B; Saltalamacchia C; Andrus SS; Millwood P.

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“Tommy John” surgery for Devine

It’s about an hour until first pitch this afternoon at Yankee Stadium. No sign of rain, but still overcast skies. As for your morning A’s news:

Manager Bob Geren confirmed that Joey Devine had reconstructive surgery on his elbow (Tommy John surgery), and that the estimated time for recovery is 8 months to a year. Fautino De Los Santos, the A’s prospect who had the procedure last May, has taken about a full year to recover, so I’d say that’s the more realistic timetable.

As I wrote this morning, it’s obviously a costly blow for the A’s. Devine was being counted on to share the ninth inning this season. And though Brad Ziegler has been solid as the closer, it hurts not having a pitcher of Devine’s caliber available as a late-game option.

No Eric Chavez in the lineup today, as it’s a day game after a night game. Geren said during the spring that Chavez wouldn’t play in day games after night games, but he’s hoping it won’t be necessary as the season goes on. Bobby Crosby gets the call at third today, with Jason Giambi DH’ing and Landon Powell playing first.

Nomar Garciaparra is hitting today and doing a little more running, and he told me this morning he’s aiming to return Friday. Tomorrow’s offday gives him an extra day of rest. The A’s have missed his bat against this slew of lefty pitchers they’ve faced. But as Geren said, “Nomar is a good hitter, period. He’s not necessarily better against lefties or righties. Missing a bat of his caliber always (hurts).”

One last tidbit: It’s confirmed that the A’s and Yankees will make up Monday’s rainout on July 23 at Yankee Stadium, meaning they’ll now play a four-game series here July 23-26.

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

Yankees lineup: Jeter SS; Damon LF; Teixeira 1B; Posada C; Cano 2B; Swisher RF; Matsui DH; Cabrera CF; Ranson 3B.

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A’s pregame update — Tuesday

The big A’s news leading up to tonight’s game w/the Yankees involved Joey Devine, who is out for the season after undergoing elbow surgery. You can read about that at contracostatimes.com.

It looks like they’re going to squeeze tonight’s game in. There’s been overcast skies but no rain all day, though there are forecasts for rain later tonight. It’s not nearly as windy as last night, when the rain was blowing sideways across Yankee Stadium.

Eric Chavez is starting at third base and batting seventh in the lineup, the lowest he’s hit all season. Mark Ellis is hitting sixth, as manager Bob Geren pointed to his .500 lifetime average against Andy Pettitte (6-for-12). Nomar Garciaparra is out of the lineup again, though he was scheduled to take batting practice and throw. If his right calf responds well, Geren said Garciaparra’s return could come Friday at home against Tampa Bay, but probably not tomorrow afternoon here in New York.

As was expected, Josh Outman’s turn in the rotation is being skipped following Monday’s rainout. Brett Anderson will start tomorrow, as we knew yesterday, with Trevor Cahill going Friday, Dallas Braden on Saturday and Dana Eveland (tonight’s starter) going Sunday. Outman will pitch out of the bullpen for now, with his next start scheduled for May 2 at Seattle.

Today’s A’s lineup: Sweeney RF; Cabrera SS; Giambi 1B; Holliday LF; Cust DH; Ellis 2B; Chavez 3B; Suzuki C; Davis CF; Eveland P.

Yankees lineup: Jeter SS; Damon LF; Teixeira 1B; Posada C; Cano 2B; Swisher RF; Matsui DH; Ransom 3B; Gardner CF; Pettitte P.

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Chavez starting at third; still no Nomar

Quick update here from Rogers Center, where the A’s wrap up a three-game series against the Blue Jays. A victory today would give them the series win and take some good vibes into a three-game series w/the Yankees, where the intensity is sure to crank up a notch.

Eric Chavez is in the lineup at third base. He threw this morning and took BP and looked good (that’s according to Bob Geren, who was pitching to him). Still no Nomar Garciaparra, who can’t lick this right calf problem. “He feels better today than he did yesterday,” Geren said, adding that the DL is not being discussed yet for Nomar. Not having his right-handed bat Saturday or today hurts the A’s, as Toronto has gone w/three left-handed starting pitchers. The A’s also get lefties Andy Pettitte and C.C. Sabathia out of the chute in New York.

