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Another wet day at Oakland A’s camp; Duchscherer’s procedure postponed

Sorry for the late post … technical difficulties with our blog today. Not that there was a ton to report anyway. The A’s workout was interrupted by rain for a second straight day, and it poured much harder today than yesterday. The team had to shift operations to Papago Park because there’s more covered batting cages over there, although the pitchers were able to throw outside. Weather.com predicts tomorrow will be in the mid-60′s with no rain … We can only hope.

A few tidbits and observations:

–Justin Duchscherer’s procedure to relieve pain in his SI joint was rescheduled for tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. No reason given for the postponement.

–Jake Fox has taken the early lead for chattiest player in the clubhouse. The guy is just friendly as can be. Some players see reporters and head the other direction. Fox invites you to sit down, talks your ear off, and then encourages you to drop by again soon. Gotta love it …

–Manager Bob Geren and pitching coach Curt Young both were impressed with RHP Tyson Ross today. “His delivery looks cleaner and cleaner,” Geren said. Ross split last year between Single-A and Double-A, and the A’s are very high on him.

–Coco Crisp and stud first base prospect Chris Carter were among the position players to report today. All position players are due in Thursday, with the first full-squad workout Friday.

–Never knew Ben Sheets had such a dry wit about him. He’s a really funny dude, and seems to relish it when reporters are around. It’s early, but that bodes well for us covering the team, because he’s going to be a big story for as long as he’s with the A’s. Poking fun at his (lack of) hitting ability, Sheets said he wants the chance to dig in against CC Sabathia. “Just let him know that if I ever face him in Yankee Stadium, the porch is short.”

Check in w/you tomorrow …

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Justin Duchscherer comments on returning to A’s

Justin Duchscherer just addressed the Bay Area media, giving his thoughts on how happy he is to return to the A’s. He was also pretty frank about his much-publicized bout with clinical depression, which isn’t surprising because he’s always been one to speak his mind with us reporter folks.

A few tidbits:

–Duchscherer said he didn’t accept the A’s offer of arbitration because he wanted to explore opportunities with East Coast teams, in an effort to be closer to his son, Evan, who lives in Philadelphia. He talked with several teams, but in the end, Oakland wound up being his best option. He loves Kurt Suzuki as his catcher and Curt Young as his pitching coach. And A’s skipper Bob Geren was his first professional manager back in 1996 in Boston’s farm system.

–His divorce in 2008, and being separated for long periods from his son, took a huge toll on him. And the elbow surgery that largely wiped out his 2009 season compounded things. “Not being able to handle the stress and pressure and all of it at one time, I needed some help,” he said. “I sorted out a lot of things that needed to be dealt with and I’m ready to go. … Where I’m at now and where I was six months ago is (real different).”

–Duchscherer looks forward to joining a rotation that showed much promise while he was sidelined last season. He thinks there’s much he has to offer to the young staff, especially that “you can get guys out with subpar stuff. I don’t have 95 mph stuff. I look forward to being a bit of a mentor. When I was a younger kid — 24, 25 — I didn’t know anybody who was going through stuff I was going through.”

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Andrew Bailey posters decorate clubhouse; Tomko’s season done

A’s closer Andrew Bailey has gotten some playful ribbing from his teammates for all of the media attention he’s received this season. I’d imagine that’s why there were several copies of the Andrew Bailey “Rookie of the Year” poster plastered around the clubhouse today. The poster was a fan giveaway Sunday. There was one greeting visitors on the door leading into the clubhouse this afternoon. Reliever Michael Wuertz also had one pinned to the wall right next to his locker. Wuertz is one of Bailey’s primary hecklers. But you also won’t find anybody happier for Bailey and his success this season than Wuertz. He was gushing about Bailey’s ability even before the rookie began closing games.

–A’s manager Bob Geren confirmed that right-hander Brett Tomko will miss the rest of the season with nerve irritation in his right arm, though Geren didn’t have full results from Tomko’s trip to a neurologist. Basically, there’s not enough time for Tomko to get his arm strength back before season’s end. So now the question is whether Tomko could be a part of the A’s 2010 pitching staff. The A’s certainly could use a veteran figure such as Tomko to complement all of their youngsters, particularly if Justin Duchscherer isn’t re-signed. “That’s something you’d look at in the winter (depending on) where we’re at,” Geren said. “I thought (Tomko) did a nice job. He’s definitely going to be a big league pitcher somewhere. If he fits in with us, great. If not, he’s definitely a quality pitcher and a quality guy.”

–Daric Barton is bothered by a minor heel injury that happened while running the bases yesterday, so Bobby Crosby starts at first base in the opener of a four-game series against Texas. Geren is hopeful Barton returns tomorrow.

Tonight’s lineups:

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

Edgar Gonzalez RHP

Rangers
Borbon DH
Andrus SS
Murphy LF
Byrd CF
Blalock 1B
Kinsler 2B
Cruz RF
Davis 3B
Teagarden C

Millwood RHP

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Duchscherer seeking treatment for depression

Damon Lapa, the agent for A’s right-hander Justin Duchscherer, just informed media members that Duchscherer is seeking treatment for clinical depression and will miss the rest of the season. Lapa didn’t provide many other specifics on Duchscherer’s condition, and didn’t predict a timetable for when he could return to pitching. Lapa did describe the depression as a “very treatable form.”

“It’s something I think he’s been battling for some time, and he recently made the really difficult decision that he needs to put his career on hold for the time being and focus 100 percent of his efforts on his recovery,” Lapa said.

Duchscherer is a free agent after this season. He’s been out all season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow at the end of spring training, and also has been hindered by back problems.

A’s assistant GM David Forst said the A’s have been aware of Duchscherer’s condition for a while, but didn’t specify how long.

