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Travis Buck, Henry Rodriguez, John Meloan promoted; Chris Carter unlikely to get call

With Triple-A Sacramento having been knocked from the playoffs last night, the A’s promoted outfielder Travis Buck and relievers Henry Rodriguez and John Meloan.

This is Rodriguez’s major league debut. Meloan, 25, was claimed off waivers from Pittsburgh on Sept. 2, and Bob Geren said he’ll fill a middle relief role similar to what Jeff Gray is doing right now. He’s made seven career appearances in the majors, split between the Dodgers and Indians. “He’s a control guy, not a flame thrower, but good command,” Geren said of Meloan.

One player we probably won’t see in Oakland is first baseman Chris Carter. Geren said it’s “highly doubtful” Carter or anyone else will be added to the big league roster before season’s end. Carter enjoyed as fine an offensive season as anyone in the minors, but the A’s obviously want to keep evaluating Daric Barton at first base. So Carter probably wouldn’t have gotten regular at-bats. “He’s had a great season and he’s going to be forcing his way into the picture, just not at this moment,” Geren said.

Buck, who seemingly has slipped down the totem pole in the A’s outfield picture, said he was pleasantly surprised to get word of his call-up. With Rajai Davis and Ryan Sweeney playing so well, his innings might be limited. And when he does play, I’d expect it to be in left field to spell Scott Hairston.

Rodriguez is the most intriguing newcomer. You’ll remember he impressed in 2008 spring training with his 100 mph fastball, but his big-time strikeout totals in the minors have been countered by a high number of walks too. Rodriguez, 22, was hindered in spring training with his recovery from offseason hernia surgery, and his back also has bothered him. Geren said he’ll look for low-pressure situations to ease Rodriguez into.

It’s another right-handed dominated lineup for the A’s, with Davis again in the leadoff spot. Adam Kennedy gets another day off, but Geren said he’s inclined to keep Kennedy in the top spot when he plays. Ryan Sweeney’s knees are doing better, but Matt Carson gets another start in his place.

A’s
Davis CF
Ellis 2B
Suzuki C
Nomar DH
Hairston LF
Crosby 3B
Barton 1B
Carson RF
Pennington SS

Gio Gonzalez LHP

Indians
Brantley CF
Carroll 2B
Cabrera SS
Choo RF
Peralta 3B
Hafner DH
LaPorta 1B
Shoppach C
Crowe LF

Sowers LHP

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A’s-Sox pregame update — Thursday

It was pouring when I got to Fenway Park about an hour ago, but the sun is out now and it’s looking like this game will start on time. … The Temptations were blasting in the A’s clubhouse this morning — not the usual pregame tunes. I’ll say this: Nomar Garciaparra has seen some Motown clips in his time, judging by the dance moves he was busting out.

No Scott Hairston in the lineup for the third straight day. He says his quad has been slow to recover, but he’s hopeful for tomorrow’s night game in Oakland. Eric Patterson sits today also, with Boston throwing lefty Jon Lester. Ryan Sweeney starts in left field for a change, with Rajai Davis in center and Jack Cust in right.

With the trade deadline just more than 24 hours away, shortstop Orlando Cabrera looked pretty loose this morning, joking around w/his teammates. Manager Bob Geren mentioned how veteran players don’t let trade rumors rattle them this time of year. I’d say Cabrera falls into that category …

The lineups
A’s
Kennedy 2B
Cabrera SS
Garciaparra DH
Cust RF
Everidge 1B
Crosby 3B
Davis CF
Sweeney LF
Powell C

Gonzalez LHP

Sox
Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Youkilis 1B
Bay LF
Ortiz DH
Lowell 3B
Drew RF
Varitek C
Green SS

Lester LHP

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Barton to the DL; Tommy Everidge called up to play first

With the A’s preparing to retire Rickey Henderson’s No. 24 on Aug. 1, the Red Sox will honor their own 2009 Hall of Fame inductee tonight. Jim Rice’s No. 14 will be retired in a pregame ceremony. Nice work by the Sox’s groundskeeping crew, as there’s a big “14″ cut into the grass in left field, where Rice played for Boston.

