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Sunday update: A’s-Jays

Not much news coming out of A’s headquarters leading up to this afternoon’s game. Same lineup as last night’s, with another lefty, Ricky Romero, on the hill for Toronto.

–Check out this item from espn.com’s Keith Law, who says A’s minor league third baseman Brett Wallace was the best prospect dealt at the trade deadline. Reading it should make you feel better as you watch highlights of Matt Holliday bashing the ball for the Cardinals.

–There’s still no information being offered on Justin Duchscherer after he was scratched from Friday’s start for Triple-A Sacramento.

–It’s going to be interesting to see what the A’s do Tuesday when Jason Giambi is eligible to come off the DL. Manager Bob Geren said this morning that it wasn’t a done deal Giambi would be activated Tuesday, nor was he sure if Giambi (strained right quad) would be physically ready to play. Ask Giambi, however, and he definitely thinks he’ll be ready to roll by Tuesday. The A’s current M.O. is to play their young guys and get a good evaluation of them against major league competition. Will they send Tommy Everidge back to Sacramento to make room for Giambi? Does Daric Barton (strained left hamstring) continue getting regular time when he comes off the DL?

I just don’t see Giambi playing much the rest of the season, given what the A’s are trying to accomplish. …

Today’s lineups:
A’s
Kennedy 3B
Davis CF
Suzuki C
Hairston LF
Cust RF
Everidge DH
Crosby 1B
Ellis 2B
Pennington SS

Mazzaro RHP

Jays
Bautista LF
Hill 2B
Lind DH
Overbay 1B
Wells CF
Rios RF
Encarnacion 3B
Barajas C
McDonald SS

Romero LHP

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A little more on Giambi

Just got done with our pregame session with Bob Geren, but we didn’t learn a whole lot of specifics about Jason Giambi’s quad injury. But Geren said it wasn’t an injury that happened yesterday, but has been building for a while. Can he return when he’s eligible to come off the DL Aug. 4? Geren didn’t say, so hopefully I’ll be able to grab Giambi when we’re allowed back in the clubhouse. His legs have bothered him pretty much all season, but how much that’s contributed to his .193 batting average is anyone’s guess.

I’m thinking the A’s won’t rush him to get back on the field. This is a chance for Daric Barton to get a long look, especially since Nomar Garciaparra’s health concerns limit his availability. But Geren pointed out the A’s will face lefties in three out of four games on the upcoming road trip to New York and Boston, so he’ll want Garciaparra in the lineup for those games as much as possible.

–The A’s invited fourth-round draft pick Max Stassi to take batting practice with them today. A catcher out of Yuba City High, Stassi caught Trevor Cahill’s bullpen session in front of a large group of A’s officials. The A’s really want to sign Stassi, who has gotten rave reviews from scouts. But he’s signed with UCLA, so he has a nice fallback plan. “I’m excited,” said Stassi, who’s being advised by Greg Genske. “Both ways it’s going to be a tough decision. We’re going to get to talking and see where it goes from here.”

Today’s lineups

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

Gonzalez LHP

Twins
Span CF
Punto SS
Morneau 1B
Cuddyer RF
Kubel DH
Young LF
Harris 3B
Redmond C
Casilla 2B

Blackburn RHP

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Giambi to DL with quad injury; Barton called up

A quick update before I head down to the A’s clubhouse. Jason Giambi was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained right quadriceps. Daric Barton was promoted from Triple-A Sacramento to take his spot.

There’s no details yet on how Giambi hurt himself, but Bobby Crosby replaced him at first base for the top of the ninth yesterday. More details to come …

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Back from break — A’s pregame update

Well, I’d call the A’s chances of erasing a 12-game deficit in the AL West remote at best. But if they’re going to make any sort of move, it probably has to start with this four-game series against the Angels. … I was just watching batting practice, and it continues to amaze me what a stud Matt Holliday is in BP for a guy who’s showing zero power in games. Kind of like a guy who hits 50 free throws in a row during shootaround, then shoots 60 percent from the line during games. But the way the ball jumps off Holliday’s bat (even if it’s just BP) is different from other hitters …

Checked in w/Brett Anderson before the game, and his back is doing much better. He threw a bullpen session today and said his velocity is back. He’s on schedule to start Sunday. …

