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A’s, Mariners know each other well

A little late with tonight’s post, my apologies on that …

–Landon Powell gets a second straight start tonight for the A’s. He’s at DH after jacking a three-run homer yesterday. Jack Cust is in right field and Rajai Davis gets a night off to rest a sore right thumb.

It’s too bad for Powell he isn’t getting more playing time. He’s really produced when he’s been in there. But other than at catcher or DH, it’s tough finding at-bats for him.

–There was lots of get-reacquainted time on the field during batting practice, as so many former A’s players and coaches are with Seattle. Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu and bench coach Ty Van Burkleo chatted w/Bob Geren. M’s first baseman/DH Mike Sweeney was catching up w/Mark Ellis … And the newest ex-Athletic/current Mariner, Jack Hannahan, is in the lineup at third base against his former team …

The full lineups

A’s
Kennedy 3B
Ellis 2B
Hairston LF
Cust RF
Suzuki C
Sweeney CF
Powell DH
Barton 1B
Pennington SS

Mazzaro RHP

Mariners
Gutierrez CF
Branyan 1B
Lopez 2B
Griffey Jr. DH
Hall RF
Johjima C
Hannahan 3B
Wilson SS
Saunders LF

Snell RHP

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Hannahan traded to Seattle for minor league pitcher

I’ll make this brief, but the A’s dealt third baseman Jack Hannahan to Seattle today for minor league right-hander Justin Souza. Souza, 23, was 6-6 with a 3.35 ERA in 20 games (14 starts) with Double-A West Tennessee. Bob Geren pointed out Souza’s good K/BB ratio (62 strikeouts, 18 walks in 78 innings) and said he’s likely to report to Double-A Midland for the A’s. I don’t have much more on him at the moment … Hannahan, acquired by the A’s in August 2007 from Detroit, provided a tremendous glove at third while filling in for Eric Chavez. But he didn’t develop into the impact hitter that teams look for at the corner infield spots. He’ll be reunited in Seattle with Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu, who was on Geren’s staff last season.

Tonight’s lineups:

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

Braden LHP

Rays
Upton CF
Crawford LF
Longoria 3B
Pena 1B
Zobrist 2B
Burrell DH
Bartlett SS
Kapler RF
Navarro C

Garza RHP

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Buck returns to Oakland; Outman having surgery tomorrow

The A’s just announced that outfielder Travis Buck has been recalled from Triple-A Sacramento and third baseman Jack Hannahan will be optioned out.  We’ve been told Buck won’t arrive at the Coliseum until after the game starts. With Adam Kennedy now getting time at third and Bobby Crosby still available to play the corner spots, Hannahan’s chances were going to be limited . Buck was hitting .350 for Sacramento as of today, and he gives the A’s a better defensive option in right than Jack Cust, who can also DH (Cust is still in tonight’s lineup in right, as of my writing this). Or perhaps the A’s will give Cust a day off here or there. The guy has played a ton of innings, and it looks like he could benefit from a break. He’s hitting seventh today for the second time in three games.

More news of the day: Left-hander Josh Outman is having surgery on his elbow tomorrow, to be performed by Dr. James Andrews. But still no official word on whether it will be Tommy John (ligament replacement) surgery or something else. Details of the surgery, and Outman’s timetable for recovery, should come after the procedure. But all signs are that Outman won’t be back until sometime during the 2010 season. “He had a great season for us. He’s a fine young pitcher,” Geren said. “Obviously it’s a setback. Obviously a second (opinion) was deemed necessary to (decide on having) surgery.” As for Outman’s replacement in the rotation, Geren still isn’t committing to Gio Gonzalez beyond tomorrow’s start.