Jason Giambi is at DH, w/Landon Powell playing first base, his second start there in the past four games. It’s an effort to preserve Giambi’s legs a bit. Plus, Geren wanted to get Powell, a switch hitter, into the lineup without sitting Kurt Suzuki, another right-handed bat.

A’s lineup: Sweeney CF; Cabrera SS; Giambi DH; Holliday LF; Cust RF; Chavez 3B; Suzuki C; Ellis 2B; Powell 1B; Braden P

Jays lineup: Scutaro SS; Hill 2B; Rios RF; Wells CF; Millar DH; Rolen 3B; Overbay 1B; Raul Chavez C; Snider LF; Romero P

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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

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Tuesday’s pregame A’s update

As the A’s take batting practice before game 2 against the Red Sox, the wind is howling like nothing I’ve seen at the Coliseum over the past two years. It’s blowing straight in from right field at the moment, so it will take an absolute bomb to hit a homer to right.

“You’re gonna need a 2-iron,” Jason Giambi said as he stepped out of the cage. Of course, the wind could start swirling a different direction by first pitch.

Tonight’s A’s lineup:

Sweeney CF; Cabrera SS; Giambi 1B; Holliday LF; Cust DH; Garciaparra 3B; Suzuki C; Buck RF; Ellis 2B; Eveland P

For the Red Sox:

Ellsbury CF; Pedroia 2B; Ortiz DH; Youkilis 1B; Drew RF; Bay LF; Lowell 3B; Varitek C; Green SS; Matsuzaka P

–No Eric Chavez again tonight. He visited the doctor today for an MRI on his right shoulder, and Bob Geren is looking at Friday as a hopeful return date for Chavez, following Thursday’s offday. I won’t even try to speculate whether this is a short-term concern for the A’s, or if he could be out longer. There’s just no telling …

–Travis Buck is back in the lineup after sitting for two days. He’s 1-for-11 on the season. This is typical stuff for Buck, who said he’s gotten off to slow starts since his junior season at Arizona State. But obviously he needs to start hitting to keep getting regular playing time.

–Reliever Joey Devine will undergo a bone scan and CT scan on his right elbow tomorrow.

That’s all for now …

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Chavez likely to miss a couple days

So after I wrote yesterday about how good the A’s infield has been at full strength, they’re likely going to be without third baseman Eric Chavez for the next couple of days. Chavez has some stiffness in his right shoulder and neck from that dive he took back into first base Friday night. He took Saturday off (that was previously planned) and played yesterday, but Chavez still has soreness whether he’s in the field or at the plate. “Officially he’s day to day, but he’s probably going to be out for a couple days,” Bob Geren said in his pregame media session.

Said Chavez: “If I come back tomorrow and it’s a little stiff, I’ll probably (return) Wednesday.”

The cautious approach is because Chavez spent all offseason and most of the spring rehabbing from surgery on that right shoulder. The neck problems are solely from Friday’s slide. Having just talked to him, he didn’t seem terribly worried that it might be a long-term thing. Geren had planned on starting Jason Giambi at DH tonight, but now Giambi is at first with Nomar Garciaparra starting at third against Boston, his former team.

Bobby Crosby gets his first start at second base as Mark Ellis gets a planned day off. No Travis Buck in the lineup for a second straight day. Rajai Davis gets another outfield start.

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

Red Sox lineup:

Baldelli CF; Pedroia 2B; Ortiz DH; Youkilis 1B; Drew RF; Bay LF; Lowell 3B; Varitek C; Green SS; Lester P

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A’s 6, Angels 4

There was a lot to cram into Wednesday’s paper on tonight’s 6-4 A’s win over the Angels. Not all of it made it in, so here’s a few leftover details:

–Trevor Cahill had plenty of supporters who made the trip up from the San Diego area to watch his major league debut. As of about 30 minutes after the game, he didn’t have any keepsakes, however. No lineup card or game ball or anything. Maybe that will come after his first victory, which he’d probably prefer anyway.

“I was more nervous (Monday night) than today with the game itself,” Cahill said. “It couldn’t come soon enough.”

Overall, his five innings were pretty good considering he was constantly working out of jams.

“For his first game, I thought he handled himself pretty well,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “I didn’t see him nervous or rattled by being in that situation.”

–Eric Chavez had one RBI, giving him 777 for his career and moving past Reggie Jackson for seventh place in A’s franchise history.

That’s all for now …