“Our only concern right now is getting him healthy,” Forst said. “He obviously has all the resources available that we can provide and we’ve been trying to help him, and will continue to even beyond this season.”

I’ll post more soon …

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Duchscherer won’t pitch Tuesday; Tomko gets call

Just a quick postgame update … Justin Duchscherer won’t be coming off the DL to pitch Tuesday, A’s manager Bob Geren informed the media after today’s 3-2 walkoff victory over the White Sox. Recently signed veteran Brett Tomko will be called up from Triple-A Sacramento and will pitch tomorrow night’s series opener against the Yankees. Vin Mazzaro gets pushed back to Tuesday to give him an extra day of rest.

Why isn’t Duchscherer being activated? “It’s not baseball-related. I can’t comment further than that,” assistant GM David Forst said.

The “non-baseball” reason also was given when Duchscherer was scratched from a start with Sacramento on July 31. He came back to make two rehab appearances after that. That’s all we know for now …

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It’s 1929 all over again

It was an entertaining morning inside the A’s clubhouse, as players curiously tried on their 1929 throwback unis that are being worn for today’s “Turn Back The Clock” promotion. The colors (blue and white) actually look pretty good, except that the A’s will be wearing their regular cleats. So you’ll see some green clashing with the rest of the attire.

Manager Bob Geren did indeed take the field before the game wearing a pinstriped suit and hat in the style of Connie Mack. I gotta say he looked pretty sharp, but he wore a dark felt hat instead of the straw hat Mack probably would have preferred during the ’29 season. That didn’t escape the attention of an eagle-eye A’s fan near the dugout. “You need a straw hat!” she yelled to Geren. “We don’t want to put you in Alcatraz!” Come to think of it, the skipper did have an Al Capone look going on …

A’s equipment manager Steve Vucinich also got in the spirit, wearing a bow tie and hat that he described as “Ben Hogan-style,” complete with a cigar hanging out of his mouth. I especially liked the khaki pants and bright blue belt. … Sweet

–Geren said he might have an update after the game on Justin Duchscherer’s status for coming off the DL and pitching Tuesday. Geren didn’t know if Duchscherer actually threw the side session that was a possibility for yesterday. Hopefully we get some clarity on this madness …

–Dallas Braden said he might throw a side session tomorrow. He played catch at 200 feet yesterday, which he said was important because it forced him to use his lower body and test his inflamed left ankle. It’s still looking like he’s at least a week away from returning. …

Here’s the lineups for today, including eight right-handed hitters for the A’s against White Sox lefty John Danks … Bobby Crosby starts at shortstop w/Cliff Pennington getting a rest.

A’s
Kennedy 3B
Davis CF
Suzuki C
Hairston LF
Nomar DH
Crosby SS
Everidge 1B
Ellis 2B
Cunningham RF

CAhill RHP

White Sox
Podsednik LF
Beckham 3B
Dye RF
Thome DH
Rios CF
Pierzynski C
Ramirez SS
Kotsay 1B
Nix 2B

Danks LHP

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Saturday’s pregame update

Not a lot going down before this afternoon’s game, other than the A’s took full batting practice on the field, a bit unusual for a day game following a night game.

There were no updates coming from the A’s on Justin Duchscherer’s status, other than Bob Geren saying the right-hander is still in Phoenix. Asked if he had gotten any word on how Duchscherer has responded physically from Thursday’s five-inning rehab stint, Geren said he hadn’t. Hmmm, I find it hard to believe a manager wouldn’t get at least a little bit of information about how his All-Star pitcher is feeling nearly two full days after he threw. Especially when that pitcher is a possibility to start Tuesday. Maybe the A’s really are waiting another day or so to get a clearer read on Duchscherer’s status. Or maybe they know more than they’re letting on. Just seems odd …

Today’s lineups, on a beautiful afternoon at the Coliseum:

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

Gonzalez LHP

White Sox
Nix 2B
Beckham 3B
Dye RF
Thome DH
Konerko 1B
Rios CF
Pierzynski C
Quentin LF
Ramirez SS

Floyd RHP

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Play ball! Baseball, that is …

Wow, must be football season … Tune in to tonight’s A’s-White Sox game, and you’ll see a perfectly lined football field cutting right across the Coliseum diamond, courtesy of last night’s Raider game. I know we’re all used to seeing the baseball field disfigured during August and September home games. But I always forget just how unsightly it becomes for baseball, and how multi-sport pro stadiums are a thing of the past … except in Oakland. It’s tough to blame the A’s for wanting their own stadium — somewhere — when they get to this point in the schedule …

Not that a marked-up field is spoiling the A’s mood these days. Everybody seems in good spirits in the clubhouse, not a surprise considering they’re playing well and they just had their first day off of the second half.

As for the day’s news, Bob Geren didn’t flat out say that Justin Duchscherer would start Tuesday against the Yankees. He listed Duchscherer and Dallas Braden as the candidates, but being that Braden basically told reporters his ankle wouldn’t be ready by Tuesday, Duke’s your man as long as he’s healthy. He threw five shutout innings last night in an Arizona Rookie League game, but Geren said the team will wait a day or two to see how he comes out of that physically before penciling him in for Tuesday. … Braden, by the way, was set to play catch before the game, but there’s still no plan for when he might throw off the mound.

First baseman Daric Barton had a couple of at-bats in the same game, but Geren wasn’t sure what the next step would be in his comeback from a hamstring injury. He’s eligible to come off the DL whenever he’s ready …

Tonight’s lineups

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

Anderson LHP

White Sox
Podsednik DH
Beckham 3B
Dye RF
Konerko 1B
Rios CF
Quentin LF
Ramirez SS
Nix 2B
Castro C

Contreras RHP

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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