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Reineke optioned; reliever Gray recalled

Slow news morning at the Coliseum …

Chad Reineke, last night’s starting pitcher, was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento, not so surprising considering that Dallas Braden should jump right back into the rotation the next time through. But I was surprised the A’s didn’t add a position player to fill Reienke’s spot. Reliever Jeff Gray was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento, bolstering the bullpen but leaving manager Bob Geren with just three position players on the bench. Are you surprised the A’s didn’t use the opportunity to activate Jason Giambi? Neither am I, judging by the way this scenario has played out so far.

Speaking of first base, Daric Barton was put through running drills to test his strained left hamstring. If all goes well, Barton could begin a rehab stint with Sacramento as soon as tomorrow. Things will get really interesting once Barton is healthy. Does he get the majority of time at first? Does Tommy Everidge keep playing? Does one get sent down to make it easier to squeeze Giambi back on the roster?

I see the A’s continuing to play the young guys. Any thoughts out there on how you’d like to see first base handled???

–One thing to watch today: Geren said Trevor Cahill’s last side session was the best he’s seen from the young right-hander in a while. We’ll see if that shows through today, as Cahill tries to bounce back after two poor outings …

today’s lineups

A’s
Kennedy 3B
Davis CF
Cust RF
Nomar DH
Everidge 1B
Sweeney LF
Powell C
Ellis 2B
Pennington SS

Cahill RHP

Rangers
German 2B
Young 3B
Murphy LF
Jones DH
Hamilton RF
Byrd CF
Blalock 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Vizquel SS

Hunter 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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The weekend

Gonna start the weekend minor-league rundown with a bit of a detour. The discussion in the office this morning regarded just how bad this A’s team is — frankly, I think it’s their worst team since 1997 — and how much longer do you give them until you call off the dogs?

My thinking: Two more weeks. The late, great sportswriter Leonard Koppett told me one time that six weeks into the season, the hitters have caught up to the pitchers, and that’s usually when veterans if they get going will start to get going.” In other words, two more weeks of a lousy Jason Giambi doesn’t portend good things.

How does this tie into the minors? Well, time to see which prospect you’d like most to see called up for an extended call-up. Co-worker Ben Enos says Jeff Gray. Cubs fanatic Chase Bryson said Sean Doolittle (“Demote Buck,” he says). I say, “anybody but Vince Mazzaro (don’t start his service time).”

Who’s your pick?

Meantime, while you think about it, here are some candidates.

TRIPLE-A SACRAMENTO

1B SEAN DOOLITTLE: He’s been playing the outfield and is on the disabled list. But he hits left-handed and 10 of his 28 hits have been for extra bases.

RHP JEFF GRAY: His whip is under one. He brings heat. And I’m thinking if you give Brad Ziegler a chance to close in a lost season, why not this guy?

DOUBLE-A MIDLAND

1B CHRIS CARTER: We won’t see him this year — why start his service time? — but this kid is the buzz. He continues to drive in runs in bunches.

The usual rundown returns tomorrow.

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A’s in rain delay in Detroit

(From Joe Stiglich):

Sorry for the delay in posting today, folks. Big-time computer/Internet issues. We’re in a rain delay at the moment at Comerica Park. It’s rained some, but not heavily. I believe the delay is more in anticipation of a heavy storm that may or may not hit Detroit. They just announced that we’re going to start at 8:05 p.m. local time here …

Outfielder Aaron Cunningham was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento and reliever Santiago Casilla was activated from the DL. Relievers Jerry Blevins and Jeff Gray were optioned to make room for them.

Cunningham is starting in right field tonight ahead of Travis Buck. The left-handed hitting Buck is hitting just .200 in 20 games but his playing time has been pretty spotty. He would typically play tonight with righty Edwin Jackson starting for Detroit, but the right-handed hitting Cunningham gets the call.

In other news, Dallas Braden says his hand feels good enough to start tomorrow. Trevor Cahill goes Sunday. Bob Geren hasn’t announced starters for Monday and Tuesday, but he said its likely to be Josh Outman and Sean Gallagher or vice versa.

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

Tigers lineup: Granderson CF, Polanco 2B, Thomas RF, Cabrera 1B, Ordonez DH, Inge 3B, Raburn LF, Laird C, Everett SS, Jackson P.

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A’s minor league update: Cunningham joins A’s, Copeland back with Giants

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

There were some more roster moves in Sacramento today as the RiverCats saw the A’s recall outfielder Aaron Cunningham and activate reliever Santiago Casilla. To replace them, the RiverCats added relievers Jerry Blevins and Jeff Gray, who were both sent down by the big club.

Also, the Ben Copeland experiment is officially over as the A’s sent their Rule 5 choice back to the Giants for $25,000, or half the original cost Oakland incurred in claiming the outfielder. Copeland will continue his rehabilitation stint with the Giants’ Single-A squad in San Jose.

SACRAMENTO (Triple-A)

Albuquerque (Dodgers) 11, RiverCats 2: Story l Boxscore

Gio Gonzalez struggled Thursday night for the Cats as he allowed eight runs (four earned) and walked five in just 2 1/3 innings. Gonzalez’s ERA ballooned to 4.44.

