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Powell, A’s cruising against K.C.

The A’s are putting the early hurt on Kansas City, leading 10-3 after three innings. Landon Powell hit his first career grand slam in the bottom of the second, pushing a 4-0 lead to 8-0. The Royals came back with three against Trevor Cahill, who looked like he took his foot off the pedal with such a big lead. …

Powell’s impressive season really has gone under the radar because he hasn’t played much. But he’s 16-for-46 (.348) with runners on base and 11-for-28 (.393) with guys in scoring position. He also threw out David DeJesus on a first-inning steal attempt and has nailed 7 of 15 base stealers on the season.

–Minor note: The A’s claimed right-hander John Meloan, 25, off waivers from Pittsburgh and assigned him to Triple-A Sacramento. This is Meloan’s fourth organization of the season. He had a 4.57 ERA in 41 games (two starts) in Triple-A split between stints with Cleveland, Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh.

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A’s, Mariners know each other well

A little late with tonight’s post, my apologies on that …

–Landon Powell gets a second straight start tonight for the A’s. He’s at DH after jacking a three-run homer yesterday. Jack Cust is in right field and Rajai Davis gets a night off to rest a sore right thumb.

It’s too bad for Powell he isn’t getting more playing time. He’s really produced when he’s been in there. But other than at catcher or DH, it’s tough finding at-bats for him.

–There was lots of get-reacquainted time on the field during batting practice, as so many former A’s players and coaches are with Seattle. Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu and bench coach Ty Van Burkleo chatted w/Bob Geren. M’s first baseman/DH Mike Sweeney was catching up w/Mark Ellis … And the newest ex-Athletic/current Mariner, Jack Hannahan, is in the lineup at third base against his former team …

The full lineups

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

Mazzaro RHP

Mariners
Gutierrez CF
Branyan 1B
Lopez 2B
Griffey Jr. DH
Hall RF
Johjima C
Hannahan 3B
Wilson SS
Saunders LF

Snell RHP

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Saturday pregame update

Quick post here with first pitch less than an hour away … Piecing together today’s lineup was tricky for Bob Geren because he wasn’t sure about Landon Powell’s availability to play catcher. Powell walked by Geren as Geren was chatting w/reporters and indicated his left hamstring felt good enough to go, so he starts behind the plate today. Geren really wanted to give Kurt Suzuki the day off with a day game after a night game. …

I’m surprised Eric Patterson isn’t back in center field today, even though he struggled last night at the plate. Rajai Davis gets the start in center. Geren wanted to get a right-handed bat in center with lefty Andy Pettitte on the mound for the Yanks. But if Patterson was playing so well at Triple-A, I’d keep him in the lineup regularly for the first few games he’s up here to see if he can keep some momentum going. Geren pointed out that the A’s will see lefties frequently in the near future. “(Patterson) will play against lefties,” he said.

Here’s the full lineups on a pleasant afternoon at Yankee Stadium. We’re lucking out w/the lack of humidity …

A’s
Kennedy 3B
Cabrera SS
Hairston LF
Garciaparra DH
Cust RF
Davis CF
Crosby 1B
Ellis 2B
Powell C

Gonzalez LHP

Yanks
Jeter DH
Gardner CF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Swisher RF
Cano 2B
M. Cabrera LF
Ransom SS
Molina C

Pettitte LHP

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Awaiting the All-Star word

We won’t know until around first pitch this afternoon (1:05 p.m. in Cleveland) who makes the All-Star team from the A’s. But I’d be shocked if it’s anybody but catcher Kurt Suzuki. He’s really been their most consistent hitter, and I think he’s done very well handling a starting rotation where the average age is just 22 years old. He’s also garnered a lot of respect around the majors for the improvement he’s shown behind the plate. We’ll find out in a little less than an hour …

Jason Giambi is not in this afternoon’s lineup. His average is back down to .197 after last night’s 0-for-4. “He’s definitely in need of (a day off) today,” manager Bob Geren said this morning, adding Giambi could use the rest both from a physical and mental standpoint. Matt Holliday has been batting third, but with Giambi out, he slides into the cleanup spot and Suzuki (today’s DH) hits third. With switch-hitter Landon Powell catching, the A’s have seven right-handed bats in the lineup against lefty Cliff Lee.

