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Saturday pregame update

Quick post here with first pitch less than an hour away … Piecing together today’s lineup was tricky for Bob Geren because he wasn’t sure about Landon Powell’s availability to play catcher. Powell walked by Geren as Geren was chatting w/reporters and indicated his left hamstring felt good enough to go, so he starts behind the plate today. Geren really wanted to give Kurt Suzuki the day off with a day game after a night game. …

I’m surprised Eric Patterson isn’t back in center field today, even though he struggled last night at the plate. Rajai Davis gets the start in center. Geren wanted to get a right-handed bat in center with lefty Andy Pettitte on the mound for the Yanks. But if Patterson was playing so well at Triple-A, I’d keep him in the lineup regularly for the first few games he’s up here to see if he can keep some momentum going. Geren pointed out that the A’s will see lefties frequently in the near future. “(Patterson) will play against lefties,” he said.

Here’s the full lineups on a pleasant afternoon at Yankee Stadium. We’re lucking out w/the lack of humidity …

A’s
Kennedy 3B
Cabrera SS
Hairston LF
Garciaparra DH
Cust RF
Davis CF
Crosby 1B
Ellis 2B
Powell C

Gonzalez LHP

Yanks
Jeter DH
Gardner CF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Swisher RF
Cano 2B
M. Cabrera LF
Ransom SS
Molina C

Pettitte LHP

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Eric Patterson starting in CF — a sign of things to come

Take a look at today’s post-Matt Holliday lineup, and I’d say it gives you a window into the A’s thinking for the rest of this season. Eric Patterson was called up, and he’s starting in center field. He’ll be seeing lots of time there, according to Bob Geren. The A’s definitely see this guy as an outfielder — long term — rather than an infielder.

Scott Hairston is starting in left w/Ryan Sweeney in right. Hmmm … looks like a potential starting 2010 outfield to me — if Patterson blossoms. Still not sold on this guy? I’m not either based on what I’ve seen in the bigs so far. But he’s tearing it up at Triple-A, and the A’s seem determined to give him a long look to see what he’s got. Where does this leave Travis Buck? Great question … Geren said Rajai Davis would keep drawing some starts against left-handed pitchers.

–Head out to San Jose Municipal Stadium on Sunday and you’ll get to see Justin Duchscherer pitch against the San Jose Giants. He’s scheduled to make his first rehab appearance that day for Single-A Stockton. Don’t show up late. He’ll probably start, and probably throw just two innings. The A’s will build his pitch count up gradually. As always, plans are subject to change. But Geren was more definitive about this plan than he was yesterday.

Tonight’s lineups:
A’s
Kennedy 3B
Cabrera SS
Hairston LF
Cust DH
Suzuki C
Sweeney RF
Barton 1B
Ellis 2B
Patterson CF

Anderson LHP

Yanks
Jeter SS
Damon LF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Posada C
Matsui DH
Cano 2B
Swisher RF
M. Cabrera CF

Chamberlain RHP

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A’s minor league recap: Carson, Barton lead big Sacramento win

Here’s a brief look at what happened down on the farm Thursday for the A’s affiliates:

SACRAMENTO (Triple-A)

RiverCats 19, Salt Lake City (Angels) 10: Story l Boxscore

In a game featuring 29 runs and 37 hits, the RiverCats’ Matt Carson was the big story as the 27-year-old outfielder blasted three home runs in their victory in Utah. Carson, a former BYU star who joined the A’s this winter as a six-year minor league free agent, opened some eyes while hitting .364 in spring training. On Thursday, Carson hit a two-run homer and a pair of solo shots, giving him a team-leading nine on the season.

Daric Barton went 3-for-4 with a homer, two doubles, four runs scored and four RBI. The first baseman is hitting .351 in his past 10 games.

Danny Putnam, the ex-Stanford star, also had three hits and four RBI. In all, 13 of the Cats’ 21 hits went for extra bases.

Eric Patterson and Eric Munson each had three hits. Patterson also stole two bases and has 22 for the season.