Daric Barton is now at .200 after going 1-for-3 with a double to boost his team-leading RBI total to 19. Adrian Cardenas went 0-for-2 while batting ninth and saw his average dip to .191.

MIDLAND (Double-A)

San Antonio (Padres) 4, RockHounds 3: Story l Boxscore

Anthony Recker went 3-for-3 with a pair of home runs in the RockHounds’ 10-inning loss. Recker had half of the RockHounds’ six hits.

Kristian Bell had a promising start for Midland, going five innings and allowing just two runs in his best effort of the season.

Chris Carter is in a 1-for-14 slump after going 0-for-5 with a pair of strikeouts.

STOCKTON (High Single-A)

Ports 6, Inland Empire (Dodgers) 3: Story l Boxscore

Jermaine Mitchell smacked a three-run triple in the eighth inning to provide the difference for the Ports.

Scott Hodsdon didn’t get the win but he did pitch well, going five innings and allowing just two earned runs and striking out six. Jon Hunton is now 6-for-6 in save opportunities after throwing two scoreless innings.

KANE COUNTY (Low Single-A)

Game 1: Burlington (Royals), 6, Cougars 3: Story l Boxscore

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

Anthony Capra had one of his worst starts of the season, allowing 10 hits and five runs in five innings to take the Game 1 loss.

The Cougars got a doubleheader split, thanks to Jason Christian, who delivered an RBI single in the seventh inning for the winner in Game 2.

Dusty Coleman had a pair of doubles and an RBI in the win.

Brett Hunter allowed just one hit in his four innings, which also included five walks and three strikeouts. Kenny Smalley got the win with three scoreless innings.

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A’s pregame update, Saturday

It’s days like this that make you wish every A’s home game was played during the afternoon. The sun’s out. Perfect baseball weather. The ball should fly pretty good …

Adam Kennedy is in the lineup, starting at second and hitting eighth. Bob Geren said he didn’t want to interrupt the top six in his lineup, and batting the left-handed hitting Kennedy seventh would have made for three lefties in a row (Cust, Sweeney, Kennedy) against Toronto lefty Brian Tallet.

Geren played it sly about Kennedy being his everyday second baseman until Mark Ellis returns. “I plan on using him quite a bit,” Geren said, with a look that indicated Kennedy will definitely be the regular guy. Bobby Crosby is starting at third, and although Jack Hannahan had RBI doubles each of the past two games, I’d expect Crosby to get the lion’s share of time at third. His defense is good enough there isn’t a huge dropoff with the glove between him and Hannahan.

So Kennedy was added to the 40-man roster, and Rule 5 outfielder Ben Copeland was designated for assignment to make room for him. Long story short, they have 10 days to try to work a trade for Copeland, and then he must be sent through waivers. If nobody claims him, he must be offered back to the Giants for $25,000. If the Giants don’t want him, the A’s can send him to the minors.

Infielder Gregorio Petit also was optioned to Triple-A, and reliever Jeff Gray was recalled to replenish the bullpen. Gray has a big-time arm. The A’s like him and I know he’s generated interest from other clubs too.

Eric Chavez played catch with Mark Ellis at 120 feet and also hit soft toss, according to Geren. Chavez was aiming to come off the DL Friday, but I’m not sure how likely that is. Geren said Chavez might require a minor league rehab stint, but that Chavez would have the final call on that. As for the A’s other injured third baseman, Nomar Garciaparra might try hitting tomorrow.

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

Jays lineup: Scutaro SS; Hill 2B; Rios RF; Wells CF; Lind DH; Bautista 3B; Overbay 1B; Chavez C; Snider LF; Tallet P.

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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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A’s minor league recap (Friday’s games)

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

SACRAMENTO (Triple-A)

Right-hander Ryan Webb (4th round, ’04) had a decent Triple-A debut, picking up the win in the River Cats’ 5-4 victory over Tacoma (Mariners). Webb’s line: 5 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 K’s. Jeff Gray, who pitched in five games for Oakland after a September call-up, got the save.

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More on A’s Cactus League opener

A few leftovers from the A’s 3-3 tie with Milwaukee, a 10-inning affair that kicked off the Cactus League:

–The A’s went through eight pitchers, so the game couldn’t really continue past 10 innings. The last pitcher was Cal product Tyson Ross, so scratch what I said earlier about him possibly pitching tomorrow in Tempe against the Angels.

–Newcomer Chris Schroder and Jeff Gray each threw scoreless innings. Jerry Blevins gave up the two runs that tied the game in the eighth, but he can’t take all the blame. With two outs, third baseman Joe Dillon lost a foul pop-up in the sun. That allowed Chris Duffy to continue his at-bat and bloop a game-tying single.

–Jared Lansford, son of former Athletic and current Giants hitting coach Carney Lansford, pitched an inning. With the game 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth, he put two runners on but got a 4-6-3 double play to escape the jam.

–New Brewers closer Trevor Hoffman entered the game with his ninth-inning theme song “Hell’s Bells” blasting — only this came in the seventh inning Wednesday. Bizarre, but that’s spring training for you …