As for A’s news, Daric Barton was placed on the DL as expected with a strained left hamstring, and first baseman Tommy Everidge was promoted from Triple-A Sacramento for his major league debut. He’s starting at first. A press release lists Everidge at 6-feet, 275 pounds. For you NFL fans, think of Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, the old Saints fullback. Now you’ve got your visual … This dude looks like he’s got some power.

And talk about paying your dues: Everidge is 26, and in his sixth year with the organization after being drafted in 2004. He’s never even been invited to major league spring training, and he’s only been inside a handful of major league parks as a fan. He’s a pretty soft-spoken guy, and is extremely grateful to be getting his chance. A Sonoma native, he grew up a Giants fan and loved Will Clark.

The A’s announced today that right-hander Sean Gallagher, as expected, was sent to San Diego as the third player to complete the Scott Hairston trade. Yes, it was just a year ago that Gallagher was obtained by Oakland as the centerpiece of the Rich Harden trade. Obviously he didn’t pan out like they hoped. Eric Patterson and minor league catcher Josh Donaldson are the only players remaining of the four the A’s received from the Cubs in that deal (outfielder Matt Murton was traded in the offseason for infielder Corey Wimberly).

My question for you readers: Do you still think the Harden deal can work out as a good one for the A’s??? Consider this as you ponder: A scout told me, at the time of the Dan Haren trade, that if two of the six players the A’s got from the Diamondbacks for Haren turned into impact players, the trade could be considered a success. The A’s got four players for Harden and Chad Gaudin, and unless Patterson blossoms at age 26, Donaldson is the last hope for that deal to produce an impact player. So how do you evaluate that trade a year later?

I was just watching Bobby Crosby take grounders at shortstop, and can’t help thinking if he’ll be playing his old position on a regular basis again. That might be the case if Orlando Cabrera gets traded before Friday’s deadline.

Scott Hairston’s left quad is still hurting, so he’s out of the lineup. Ryan Sweeney is in center, with Patterson playing left and Jack Cust in right. Bob Geren said he likes having Sweeney’s stronger arm in center because there’s so much room to cover out there at Fenway.

Enough of my rambling, here’s the rest of the lineups:

A’s
Kennedy 3B
Cabrera SS
Garciaparra DH
Cust RF
Suzuki C
Sweeney CF
Everidge 1B
Ellis 2B
Patterson LF

Mazzaro RHP

Sox
Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Youkilis 1B
Ortiz DH
Bay LF
Drew RF
Lowell 3B
Kottaras C
Green SS

Buchholz RHP

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Eric Patterson starting in CF — a sign of things to come

Take a look at today’s post-Matt Holliday lineup, and I’d say it gives you a window into the A’s thinking for the rest of this season. Eric Patterson was called up, and he’s starting in center field. He’ll be seeing lots of time there, according to Bob Geren. The A’s definitely see this guy as an outfielder — long term — rather than an infielder.

Scott Hairston is starting in left w/Ryan Sweeney in right. Hmmm … looks like a potential starting 2010 outfield to me — if Patterson blossoms. Still not sold on this guy? I’m not either based on what I’ve seen in the bigs so far. But he’s tearing it up at Triple-A, and the A’s seem determined to give him a long look to see what he’s got. Where does this leave Travis Buck? Great question … Geren said Rajai Davis would keep drawing some starts against left-handed pitchers.

–Head out to San Jose Municipal Stadium on Sunday and you’ll get to see Justin Duchscherer pitch against the San Jose Giants. He’s scheduled to make his first rehab appearance that day for Single-A Stockton. Don’t show up late. He’ll probably start, and probably throw just two innings. The A’s will build his pitch count up gradually. As always, plans are subject to change. But Geren was more definitive about this plan than he was yesterday.