Nomar Garciaparra is not one of them. It’ll be interesting to see how much Garciaparra plays in the upcoming three-game series at Boston. This will be his first trip back to Fenway Park as a visiting player (while on the active roster). I’m sure he’d like to play against his old team, but Garciaparra’s calf problems just won’t allow him to play on a regular basis, and he said this morning that serving as DH isn’t necessary less strenuous than playing defense.

As for today’s game, we’ll see how Gio Gonzalez fares in his third start. Tuesday’s five-inning effort against Detroit was a step in the right direction, so we’ll find out if he can build on it. …

Today’s lineups
A’s
Kennedy 3B
Cabrera SS
Suzuki DH
Holliday LF
Cust RF
Ellis 2B
Powell C
Crosby 1B
Davis CF

Gonzalez LHP

Indians
A. Cabrera SS
Carroll 2B
Sizemore DH
Choo RF
Peralta 3B
Garko 1B
Francisco CF
Gimenez LF
Shoppach C

Lee LHP

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A’s-Giants pregame update

Lots of nostalgia tonight at AT&T Park, as a large number of players from the Giants’ 1989 pennant-winning team is here this weekend to be honored. There was a reception just outside the park before batting practice. It’s being shown on the Jumbotron right now. Obviously, everybody looks a little older, a little heavier. But I’ve recognized pretty much everybody they’ve introduced. Rick Reuschel actually looks like he’s shed a few pounds. Let’s call him Slimmer Daddy …

A large-scale pregame ceremony will be held before tomorrow night’s game. …

As for A’s news, Kurt Suzuki is not behind the plate tonight. His left knee is bothering him after he fouled a ball off it during yesterday’s pinch-hit at-bat. There was uncertainty in the press box yesterday over where the ball struck Suzuki. At any rate, that was some day off for him, wasn’t it? … He stepped to the plate in the ninth inning, fouled a ball off his knee, then got hit by a pitch in the thigh and went to first base. It’s probably a good thing the game didn’t go into extra innings. He might not have been able to play defense … Landon Powell gets his second straight start at catcher. Bob Geren said Suzuki would be his first option as a backup. Daric Barton (who began his pro career as a catcher in St. Louis’ organization) and Jack Hannahan would be next in line. …

Geren had lots of good things to say about Brad Ziegler after yesterday’s two shutout innings. He said before today’s game that he considers Ziegler an option in the ninth inning, which probably wasn’t the case a week or two ago, though Geren never said it in so many words. That doesn’t mean Geren would shy away from using Andrew Bailey. Or Craig Breslow. He mentioned the lefty’s a possibility in a save situation …

Ryan Sweeney said he’s scheduled to try running again tomorrow. It didn’t go so well when he ran Wednesday. He’s eligible to come off the DL on Thursday, but I’m not sure if that’s in the cards or not …

Tonight’s lineups:

A’s
Cabrera SS
Kennedy 2B
Cust RF
Holliday LF
Giambi 1B
Powell C
Davis CF
Hannahan 3B
Mazzaro P

Giants
Rowand CF
Renteria SS
Winn LF
Molina C
Sandoval 1B
Uribe 3B
Schierholtz RF
Burriss 2B
Lincecum P

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A’s pregame update: Wednesday

Lots of baby stories out at the Coliseum today. Bobby Crosby is in the lineup at first base, his first start since returning to the team after the birth of his son, Tyler, on Monday. Crosby played a couple of innings last night, then returned to San Ramon Regional Medical Center and found that teammate Landon Powell’s wife, Allyson, was in the room next to his wife, Gina. The Powells had their first baby, a boy, just after midnight last night. Powell is expected to arrive at the park before first pitch and be available if needed. …

–Today’s pre-game scene resembled the early days of spring training in February, as pitchers were put through bunt defense practice. The A’s run through such fundamental drills on occasion, and with interleague play coming up in National League parks, the A’s will be seeing lots of opposing pitchers laying down bunts.