Anybody out there remember a pitcher by the name of Justin Duchscherer? He’s still working his way back. Bob Geren watched a video of his throwing session today in Phoenix, and he’s coming along well. Remember, it’s a back problem that’s set him back most recently. All indications are his recovery from elbow surgery in March is on track. He’s scheduled to throw a simulated game Tuesday, and pitch in his first minor league game July 26 (2 innings, probably in AZ). The A’s have a plan mapped out that would have him go 100 pitches in a minor league game by Aug. 8. And you would think if he can do that, he’d be activated sometime around then. To start or not to start? That is the question. But he’ll surely be stretched out enough to be a starter …

Geren reiterated what he said last week: He plans to play Nomar Garciaparra at first base once a series, giving Jason Giambi a little time off. Giambi is hitting seventh again today, BTW … As for the rest of the lineups:

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

Braden LHP

Angels
Figgins 3B
Aybar SS
Abreu RF
Rivera DH
Napoli C
Morales 1B
Kendrick 2B
Matthews Jr. CF
Quinlan LF

Santana RHP

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Giambi dropped to seventh; Braden starting Saturday

The Rays may be the defending AL champs and playing good baseball right now, but they’re still not a huge draw here in St. Petersburg. Word is they’ve been drawing poorly on Friday nights, which is why they’re starting Friday games at 7:40 local time, about a half-hour later than the norm. Hmmm … if I was on the fence about going to a Friday night game, I’m not sure a later start would swing me toward grabbing tickets. They also do Saturday night postgame concerts on occasion. Tomorrow night I’ll be serenaded by Smashmouth while I’m working away on my stories after the game. Not so sure that’s going to pack ‘em in either …

–Jason Giambi was dropped to seventh in tonight’s A’s batting order, the lowest he’s hit all season. This probably had to happen at some point, but if Giambi starts hitting again, I don’t think he’d stay down there long. Jack Cust is hitting fifth tonight after hitting mainly sixth or seventh lately. “Cust has been swinging the bat a little better the last couple of months,” Bob Geren said. Kurt Suzuki, who has been swinging it pretty well, was dropped from fifth to sixth. That breaks up what would have been a string of four straight right-handed hitters. Geren really doesn’t have anything to lose by shaking things around, with the way this offense has been …

–Dallas Braden is expected back with the team in time to start tomorrow night’s game. Apparently, Braden threw a side session while he was in Stockton visiting his grandmother, who’s recovering from a stroke. Geren said there won’t be any limits on Braden as far as pitch count. This means Brett Anderson takes the ball Sunday, with Gio Gonzalez pitching out of the bullpen this weekend. Anderson will be on five days’ rest, so we’ll see if he keeps dealing like has in his past two starts w/extra rest.

–Reliever Joey Devine made the trip from his home in Atlanta to spend the weekend with his teammates. He said all has gone well as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, and he’s optimistic about being ready for spring training. The guy is one of the most pleasant, optimistic people you’ll meet, and major elbow surgery has done nothing to change that …

Tonight’s lineups

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

Mazzaro RHP

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

Niemann RHP

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A’s lineup, pregame news for Wednesday

Red Sox legend Jim Rice popped into the A’s clubhouse and was chatting w/Nomar Garciaparra earlier this afternoon. You never know who you’re going to see from day to day, especially when the A’s visit a team with such a rich history as Boston … We’ve got some dark clouds hovering over Fenway at the moment. Batting practice was canceled for both teams as a steady rain fell earlier. But the tarp is off the infield right now. Weather.com says there’s anywhere from a 35-45 percent chance of showers around first pitch, and for the next couple hours after that.

On to the news: Reliever Jeff Gray, who knows the route between Oakland and Triple-A Sacramento quite well, was recalled to take the 25-man roster spot of Dana Eveland. The right-hander has some nasty stuff, but he hasn’t gotten much of a chance to show it in two brief stints with Oakland this season. He was called up twice in May and retired the only batter he faced each time. Gray, 27, was 2-2 with a 1.99 ERA with Sacramento and was 11-for-11 in save opportunities.