One of the Salt Lake relievers facing Sacramento was Antioch’s Dan Denham, who allowed two runs in 1 2/3 innings. Denham spent part of the ’07 season in the minors with the A’s before being dealt to Cincinnati in ’07 for Kirk Saarloos.

MIDLAND (Double-A)

RockHounds 4, NW Arkansas (Royals) 1: Story l Boxscore

Jason Fernandez (11th round, ’06) was the story in Midland as the right-hander threw a complete-game six-hitter to notch his sixth win. Fernandez, who threw 99 pitches, struck out six and didn’t walk anyone.

Matt Spencer homered for the second consecutive game and drove in a pair. Second baseman Adrian Cardenas went 3-for-3 and now leads the Texas League with a .389 average.

Corey Brown had a game-tying RBI double in the fifth and later scored.

STOCKTON (High Single-A)

Ports 5, High Desert (Mariners) 5 (susp.): Story l Boxscore

The Ports and Mavericks played five hours and one minute before having their game suspended after 14 innings in Stockton, due to the Cal League’s rule that no inning can begin after midnight. The teams will resume play Friday night at 6:05 p.m. and their regularly scheduled game will follow.

Jemile Weeks continued to show some pop by belting his third homer in just his eight game with the Ports. Christian Vitters went 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBI.

Ports starter Scott Hodsdon went six innings and allowed just two earned runs. He didn’t walk a batter and fanned three.

KANE COUNTY (Low Single-A)

Clinton (Mariners) 5, Cougars 4: Story l Boxscore

First baseman Steve Kleen hit a three-run home run in Kane County’s four-run fourth inning, but the Cougars couldn’t hold their lead and fell into a first-place tie with Cedar Rapids (Angels) in the Midwest League’s Western Division.

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A’s minor league recap: Rivercats win in 16; Weeks homers again

Here’s a look at the A’s minor league leaders as well as a brief look at what happened down on the farm Friday for their affiliates:
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A’s minor league recap: Mazzaro looks ready for big leagues

Here’s a brief look at what happened down on the farm Friday for the A’s affiliates:

The arbitration clock appears to be the only thing standing between Vin Mazzaro and a spot in the A’s rotation. After Mazzaro’s dominating effort Friday night, what other reason could there be for not promoting the 22-year-old right-hander?

Mazzaro flirted with a no-hitter against Omaha and it figures to be just a matter of a bad start or two by a current A’s starter before he’s in Oakland.

Meanwhile, Adrian Cardenas’ difficult time in Triple-A have come to an end as the A’s top middle infielder prospect was sent back to Double-A Midland. However, Cardenas was in the middle of another huge night offensively for the RockHounds on Friday.

SACRAMENTO (Triple-A)

RiverCats 3, Omaha (Royals) 1: Story l Boxscore

Vin Mazzaro fired eight innings of one-hit, shutout ball against Omaha to lower his ERA to 2.66. Mazzaro, who got no decision in the Cats’ 12-inning win, walked just one and struck out six. Over his last three starts, the A’s third-round pick from ’05 has gone 21 innings and given up just five hits and one earned run _ for an ERA of 0.43.

Eric Patterson had an RBI triple and Danny Putnam followed with an RBI single in Sacramento’s two-run 12th inning. Gregorio Petit had snapped a 0-0 tie with a run-scoring hit in the top of the 11th, but the struggling Jerry Blevins gave up the tying run in the bottom of the inning.

Cliff Pennington was 3-for-3 with a walk and is hitting .283.

MIDLAND (Double-A)

RockHounds 24, Corpus Christi (Astros) 6: Story l Boxscore

Midland abused Corpus Christi pitching while amassing 24 runs on 28 hits, including four apiece by four different players. Here’s the RockHounds’ honor roll from last night:

Adrian Cardenas: After hitting .177 in Sacramento, he resumed his torrid Texas League hitting by going 4-for-5 with 3 RBI. Cardenas is hitting .398 with 22 RBI in 20 Double-A games.