–Jason Giambi is out of today’s lineup — just a needed day of rest, according to manager Bob Geren. Aaron Cunningham is back in there at right field after getting hit in the head with a pitch Monday and suffering a concussion. “I feel good,” Cunningham said. “Yesterday I had a little headache, but with a day off, it got me feeling pretty good.”

–Injury roundup: Nomar Garciaparra is getting an MRI tonight on his right calf, which isn’t getting better even with prolonged rest on the DL. … Justin Duchscherer, rehabbing in Phoenix, has thrown twice at 120 feet, but no word yet on when he’ll get back on the mound. … Reliever Dan Giese’s Tommy John surgery went well yesterday, according to Geren.

And now your lineups for tonight:

A’s:
Cabrera SS
Kennedy 2B
Cust DH
Holliday LF
Suzuki C
Crosby 1B
Cunningham RF
Davis CF
Hannahan 3B

Braden P

Twins:
Gomez CF
Harris SS
Mauer DH
Morneau 1B
Crede 3B
Cuddyer RF
Young LF
Redmond C
Tolbert 2B

Liriano P

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Pregame report for Sunday

Not a whole lot of news to report before today’s game, typical stuff for a day game after a night game. …

After two straight starts at first base, Nomar Garciaparra’s calf was bothering him a bit this morning according to Bob Geren, so he’s out of the lineup. Geren had said he planned to start Garciaparra at DH, but last night’s extra-inning game left him “fatigued,” in Geren’s words. “It’s just better not to play him today.” It’s possible Garciaparrra could pinch-hit if needed.

Kurt Suzuki gets a day off w/Landon Powell catching. That means Adam Kennedy gets his second turn in the No. 2 spot in the order. How impressive has Kennedy been so far? He’s contributing in every facet of the game, and just seeing him in the clubhouse, I get the feeling that losses eat at this guy like crazy. I can’t imagine he’s a very happy camper right now.

I hit Geren w/a question that managers often get after a loss like last night’s: Are losses like that, when you give up a sizable lead, tougher to bounce back from? Or do all losses seem the same when you come back to the park the next day?

“I think we have too many veteran players to let one win or loss (linger) that much,” Geren said. “Their work ethic has been very steady every day. Their attitude has been very steady every day.”

Myself, I wonder much carry-over affect some of these defeats do have. It’s one thing for a team to get beat on a day it comes out flat. It’s another for a team to come out playing well early in a game, get some confidence rolling throughout the dugout, and then let it slip away in the late innings. And those losses are starting to collect for the A’s …

Today’s lineup:

A’s — Cabrera SS; Kennedy 2B; Cust DH; Holliday LF; Giambi 1B; Sweeney CF; Buck RF; Crosby 3B; Powell C; Outman P.

D’backs — Roberts 3B; Parra RF; Upton DH; Drew SS; Reynolds 1B; Snyder C; Byrnes LF; Ojeda 2B; Young CF; Garland P.

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A’s pregame report: Tuesday

It’s tough sorting out who’s coming and going from the A’s roster these days, wouldn’t you say?

With Sean Gallagher shipped out to the minors, the plan is for right-hander Edgar Gonzalez to make Saturday’s start against Arizona. Unless, Bob Geren said as a qualifier, he’s needed in relief before then. And would you bet against that possibility, with the way the starting pitching has been?

I thought Gio Gonzalez was a strong candidate to make that start, but assistant GM David Forst said in a pre-game media briefing that the priority right now is to keep the bullpen fully stocked. “Gio did a nice job, but with him being unavailable over the next three or four days, we needed to make a move.” Forst said elite prospect Vin Mazzaro was considered. You’ll remember he made a nice impression in spring training, but showed that he needed more seasoning. He’s 1-2 with a 3.16 ERA in eight appearances (seven starts) for Sacramento. “Vinny’s pitched well and he deserved to be in consideration,” Forst said. “But his development is more important. Right now he’s doing a nice job there, and we prefer for it to continue.”