Geren continues to shuffle around his batting order looking for a combination that produces some results. Orlando Cabrera is back up in the second spot in the order after Kennedy. Switch-hitting Landon Powell gets a start at DH in order to get as many left-handed bats in against right-hander Rick Porcello as possible. …

The lineups

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

Anderson LHP

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

Porcello RHP

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A’s-Giants pregame update

Lots of nostalgia tonight at AT&T Park, as a large number of players from the Giants’ 1989 pennant-winning team is here this weekend to be honored. There was a reception just outside the park before batting practice. It’s being shown on the Jumbotron right now. Obviously, everybody looks a little older, a little heavier. But I’ve recognized pretty much everybody they’ve introduced. Rick Reuschel actually looks like he’s shed a few pounds. Let’s call him Slimmer Daddy …

A large-scale pregame ceremony will be held before tomorrow night’s game. …

As for A’s news, Kurt Suzuki is not behind the plate tonight. His left knee is bothering him after he fouled a ball off it during yesterday’s pinch-hit at-bat. There was uncertainty in the press box yesterday over where the ball struck Suzuki. At any rate, that was some day off for him, wasn’t it? … He stepped to the plate in the ninth inning, fouled a ball off his knee, then got hit by a pitch in the thigh and went to first base. It’s probably a good thing the game didn’t go into extra innings. He might not have been able to play defense … Landon Powell gets his second straight start at catcher. Bob Geren said Suzuki would be his first option as a backup. Daric Barton (who began his pro career as a catcher in St. Louis’ organization) and Jack Hannahan would be next in line. …

Geren had lots of good things to say about Brad Ziegler after yesterday’s two shutout innings. He said before today’s game that he considers Ziegler an option in the ninth inning, which probably wasn’t the case a week or two ago, though Geren never said it in so many words. That doesn’t mean Geren would shy away from using Andrew Bailey. Or Craig Breslow. He mentioned the lefty’s a possibility in a save situation …

Ryan Sweeney said he’s scheduled to try running again tomorrow. It didn’t go so well when he ran Wednesday. He’s eligible to come off the DL on Thursday, but I’m not sure if that’s in the cards or not …

Tonight’s lineups:

A’s
Cabrera SS
Kennedy 2B
Cust RF
Holliday LF
Giambi 1B
Powell C
Davis CF
Hannahan 3B
Mazzaro P

Giants
Rowand CF
Renteria SS
Winn LF
Molina C
Sandoval 1B
Uribe 3B
Schierholtz RF
Burriss 2B
Lincecum P

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Avoiding the slippery slope

It goes without saying the A’s badly need a victory after losing four straight. But regardless of today’s result, this series obviously has dealt a serious blow to their long-term prospects for the rest of 2009. They’re 11 games under .500, and 11 games back in the AL West. The way I see it, this team can go one of two ways at this point. They can stick together and start playing better from a pure pride standpoint, or they can start drifting off mentally, and then things tailspin in a hurry. I think it’s a big test for Bob Geren to see whether he can keep this team from checking out psychologically. There’s a lot of baseball left to play …

–As for today’s news, Jack Cust is in the lineup at DH and Jack Hannahan is slated to play third base. It’s best to write this in pencil, as we’ve learned the past couple of days. Both players are battling lower back spasms, but apparently they’re good enough to give it a go today.

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

Braden P

Rangers:
Kinsler 2B
Young 3B
Jones DH
Cruz RF
Blalock 1B
Byrd CF
Murphy LF
Saltalamacchia C
Andrus SS

Millwood P

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A late scratch

Nomar Garciaparra’s return to the lineup was short-lived. He was a late scratch at DH tonight. We can only assume his right calf started acting up again. Jason Giambi shifts to DH with Bobby Crosby switching from third to first base, and Jack Hannahan entering the lineup at third. Here’s the new order:

Cabrera SS
Suzuki C
Cust RF
Holliday LF
Giambi DH
Kennedy 2B
Crosby 1B
Davis CF
Hannahan 3B

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A’s pregame report: Tuesday

It’s tough sorting out who’s coming and going from the A’s roster these days, wouldn’t you say?

With Sean Gallagher shipped out to the minors, the plan is for right-hander Edgar Gonzalez to make Saturday’s start against Arizona. Unless, Bob Geren said as a qualifier, he’s needed in relief before then. And would you bet against that possibility, with the way the starting pitching has been?

I thought Gio Gonzalez was a strong candidate to make that start, but assistant GM David Forst said in a pre-game media briefing that the priority right now is to keep the bullpen fully stocked. “Gio did a nice job, but with him being unavailable over the next three or four days, we needed to make a move.” Forst said elite prospect Vin Mazzaro was considered. You’ll remember he made a nice impression in spring training, but showed that he needed more seasoning. He’s 1-2 with a 3.16 ERA in eight appearances (seven starts) for Sacramento. “Vinny’s pitched well and he deserved to be in consideration,” Forst said. “But his development is more important. Right now he’s doing a nice job there, and we prefer for it to continue.”