Bob Geren’s phone buzzed w/a call from Dallas Braden while he was meeting w/reporters, but there’s still no word on whether the lefty will return to start one of the games this weekend in Tampa Bay … Brett Anderson will throw either Saturday or Sunday, w/Gio Gonzalez pitching the other day if Braden doesn’t go …

Jason Giambi gets his second day off in four games, with Bobby Crosby playing first and Jack Cust serving as DH. Giambi and Geren both said his body was in need of some overall rest, and he’ll get two days off with no game scheduled tomorrow. There might be a few guys who wouldn’t have minded taking tonight off with knuckleballer Tim Wakefield going for Boston. It can’t be too much fun gearing up for the heat that Josh Beckett brings, and then adjusting to Wakefield’s floating stuff 24 hours later. Now that I’ve written that, of course, the A’s will put a 10-spot on the scoreboard tonight …

The lineups, w/Trevor Cahill trying to snap out of a two-start slump for Oakland …
A’s
Kennedy 3B
Cabrera SS
Hairston CF
Holliday LF
Suzuki C
Cust DH
Sweeney RF
Ellis 2B
Crosby 1B

Cahill RHP

Sox
Drew RF
Pedroia 2B
Youkilis 3B
Ortiz DH
Bay LF
Ellsbury CF
Kotsay 1B
Green SS
Kottaras C

Wakefield RHP

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A’s-Sox pregame update — Tuesday

It was pouring rain earlier today in Boston, and I was giving this game zero chance of being played. But the skies have cleared a bit and the sun is out over Fenway, so it’s looking more promising. Dana Eveland takes the hill for the A’s tonight in place of Dallas Braden, who is on bereavement leave. You might remember Eveland’s only previous start at Fenway didn’t go so well last August. He surrendered nine runs in two innings, including five in the first. He goes against Josh Beckett tonight.

We were all speculating earlier about whether they might play a doubleheader tomorrow if tonight was rained out. The A’s also play a four-game series here July 27-30, so they could play a twin bill one of those days, I suppose. Anyway, this game should get in. …

Scott Hairston is starting in center and hitting third for the A’s. “Third is where he hit all year in San Diego (before Sunday’s trade),” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “I like what our 1-2 guys are doing. I think (Hairston) could be a nice fit (hitting) 1,2 or 3.”

Geren added that Rajai Davis would still get some starts, either spelling Sweeney in right field or Hairston in center. And he didn’t rule out Jack Cust still getting a little time in right. Jason Giambi and Nomar Garciaparra figure to eat up some at-bats at DH ….

Here are your lineups:

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

Eveland LHP

Red Sox
Drew RF
Pedroia 2B
Youkilis 3B
Bay LF
Ortiz DH
Varitek C
Ellsbury CF
Green SS
Bates 1B

Beckett RHP

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Awaiting the All-Star word

We won’t know until around first pitch this afternoon (1:05 p.m. in Cleveland) who makes the All-Star team from the A’s. But I’d be shocked if it’s anybody but catcher Kurt Suzuki. He’s really been their most consistent hitter, and I think he’s done very well handling a starting rotation where the average age is just 22 years old. He’s also garnered a lot of respect around the majors for the improvement he’s shown behind the plate. We’ll find out in a little less than an hour …

Jason Giambi is not in this afternoon’s lineup. His average is back down to .197 after last night’s 0-for-4. “He’s definitely in need of (a day off) today,” manager Bob Geren said this morning, adding Giambi could use the rest both from a physical and mental standpoint. Matt Holliday has been batting third, but with Giambi out, he slides into the cleanup spot and Suzuki (today’s DH) hits third. With switch-hitter Landon Powell catching, the A’s have seven right-handed bats in the lineup against lefty Cliff Lee.

Nomar Garciaparra is not one of them. It’ll be interesting to see how much Garciaparra plays in the upcoming three-game series at Boston. This will be his first trip back to Fenway Park as a visiting player (while on the active roster). I’m sure he’d like to play against his old team, but Garciaparra’s calf problems just won’t allow him to play on a regular basis, and he said this morning that serving as DH isn’t necessary less strenuous than playing defense.