Landon Powell is nursing a sore right hamstring, and though Geren said he considers Powell available if needed, the A’s are skating on thin ice at this position right now. But in looking at their minor league catching options, Curtis Thigpen hasn’t played all season because of a back injury, and Joel Galarraga is nursing a sore shoulder. Eric Munson is starting at Triple-A, and Anthony Recker, recently demoted to Double-A, was brought back to Triple-A just because depth was needed. So the A’s are crossing their fingers that Kurt Suzuki stays healthy. Jack Hannahan is the emergency catcher if needed.

Eric Chavez doesn’t figure to be ready for another month or so anyway, so I wasn’t surprised to see him go on the 60-day DL. But I just talked to Chavez, and he said he’s definitely shooting to be ready by the time he’s eligible to come off the DL. Believe me, retirement is nowhere on this guy’s agenda, which might surprise you.

More comments from Chavez in tomorrow’s notebook …

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

Rays lineup: Upton CF; Crawford LF; Longoria 3B; Pena 1B; Bartlett SS; Aybar DH; Iwamura 2B; Kapler RF; Hernandez C; Shields P.

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Rays 13, A’s 4

I’d say these comments sum up tonight’s game pretty good:

“Horrible, absolutely terrible. I’m an absolute disgrace to myself right now.”

– A’s right-hander Sean Gallagher, after he gave up six first-inning runs and lasted just 2 1/3 innings.

“Brutal. It’s terrible. Whatever bad word you can say about it. It’s frustrating.”

–DH Jack Cust

“Walks aren’t acceptable. From Day 1, that was the message in spring training.”

–A’s manager Bob Geren

If you saw tonight’s game, it was pretty simple. Gallagher couldn’t locate any pitch he threw, and the Rays led 6-1 after one inning.

Making matters worse for the A’s, backup catcher Landon Powell, after entering the game at first base, strained a hamstring running out a grounder in the ninth. His status is unknown, but Geren and assistant GM David Forst were huddled after the game discussing their catcher situation. Kurt Suzuki and Powell are the only catchers currently on the 40-man roster, so there could be some juggling of the roster tomorrow to promote a catcher, assuming Powell won’t be available.

That’s all for now… It’s up to Josh Outman to try to turn things around tomorrow …

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Ziegler’s back; Sunday pregame update

There’s a few clouds over head, but the roof is open at Safeco Field leading up to this afternoon’s series finale between the A’s and Mariners. Not a whole lot to report from the A’s clubhouse, but closer Brad Ziegler is back w/the team. He’s unlikely to pitch today, but Ziegler said he wanted to play catch and hopefully be ready tomorrow night against the Angels. Bob Geren echoed that thought.

Ziegler had been battling the flu since Wednesday, and though it wasn’t stomach flu-like stuff, he didn’t eat much and estimates he lost about 8 pounds. He did say he was a little worried considering how much the swine flu has dominated headlines, as were the A’s. They ran his symptoms by doctors, but it was more precautionary, according to Ziegler. “There were some symptoms of (the swine flu) I never experienced. But with something new that you haven’t heard of, you never know.”

Michael Wuertz and Russ Springer are the logical options in a save situation today.

–A bit of a different look w/the A’s lineup, with Kurt Suzuki at DH and Landon Powell catching.

Here’s the full lineup behind Josh Outman, making his first start in 16 days:

Sweeney CF
Cabrera SS
Giambi 1B
Holliday LF
Cust RF
Suzuki DH
Crosby 3B
Petit 2B
Powell C

And for Seattle …

Ichiro RF
Lopez 2B
Sweeney DH
Beltre 3B
Branyan 1B
Balentien LF
Johjima C
Gutierrez CF
Betancourt SS

Jakubauskas P.