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Braden questionable for tomorrow, Giambi not activated

Your pregame update from the Coliseum, where we have pretty ideal weather for a ballgame right now. We’ll see if that’s still the case at first pitch …

Dallas Braden was limping around the clubhouse pretty good today, the result of a rash on his left ankle that’s become inflamed. According to Bob Geren, Braden has been wearing a neoprene toe guard while pitching because he’s been dragging his left foot. The rash stemmed from him wearing that.

At any rate, Braden is questionable for his start tomorrow, so the A’s will have a Plan B ready. Geren said Edgar Gonzalez is one possibility, or they could pull somebody up from Triple-A Sacramento. Jerome Williams would be on turn to pitch for the River Cats, and the A’s have room on the 40-man roster for him. But Williams is just 1-4 with a 6.60 ERA in 20 appearances (9 starts). Dana Eveland is an option, but he’d have to go on three days’ rest and he threw 101 pitches on Saturday. Shawn Chacon is out — he started today.

If Gonzalez isn’t needed in relief tonight, my money’s on him.

–Can’t say I was surprised that Jason Giambi wasn’t activated from the DL today. He wasn’t around the clubhouse before batting practice to offer his take on things, and Geren was tight-lipped as ever regarding Giambi’s situation. Geren flat-out avoids addressing Giambi’s physical condition. “There’s no change in his status. It’s the same as yesterday. We’ll go day-to-day with it,” Geren said.

What is it that’s holding Giambi back? “We’re just not ready to activate him,” Geren said. Remember, Giambi has been saying the past few days that his right quad feels OK.

It seems pretty obvious to me that the A’s want to go with Tommy Everidge and (when he’s healthy) Daric Barton at first base. But who knows? Maybe they truly aren’t convinced that Giambi is ready to go.

Anyway, here’s tonight’s lineups, featuring Rajai Davis in the leadoff spot w/Adam Kennedy getting a day off. I know some of you out there have wondered about plugging Davis into the top spot regularly. Enjoy!! At least for one day … Geren said he still likes Kennedy leading off …

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

Gonzalez LHP

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

Holland LHP

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A’s send Jerome Williams, seven others down

The home clubhouse at Phoenix Municipal Stadium got a little less crowded this morning as eight players were sent down to the minors. Most notable among them — non-roster right-hander Jerome Williams, who was considered a strong candidate for the A’s rotation. Second baseman Eric Patterson, third baseman Jeff Baisley and right-hander Ryan Webb were optioned to Triple-A Sacramento. Williams, right-hander James Simmons (who had an outside chance at the rotation), and right-handed reliever Kevin Cameron were reassigned to minor league camp, along with infielders Joe Dillon and Sean Doolittle. (To clarify: If a player wasn’t on the 40-man roster, he gets “reassigned” to the minors; if he was on the 40-man, he gets “optioned” and remains on the 40-man.)

Sending Williams down is another indication the A’s are strongly considering one of their young blue-chip prospects (Vin Mazzaro, Trevor Cahill or Brett Anderson) for the rotation. Williams came into camp looking like a starting candidate because of his prior big league experience. He wasn’t terrible in Cactus League games (4.00 ERA in four appearances, but no starts). Bob Geren said this morning that Williams would probably begin the season in Sacramento’s rotation, so he’s a decent option as an emergency starter in the bigs when needed.

–Simmons is likely to join Williams in the Triple-A rotation, which also figures to include any from the trio of Anderson, Cahill and Mazzaro who aren’t in the majors. Geren had good things to say about Doolittle, a first baseman considered to be excellent defensively. “He’s got some similar actions around the bag to Don Mattingly,” said Geren, a teammate of Mattingly’s with the Yankees. Doolittle was hitting .364 this spring and his 9 RBI leads the A’s.

–Reliever Joey Devine is scheduled to throw a flat-ground side session Tuesday, followed by a bullpen session off the mound Thursday. Write that in pencil, as we all know the schedules for the A’s walking wounded change by the day.

–Eric Chavez took grounders at third, though his throwing is limited to long toss for now. He’s still targeting Wednesday or Thursday to start hitting again.

–Today’s lineup vs. the visiting Dodgers, who are without Manny Ramirez but will have ex-Giants Jason Schmidt and Shawn Estes throwing:

Davis CF
Buck RF
GArciaparra DH
Giambi 1B
Powell C
Crosby 3B
Denorfia LF
Hannahan 2B
Pennington SS

Cahill starting on the mound …