Corey Brown: Went 4-for-5 with six RBI and five runs, and came within a single of the cycle. He’s hitting .326 with five HRs and 22 RBI with an OPS of 1.044 in 95 at-bats.

Archie Gilbert: Ex-James Logan High star went 4-for-7 as his OBP stays over .400.

Matt Spencer: Went 4-for-5 with four RBI.

Matt Sulentic: Had two hits and 3 RBI and the 21-year-old outfielder is hitting .444 over his last eight games, boosting his average to .306.

Josh Donaldson: Went 3-for-3 with two RBI and is hitting a season-high .273.

Chris Carter: Had 2 doubles, 3 RBI and is hitting .268 with four homers, 32 RBI.

Tommy Everidge: Had three RBI and is now second in league with 37 RBI.

In injury news, 20-year-old reliever Arnold Leon is on the disabled list with a strained right elbow.

STOCKTON (High Single-A)

Ports 4, Visalia (Diamondbacks) 1: Story l Boxscore

Things are looking up in Stockton, as witnessed by a thoroughly dominating show by Ben Hornbeck. The 21-year-old lefty, making his Stockton debut, struck out a career-high 12 in six innings and allowed just one hit and one walk.

Hornbeck (32nd round, ’08) has probably been the best pitcher in the minors this year, having gone 4-0 with a 1.24 ERA at Kane County before last week’s promotion to the Ports. On Friday, Hornbeck struck out the side in two consecutive innings and finished by striking out eight of his last nine batters.

Larry Cobb drove in two runs, including one on a solo homer, to spark the Ports’ offense. Justin Friend of Tracy picked up his first save, as regular Ports closer Jon Hunton was promoted to Double-A.

Hard-throwing Henry Rodriguez recently was activated after recovering from offseason hernia surgery. Rodriguez, whose fastball has been clocked at 100 mph, has pitched in two games for Stockton, throwing three scoreless innings with seven strikeouts.

More excitement should be on the way shortly as second baseman Jemile Weeks, last year’s No. 1 pick, figures to arrive from extended spring training in Arizona in a matter of days.

KANE COUNTY (Low Single-A)

Cougars 6, Wisconsin (Brewers) 3: Story l Boxscore

Pedro Figueroa, a smallish (6-foot-1, 164 pounds) left-hander, threw seven strong innings as the Cougars (25-16) stretched their Western Division lead to 2 1/2 games. Figueroa (4-1, 5.40 ERA) gave up six hits, three runs, one walk and struck out five.

Franklin Hernandez had three RBI.

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A’s minor league recap: Simmons shines in Sacramento

Here’s a brief look at what happened down on the farm Friday for the A’s affiliates:

SACRAMENTO (Triple-A)

RiverCats 8, Albuquerque (Dodgers) 1: Story l Boxscore

Former 2007 1st-round pick James Simmons turned in his most impressive start of the season. He had a one-hit shutout after six innings and finished with a three-hitter in a season-high seven innings. Simmons allowed just one run and one walk and struck out three.

Daric Barton went 2-for-4 to stretch his hitting streak to nine games. Thanks to a .298 average in May, Barton’s now batting a season-high .211. Eric Patterson went 5-for-5 and is now hitting .314. Patterson has been starting in center field lately for the Cats.

When the A’s decide they need to bring up a lefty specialist in the bullpen, one possibility is former San Jose State pitcher Brad Kilby, a Sacramento area native who was Oakland’s 29th round pick in 2005. He’s probably behind both Jerry Blevins and Jay Marshall in the A’s pecking order at Sacramento. To be sure, a call-up to the majors would be a dream come true for the 26-year-old, whose career nearly ended last Halloween when he was hit in the head by a line drive during winter ball.

Speaking of relievers, Albuquerque’s Nick DeBarr, a former Amador Valley High standout, gave up two runs in two innings Friday. The Isotopes’ bullpen includes two former East Bay Athletic League pitchers in DeBarr and Livermore’s Erick Threets.