As for today’s game, we’ll see how Gio Gonzalez fares in his third start. Tuesday’s five-inning effort against Detroit was a step in the right direction, so we’ll find out if he can build on it. …

Today’s lineups
A’s
Kennedy 3B
Cabrera SS
Suzuki DH
Holliday LF
Cust RF
Ellis 2B
Powell C
Crosby 1B
Davis CF

Gonzalez LHP

Indians
A. Cabrera SS
Carroll 2B
Sizemore DH
Choo RF
Peralta 3B
Garko 1B
Francisco CF
Gimenez LF
Shoppach C

Lee LHP

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Friday update from Cleveland

Major leaguers find no shortage of ways to kill time leading up to batting practice. And the visitors’ clubhouse here at Progressive Field in Cleveland has an arcade-like vibe going on with the selection of video games. Several A’s players were taking full advantage this afternoon. It sounded like Chuck E. Cheese when I walked in …

On to today’s news … The A’s starting rotation has been tweaked for the upcoming games. Gio Gonzalez and Brett Anderson have been flip-flopped, with Gonzalez pitching Sunday against the Indians and Brett Anderson going Monday against the Red Sox. The A’s liked what they saw with Anderson in terms of his velocity in his last start, when he had two extra days’ rest because of arm fatigue. Bob Geren said Anderson is feeling fine physically right now, and that the A’s simply wanted to give him a little extra rest again. Because the A’s were off Thursday, Gonzalez still gets to go on four days’ rest. “Brett responded well last time with the extra days, so we’re going to give him one more day,” Geren said.

The plan is for Gonzalez to pitch out of the bullpen against Tampa Bay next weekend leading into the All-Star break, so Sunday will be his last start of the first half. With another day off this Thursday, the A’s had some flexibility in the rotation. This lines up the other four starters — Trevor Cahill, Vin Mazzaro, Anderson and Dallas Braden — to make two more starts before the break, while Gio gets one.

–Geren made a late change in tonight’s lineup, putting Nomar Garciaparra at first base and Jason Giambi at DH. They originally were flip-flopped. Geren wanted to see how Garciaparra felt taking infield practice before making the switch. This marks Garciaparra’s first defensive start since coming off the DL.

–The babies keep arriving for A’s players. SEcond baseman Mark Ellis’ wife, Sarah, gave birth to a girl yesterday. Ellis is flying to Cleveland as I write this, so Adam Kennedy moves back to second base for a day, and Bobby Crosby gets the start at third.

Your lineups:

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

Cahill RHP

Indians
A. Cabrera SS
Sizemore CF
Martinez C
Choo RF
Hafner DH
Peralta 3B
Garko 1B
Valbuena 2B
Francisco LF

Huff LHP

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Tuesday update from the Coliseum

We’ve had a string of nice nights for baseball at the Coliseum. Looks like this will be another one, although the wind is whipping right now during BP. …

Let’s get the news out of the way: Josh Outman did in fact have Tommy John surgery today on his left elbow. Aside from having the ulnar collateral ligament reconstructed, he also had a bone spur removed. No official timetable for his recovery, but it’s generally anywhere from 12-18 months. That makes three A’s pitchers this season lost to Tommy John surgery. Yikes … Joey Devine and Dan Giese are the others.

In cheerier news on the pitching front, Justin Duchscherer’s back problems have improved and he’s been cleared to resume throwing in Phoenix. He’ll be following the typical routine, playing long toss from progressively longer distances. If all goes as planned, the A’s have it mapped out for him to throw in a minor league game July 26. As you know, all plans are written in pencil … Starting or relieving, you ask? The A’s don’t have a set plan for Duchscherer at this point. “There are no plans in any way other than to get him healthy and on the mound,” Bob Geren said.

–Geren touched a little bit on the A’s running game today. Matt Holliday stole a base last night, and the A’s were planning a double steal w/runners on the corners but it backfired when Kurt Suzuki got picked off third. Geren said he wants to look for opportunities to steal when the right guy is on base and the situation seems favorable.

I’m all for this. One of the few bright spots of last year’s offense was the A’s efforts to steal more. The aggression seemed to be dialed back in the early going this season, and with the A’s adding Matt Holliday and Jason Giambi to the middle of the order, I could see why they didn’t want to run themselves out of innings. But the power hasn’t come, and with the offense struggling to score, they’ve really got nothing to lose. They have some players who can swipe a bag, and it’s time to turn them loose.

Anyone w/me on this?

Tonight’s lineups, featuring Nomar Garciaparra DH’ing for the A’s, but no Travis Buck:

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

Gonzalez LHP

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

Galarraga RHP