With options gone, Gimenez, Taylor may move on

With under two weeks to go in spring training, the A’s have more roster decisions to make before opening day than they would have believed even a few days ago, thanks to news that Jarrod Parker (Tommy John surgery) and A.J. Griffin (elbow/forearm) won’t be available when the Indians come to town March 31.

It’s not all about the pitching, however, even if it seems like it sometimes.

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Regardless of numbers, it’s a stretch for Taylor with A’s

The A’s backup outfield job was originally supposed to go to Craig Gentry, and while Gentry had a full workout Monday, things have changed because Gentry’s ongoing recovery from back pain may well keep him from starting the season on the roster.

The options then for the A’s are Sam Fuld, signed as a free agent, or Michael Taylor, who is out of options after playing his entire career in the A’s minor league system.

Taylor’s having a big sprint with a .310 average and just Sunday threw out a runner at the plate from right field. And while the A’s like to hold on to players who are out of options, it’s difficult seeing how Taylor makes the team no matter how good his spring is.

Because both Brandon Moss and Daric Barton seem locked in at first base/DH, there are only four open outfield spots on the roster. And manager Bob Melvin Monday said that the ability to play center field is a major factor in the decision-making process for someone to play behind Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp and Josh Reddick.

Gentry can play center. And so can Fuld, who has a deal in his contract that he can walk as a free agent later this month if he’s not on the roster. Taylor is seen as a corner outfielder only.

Now since Gentry is likely back in early April, the A’s could go for a week or two with Taylor and without a true backup center fielder, knowing they could shove Cespedes into the role for a game or two if needed. Moss can move to left, freeing up Cespedes, if needed.

But if they stick to their center field predilection, it seems that Fuld’s the guy over Taylor, if for no other reason than the club might be able to hold onto him for the season.

That being the case, it would make sense for the A’s to try and trade Taylor in the next week or so because they risk losing him now that he’s out of options and is unlikely to make the roster.


A’s facing a flurry of roster moves this week

The A’s have some decisions to make in the next week, and not all of them are clear cut.

Between now and Friday, outfielders Chris Young and Coco Crisp and starting pitcher Brett Anderson are likely to come off the disabled list.

It seems a no-brainer that Dan Straily will be the odd man out in the rotation. He has made three starts with Anderson out, and is due to make another against Texas Wednesday, two days before Anderson (sprained right ankle) is first eligible to come off the disabled list.

Young and possibly Crisp could come off the disabled list on Wednesday, and while it’s certain that Michael Taylor, who has an .063 average and hasn’t driven in a run, will be sent down, choosing between the other two candidates, Luke Montz and Daric Barton, will be a matter of just what kind of flexibility A’s manager Bob Melvin wants.

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Young becomes third A’s player to land on DL as a result of 19-inning win over Angels Monday

In retrospect it’s become increasingly important that the A’s won Monday’s 19-inning, six-hour, 32-minute marathon against the Angels in Oakland, because the negative repercussions from that game just keep mounting.

Outfielder Chris Young is the third player on the team to have suffered an injury in that game that necessitated a trip to the disabled list, Young’s left quad keeping him from running full out.

Already, the A’s had lost pitcher Brett Anderson to a sprained right foot (admittedly, he was already hurting before his 5.1 innings of one-run relief) and center fielder Coco Crisp, who strained his left hamstring while running up the third base line.

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Wearing Robinson’s No. 42 special moment for A’s

Once a year, baseball allows players to wear the No. 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson, who wore that number in his trailblazing career integrating baseball.

That day is tonight when the A’s and the Houston Astros will all be wearing 42.

For black players in particular and most baseball people in general, it’s a special honor, a day full of significance.

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Game 12 wrap: Melvin not shy about ejections; Cespedes quiet about injuries; J.D.’s surprising HR

Bob Melvin probably will never get into the Earl Weaver/Bobby Cox/Lou Piniella class of managers who seemed to get ejected from games just for the fun of it.

The A’s manager isn’t shy about getting ejected, however. He was thrown out of Saturday’s 7-3 loss to the Tigers by home plate umpire Andy Fletcher after questioning a called third strike against first baseman Brandon Moss.

It was the fifth of six called third strikes against the A’s, who can strike out plenty on their own. Oakland, after all, struck out 17 times in Friday’s 12-inning win over Detroit.

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Cespedes on DL as A’s rev up roster roulette

The A’s went through 50 players last year en route to their American League West 2012 title, and they are on much the same pace this year.

Michael Taylor is the newest addition to the roster, the Triple-A outfielder getting called up Saturday with Yoenis Cespedes going on the disabled list with a strained left hand muscle.

