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A’s trade Outman, Moscoso to Rockies for outfielder Seth Smith

Some A’s news for your Monday morning:

They’ve traded pitchers Josh Outman and Guillermo Moscoso to the Colorado Rockies for outfielder Seth Smith, who may very well be in their Opening Night lineup at one of the corner outfield spots. I’m not surprised the A’s dealt for Smith, 29, since they’ve been rumored to be interested in him. But I am surprised they dealt both Moscoso and Outman for him. The A’s have holes in the rotation (even if they do finalize a one-year deal with Bartolo Colon), and Moscoso and Outman were considered two candidates to fill out the starting five. The rotation should now go Brandon McCarthy, Dallas Braden (when he’s healthy) and Colon, with two spots to fill. This trade tells me the A’s are comfortable looking at the promising but inexperienced arms they’ve received in other trades this winter to possibly fill in those spots. Consider Jarrod Parker (obtained from AZ in the Trevor Cahill trade) and Brad Peacock and Tom Milone (both received from Washington in the Gio Gonzalez trade) to be prime candidates for rotation spots out of spring training. Graham Godfrey and Tyson Ross will also be in the mix.

Here’s a look at Smith’s career stats with the Rockies. Coco Crisp will start in center field for the A’s, and he could be flanked by Smith and Josh Reddick, with Michael Taylor and Collin Cowgill also possibilities.

3

Ryan Sweeney gets a look as No. 2 hitter

All is quiet on the A’s front leading into Game 2 of this three-game set against the Red Sox. Coco Crisp and Kurt Suzuki both have the day off, so David DeJesus leads off and Ryan Sweeney hits second, with Daric Barton in the No. 6 spot again. A’s manager Bob Geren was asked how long he envisions Barton batting lower in the order. “I don’t know,” he said. “I actually like the lineup better when he’s hitting second – when he’s going good. We’ll go day to day. I like the way he swung the bat last night.”

Geren also said he expects Guillermo Moscoso to be fine to start Tuesday after his extended relief stint Friday night. Moscoso threw 40 pitches, which still leaves him an option to go on three days’ rest Tuesday against Baltimore. If Moscoso wasn’t ready for Tuesday, the A’s would probably have to call someone up from the minors, because I don’t see Geren going with Josh Outman on short rest after Outman struggled Friday in his 67-pitch stint.

The lineups:

A’s: DeJesus RF, Sweeney CF, Willingham LF, Matsui DH, Ellis 2B, Barton 1B, Powell C, Kouzmanoff 3B, Pennington SS; Cahill RHP.

Red Sox: Ellsbury CF, Pedroia 2B, Gonzalez 1B, Youkilis 3B, Ortiz DH, Crawford LF, Lowrie SS, Drew RF, Varitek C; Beckett RHP.

3

Rich Harden to miss two weeks with strain in right side

The first A’s injury news for 2011 came down today, as right-hander Rich Harden will be shut down for two weeks with a strain in his right side, just underneath his arm. You can read the nuts and bolts of the story by clicking on the above link. But here’s the rundown:

Harden, a fifth starter candidate and potential reliever, felt pain about 10-15 pitches into a bullpen session on Tuesday. Pitching coach Ron Romanick decided to shut him down, and manager Bob Geren announced Harden won’t throw for approximately two weeks. “The exact words from (the training staff) was we’ll wait until he’s pain free,” Geren said. “It’s estimated it would be two weeks. Obviously we want to make sure when he cranks it back up that he’s ready to go.”

The glass-is-half-full outlook:The A’s now have the depth on their pitching staff to withstand such injuries. Spring camp is just three days old and Harden has plenty of time to come back. In talking to him this morning, he didn’t seem concerned that this would be a long-term problem.

The glass-is-half-empty outlook: This is an all-too-familiar theme developing for the A’s, and we haven’t even reached March yet. The A’s know Harden’s injury history from his first stint with the team, and should have taken that into consideration before re-signing him this winter. Plus, the other pitchers who now move into contention to be the fifth starter also are injury risks. Josh Outman is trying to come back from major elbow surgery and Brandon McCarthy has long had shoulder problems (though he’s healthy now). Tyson Ross and Bobby Cramer also are possibilities for the spot. And keep an eye on right-hander Guillermo Moscoso, an under-the-radar acquisition from Texas this winter. Geren said he looked good yesterday and considers Moscoso in the mix to be the No. 5 starter.