MIDLAND (Double-A)

San Antonio (Padres) 9, RockHounds 3: Story l Boxscore

Bad fielding was apparently contagious in the A’s organization Friday as the RockHounds did Oakland one better (worse?) by committing five errors _ all in the first three innings, including a pair by shortstop Josh Horton.

Midland remains in first place by 1/2 game over Corpus Christi (Astros).

Corey Brown went 1-for-4 with an RBI double, but struck out three times. Brown has struck out five times in the past two nights.

Chris Carter went 0-for-3 and saw his average dip to .268. The big first baseman has gone a season high six games without an RBI.

STOCKTON (High Single-A)

Ports 10, High Desert (Mariners) 3: Story l Boxscore

David Thomas and Frank Martinez each had two RBI as the Ports have now won three of four and five of their last seven. Still, Stockton had four errors to continue the organization’s theme of the night.

Shortstop Michael Richard had two hits and stole his team-leading sixth base.

KANE COUNTY (Low Single-A)

Cougars 3, Burlington (Royals) 2: Story l Boxscore

Shawn Haviland continued to impress for the first-place Cougars (22-12). Last year’s 33rd-round pick improved to 3-1 with five innings of two-run ball, featuring five strikeouts. Haviland’s ERA stands at 2.48.

Jeremy Barfield went 2-for-3 with an RBI and is now hitting .354.

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A’s pregame update: Friday

Just a few loose ends to tie up. We’re about an hour away from first pitch here at Safeco Field …

Eric Chavez has gone back to the Bay Area, and he’ll probably have tests on his elbow/forearm at some point, though Bob Geren didn’t know when that would be. Bobby Crosby is getting another start at third, with Eric Patterson starting for the second straight day at second base. Geren had good things to say about Patterson, indicating he’d get the majority of playing time at second for now over Gregorio Petit, who was called up earlier today. But considering that Petit hits right-handed and Patterson from the left side, I could see Petit getting some pinch-hit opportunities.

Not to state the obvious, but the absence of Eric Chavez AND Nomar Garciaparra has a pretty bad ripple effect on this lineup. Guys such as Kurt Suzuki get bumped up in the order (he’s hitting sixth tonight), and that weakens the bottom third of the order. It’s a pretty good situation when you can afford to bat a red-hot hitter like Suzuki as far down as the No. 7 spot, as the A’s did before the recent rash of injuries hit …

The good news: Jason Giambi is back at first base, though his hamstrings aren’t quite 100 percent.

Brad Ziegler is still under the weather. I didn’t see him in the clubhouse, but it looks like the A’s will have to go with other alternatives at closer tonight. Santiago Casilla (right calf) was scheduled to throw long toss before the game to see whether he might be available tonight. If he’s not, that leaves the A’s with five healthy relievers to back Dana Eveland.

A’s starting nine (plus Eveland)

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

Mariners starting nine (plus Carlos Silva)

Suzuki RF; Endy Chavez LF; Sweeney DH; Beltre 3B; Branyan 1B; Lopez 2B; Johjima C; Gutierrez CF; Betancourt SS.

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A’s minor league recap: Gallagher starts Saturday in Sacramento

Here’s a brief look at what happened down on the farm for the A’s affiliates:

SACRAMENTO (Triple-A)

The RiverCats added Sean Gallagher Thursday when the onetime Chicago Cub pitcher was optioned to Sacramento by the A’s. Gallagher will
join the starting rotation and make his first start in Sacramento on Saturday night against Las Vegas (Blue Jays).
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A’s minor league recap: Stockton falls to 0-8

Here’s a brief look at what happened down on the farm for the A’s affiliates Thursday:

SACRAMENTO (Triple-A)

Cliff Pennington’s hustle allowed the RiverCats to escape with a 7-6 10-inning win over Portland (Padres). The shortstop beat out a potential inning-ending double play grounder that allowed the winning run to score. Pennington’s scrappiness also showed earlier in the game as he drew three walks and scored twice. He has a .414 on-base percentage through eight games.
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