Thirteen days into a 180-day season, the A’s have made three roster moves, starting seven days ago, when they activated Bartolo Colon while sending Dan Straily down.

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Michael Taylor should get a good look with A’s; Kurt Suzuki back in lineup

The lineups for the A’s-Rays series opener at Tropicana Field:

A’s – Weeks 2B, Pennington SS, Reddick RF, Cespedes CF, Gomes DH, Inge 3B, Suzuki C, Ka’aihue 1B, Taylor LF; Ross RHP.

TB – Jennings LF, Upton CF, Pena 1B, Joyce RF, Scott DH, Zobrist 2B, Rhymes 3B, Molina C, Rodriguez SS; Price LHP.

After that plunking Kurt Suzuki took on his left hand, I’m surprised to see him in the lineup tonight. But manager Bob Melvin said Suzuki wanted in there. “When I first saw it, I thought potentially it was something bad,” Melvin said. “His hand is swollen but not too bad. And he wanted to play. He’s a very tough kid. He plays with any number of injuries over the course of the season.”

It looks like Michael Taylor will get his first real shot at extended big league playing time. “At the big league level, you earn playing time,” Melvin said. “But with those lefties coming up (that the A’s face), we’re going to get a good look at him. It looks like this is his best opportunity. I don’t know if there’s going to be a better one at this point.”

It was just last week that Taylor flew to Baltimore to join the A’s just in case Coco Crisp couldn’t play with his inner ear infection. Taylor stayed just one day and was never activated. Crisp’s condition hasn’t gotten better, so he’s back in the Bay Area and will be examined by Dr. Allan Pont, the A’s physician. Taylor was in a Sacramento movie theatre when he got the call he was being promoted. He was watching “Think Like A Man,” but immediately left to go home and pack. “I saw about seven minutes of it,” Taylor said. “We got our money back.”

Playing the outfield at Tropicana Field can be tricky with the roof, the low lights and the rings of catwalks all making it tough to track the ball, but Taylor played some minor league games here while in the Phillies’ system. He attended high school in Apopka, Fla., — near Orlando – so he’s got about 10 people in attendance tonight, including his parents.

The Rays are rolling right now with a major league-best 18-8 record, and David Price has won his past three starts. Needless to say, it’s a pretty stiff test for the A’s this weekend, but they have to be feeling pretty good too after taking two of three from the Red Sox.

That’s all for now …


Coco Crisp joins disabled list, Michael Taylor back with A’s

We have some morning A’s news, though it’s not so unexpected …

Coco Crisp was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a lingering inner ear infection, and outfielder Michael Taylor was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento. I’ll be interested to see how much playing time Taylor gets, and what he does with it. His numbers for Sacramento so far have been impressive, and a scout told me Taylor has looked like an improved player from recent seasons. Might Taylor get a start in left field tonight? The Rays are throwing lefty David Price, so if Bob Melvin wants to get as many right-handed bats in the lineup as possible, he could throw Taylor in left and put Jonny Gomes at DH. Or maybe Gomes plays left because the ex-Ray is used to handling the outfield at Tropicana Field.

We’ll see if Cliff Pennington or Brandon Inge fills in as the No. 2 hitter with Crisp out. Pennington has gotten off to a slow start, so the A’s need him to start hitting more if he sees time near the top of the lineup.

I’ll post a bit later from the ballpark …


A’s trade Outman, Moscoso to Rockies for outfielder Seth Smith

Some A’s news for your Monday morning:

They’ve traded pitchers Josh Outman and Guillermo Moscoso to the Colorado Rockies for outfielder Seth Smith, who may very well be in their Opening Night lineup at one of the corner outfield spots. I’m not surprised the A’s dealt for Smith, 29, since they’ve been rumored to be interested in him. But I am surprised they dealt both Moscoso and Outman for him. The A’s have holes in the rotation (even if they do finalize a one-year deal with Bartolo Colon), and Moscoso and Outman were considered two candidates to fill out the starting five. The rotation should now go Brandon McCarthy, Dallas Braden (when he’s healthy) and Colon, with two spots to fill. This trade tells me the A’s are comfortable looking at the promising but inexperienced arms they’ve received in other trades this winter to possibly fill in those spots. Consider Jarrod Parker (obtained from AZ in the Trevor Cahill trade) and Brad Peacock and Tom Milone (both received from Washington in the Gio Gonzalez trade) to be prime candidates for rotation spots out of spring training. Graham Godfrey and Tyson Ross will also be in the mix.

Here’s a look at Smith’s career stats with the Rockies. Coco Crisp will start in center field for the A’s, and he could be flanked by Smith and Josh Reddick, with Michael Taylor and Collin Cowgill also possibilities.