Landon Powell is nursing a sore right hamstring, and though Geren said he considers Powell available if needed, the A’s are skating on thin ice at this position right now. But in looking at their minor league catching options, Curtis Thigpen hasn’t played all season because of a back injury, and Joel Galarraga is nursing a sore shoulder. Eric Munson is starting at Triple-A, and Anthony Recker, recently demoted to Double-A, was brought back to Triple-A just because depth was needed. So the A’s are crossing their fingers that Kurt Suzuki stays healthy. Jack Hannahan is the emergency catcher if needed.

Eric Chavez doesn’t figure to be ready for another month or so anyway, so I wasn’t surprised to see him go on the 60-day DL. But I just talked to Chavez, and he said he’s definitely shooting to be ready by the time he’s eligible to come off the DL. Believe me, retirement is nowhere on this guy’s agenda, which might surprise you.

More comments from Chavez in tomorrow’s notebook …

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

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

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A mix-and-match Sunday

The A’s are trotting out a funky looking lineup today as they try to avoid the sweep in Detroit. Catcher Kurt Suzuki is getting a day off, and Jason Giambi gets a turn at DH. So Adam Kennedy is hitting second, Jack Cust moves from DH to right field, Bobby Crosby moves across the diamond to first base and Jack Hannahan starts at third. That’s six left-handed hitters in the lineup against right-hander Armando Galarraga (counting switch-hitter Landon Powell, who’s catching).

 Travis Buck, despite an RBI single last night, gets bumped from the lineup. But we also learned this morning that he’s nursing a sore left shoulder. Buck is still diving with abandon after balls in the outfield, and he thinks he aggravated the shoulder with a dive early in the season. Buck has talked before about the need to be smarter about hurling his body everywhere, and I can think of at least a couple of occasions this season when he’s dove for a ball he had no chance of catching. Not only does that put him at injury risk, it lets a runner take an extra base as the ball gets past him. Anyway, Buck has been told that his left shoulder is somewhat weak structurally. So he’s felt a little discomfort even just reaching across his body to make a catch. ”I would say I’ve got to play knowing it’s not going to be 100 percent,” Buck said. “I’ve got to find a way to strengthen it during the season.”

I asked Bob Geren about Orlando Cabrera’s play last night, when he reached down and slapped the ball on the roll to Adam Kennedy for a force-out at second. You might have caught it on ESPN’s “Web Gems”. Geren thinks Cabrera, a native Colombian, has probably made that play before. “In a lot of Latin American countries, they play a game called ‘Flip’ before batting practice,” Geren said. “It’s kind of a fun game. You hit the ball around with your glove. When I saw (Cabrera’s play), it didn’t surprise me one bit. He’s probably played that game a lot. The great thing was Adam Kennedy was ready for it.”

It looks like the earliest Nomar Garciaparra will return would be Wednesday, Geren said. Garciaparra’s right calf was sore after yesterday’s workout, so he’s taking today off. Tampa Bay starts lefty Scott Kazmir on Wednesday, so Geren would like to have Garciaparra’s right-handed bat in there. I didn’t get a chance to grab Garciaparra before the game.

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

Tigers lineup: Granderson CF; Anderson LF; Thomas RF; Cabrera 1B; Ordonez DH; Larish 3B; Laird C; Santiago 2B; Everett SS; Galarraga P.

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A’s recall Jack Hannahan

A’s official release:

OAKLAND – The Oakland A’s recalled infielder Jack Hannahan from Triple-A Sacramento, the club announced today.

Hannahan was batting .157 with two home runs and seven RBI in 13 games with Sacramento, where he appeared in 10 games at third base and two at second base. He also batted .208 with no home runs, four RBI and a team leading 12 walks in 26 games with the A’s this spring. The 29-year old left-handed hitter started a team leading 106 games at third base for the A’s last year and was one of the top fielding third basemen in the American League. Hannahan’s .9697 fielding percentage was second best in the AL to Alex Rodriguez (.9701). However, he batted .218, which was the lowest batting average in the majors.

Hannahan takes the roster spot of Sean Gallagher, who was optioned to Sacramento yesterday.