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A’s finding less and less playing time for Daric Barton

Daric Baton has seen his playing time fall off in the last week.

Daric Baton has seen his playing time fall off in the last week.

Is this the beginning of the end for Daric Barton as a regular contributor to the A’s?

Sunday’s game marked the fifth day in succession when A’s manager Bob Melvin put out a lineup that didn’t have Barton’s name in it. On the 10-day road trip, Barton made only three starts at first base.

And if there was a game where Barton figured to play, this was the one. The Red Sox started John Lackey, against whom Barton has both experience (27 at-bats) and success (a .333 batting average). Three other members of the roster have better averages against Lackey, but no one has more hits (nine).

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Reddick resurgence prepares him for this Fenway visit

Josh Reddick

Josh Reddick (16) is riding high as he and the A’s head into Fenway Park this weekend

Josh Reddick returns this weekend to where it all started for him in a professional sense, Fenway Park, as the A’s visit the Red Sox for three games.

Actually, Reddick got a jump on the Fenway experience by using the A’s off-day Thursday to drop by as the Red Sox played a day-night doubleheader necessitated by a Wednesday rainout.

Reddick reappearance in Fenway happens just as he seems to be getting his game track back on course. He hit 32 homers for the A’s in 2012, the year after Boston traded him to Oakland in order to get its hands on reliever Andrew Bailey. The 2013 season was a wash thanks to Reddick’s season-long wrist injury, but when he led the A’s in RBIs during spring training, it seemed his bat had resurfaced.

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A’s-Angels pregame update — Saturday

We’ll keep it short and sweet. The A’s are sticking w/the same lineup as last night as they try to break through against John Lackey. The right-hander has allowed zero earned runs in three starts against the A’s this season. Dana Eveland pitches for the A’s, hoping for his second straight win.

Look for Matt Carson to get a start in the outfield tomorrow afternoon, with Ryan Sweeney getting the day off against Angels lefty Joe Saunders, manager Bob Geren said. Landon Powell will start behind the plate tomorrow. …

Tonight’s lineups
A’s
Kennedy 3B
Davis CF
Sweeney RF
Suzuki C
Cust DH
Barton 1B
Ellis 2B
Patterson LF
Pennington SS

Eveland LHP

Angels
Figgins 3B
Abreu RF
Hunter CF
Guerrero DH
Rivera LF
Morales 1B
Kendrick 2B
Mathis C
Izturis SS

Lackey RHP

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Optimism about the A’s

Don’t go off the deep end just yet, but as the spring progresses, it appears more and more as if the A’s might not be the miserable wretches they were expected to be. Not only that, there are signs their division could be interesting. Among them:

1) The Angels starting pitching is in tatters. John Lackey will join Kelvim Escobar on the shelf, and that’s going to put more onus on the Angels’ offense, at least initially. Torii Hunter has had a huge spring, and Vladimir Guerrero is Vladimir Guerrero, so perhaps they will. But for now, the Angels don’t look like juggernauts, and that means …

2) The Seattle Mariners appear to be the AL West’s best team. Seattle has loads of pitching with Erik Bedard, Felix Hernandez and Carlos Silva. But veteran observers think they’ll struggle to score runs, and there is some question as to how some key bullpen members — J.J. Putz and Cal product Brandon Morrow chief among them _ will bounce back from some heavy work a year ago. Thus …

3) The  A’s may well stick around the race for a bit. Rich Harden must stay healthy, of course (and everybody knows what a huge question that is) and Justin Duchscherer must stay healthy and prove he can be a starter. Huge questions also linger about Bobby Crosby and Eric Chavez, too, and the A’s must sort out their outfield situation. 

Still, they’ve done quite a bit of winning in the Cactus League, and that’s usually indicative of quality play from young guys, and it’s become clear that tossing in the towel on Opening Day (as was the conventional wisdom) is not necessary.

On the bad news front for the A’s, the breaks have evened out regarding their trip to Japan.