0

Perfect weather for A’s-Twins series opener

I thought I was pretty wise to jam my suitcase full of warm clothing for this nine-game road trip to cold weather cities. It’s turned out to be a picturesque afternoon at Target Field in Minneapolis – sunshine and blue skies for the A’s-Twins series opener. We’ve got a 3:10 p.m. start (local time), and it will cool off once the sun goes down. But the temperature is supposed to reach the mid-70’s by Sunday (though a heavy chance of rain). Today is the Twins’ home opener, so this place will be packed …

–It’s the standard lineup for the A’s against right-hander Carl Pavano:

A’s: Crisp CF, Barton 1B, DeJesus RF, Willingham LF, Matsui DH, Suzuki C, Ellis 2B, Kouzmanoff 3B, Pennington SS; Anderson LHP.

Twins: Span CF, Mauer C, Morneau 1B, Young LF, Cuddyer RF, Thome DH, Valencia 3B, Hughes 2B, Casilla SS; Pavano RHP.

–Ryan Sweeney’s playing time has been minimal so far – he’s appeared in just three games off the bench and gotten just two at-bats. But manager Bob Geren says he plans to get Sweeney a start very soon for either Coco Crisp or Josh Willingham. Geren has said he looks forward to working all of his outfielders into the playing rotation to keep everyone fresh. When Crisp sits, I’d expect we’ll see David DeJesus shift to center and Sweeney get the start in right. At least that’s what Geren said he had planned during the spring. But Sweeney’s innings will be tough to come by barring an injury. With Conor Jackson playing well, he’ll be the first option to make a spot start in the outfield, particularly against lefties.

–The Japanese media was looking forward to covering the first game between Hideki Matsui and new Twins second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who made the jump from Japan in the offseason. But Nishioka suffered a broken leg Thursday and was put on the DL, so that storyline is on hold. Nishioka had been hitting second, so with him out, Joe Mauer is in the No. 2 spot today. He’d been hitting third. …

–It’s crucial for the A’s that starter Brett Anderson comes out sharp today. The crowd will be jacked up, and Anderson can temper that by throwing strikes and keeping runners off base. In case you’re interested, nobody in Minnesota’s lineup has much history against Anderson or any numbers to suggest an advantage or disadvantage on either side …