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

Anderson LHP

Yanks
Jeter SS
Damon LF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Posada C
Matsui DH
Cano 2B
Swisher RF
M. Cabrera CF

Chamberlain RHP

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A’s pregame update — Sunday

A few pregame tidbits as the A’s finish what must feel like a very loooong first half …

–After his big homer last night, Rajai Davis gets a start in right field. Extended punishment for Ryan Sweeney for not running out a pop-up? Bob Geren wouldn’t say that. He said he wanted to get as many right-handed bats as possible in the lineup against Tampa Bay right-hander James Shields. Righties actually fare better against Shields and his nasty change-up than lefties (rh’s hitting .280 compared to .262 for lh’s). Nomar Garciaparra gets a start at first base, with switch-hitting Landon Powell catching. Kurt Suzuki is the DH. Jack Cust, who struck out four times last night, sits as he’s 2-for-15 against Shields.

–Geren had planned to play Garciaparra at first today over Giambi all along, but Geren said Giambi should be available to pinch-hit with his bruised right elbow.

–With the A’s coming out of the All-Star break with 28 straight games, Geren said Powell will have to spell Suzuki more often, and he wanted to squeeze in a start for him before the break so he wasn’t too rusty when the A’s return to the field.

–Someone who deserved mention from last night’s game — reliever Michael Wuertz. He struck out the side in his one inning of work and has 20 strikeouts in his past 10 2/3 innings (8 games). His 50 strikeouts are tied for second among AL relievers. The league leader, of course, is his All-Star teammate, Andrew Bailey (59).

–Geren listed his rotation coming out of the break. Dallas Braden will start the opener of a four-game home series against the Angels on Thursday. He’ll be followed by Trevor Cahill, Vin Mazzaro, Brett Anderson and Gio Gonzalez. Geren said he wanted to try to maximize the rest for his young starters. Braden is going on regular four days’ rest, but Geren said that’s OK because the lefty just had a 10-day layoff.

The lineups:

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

Anderson LHP

Rays
Upton CF
Aybar 2B
Longoria 3B
Pena 1B
Zobrist RF
Burrell DH
Bartlett SS
Kapler LF
Hernandez C

Shields RHP

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Buck optioned to Triple-A; Eveland joins team

There’s no shortage of news here at Fenway, where Nomar Garciaparra held a news conference in front of 50-60 reporters and broadcasters, new A’s outfielder Scott Hairston is due to arrive anytime, and lefty Dana Eveland joined the club in place of Dallas Braden, who was placed on the bereavement list. We also just heard that Travis Buck was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento to clear a roster spot for Hairston.

Let’s recap the A’s news. I’ll try to throw some Nomar nuggets into a separate post.

–Hairston is not in tonight’s starting lineup, but he’ll be on the active roster and available if needed. It depends on how quickly he gets here. His flight was due to land in Boston at about 5:30 local time, 90 minutes before first pitch. Geren held his media chat before we got word of Buck’s demotion. But he didn’t offer much when asked about what the Hairston trade says about Buck’s status in the big picture. “He’s still very young. He’s a player that has a bright future.” Asked whether it’s been Buck’s injuries or flat-out ineffectiveness that’s held him back in the organization’s eyes, Geren offered: “Everything blends together. It’s a hard game to play, period. When he’s out of the lineup, it’s due to one factor or another.”

Geren confirmed that Hairston will take over starting center field duties, with Ryan Sweeney seeing lots of time in right field and Jack Cust sliding into the DH role more often. He said he envisions Hairston hitting somewhere in the 3-5 range in the order. “I like what the guys are doing at the top,” Geren said, referring to Adam Kennedy and ORlando Cabrera.

The A’s outfield defense will definitely be stronger when Matt Holliday, Hairston and Sweeney are playing left to right, with Cust at DH. “(Hairston) definitely improves our team offensively, defensively and on the bases. He’s also a very good base runner,” Geren said.

–I believe I hear the Bee Gees’ “How Deep Is Your Love?” being played on the Fenway organ right now … just had to share.

–Braden flew back to the Bay Area for what Geren called a family matter, but didn’t offer more information. Players can stay on the bereavement list a maximum of seven days. Eveland, 7-1 with a 3.49 ERA in 12 starts w/Triple-A Sacramento since being optioned May 5, could start tomorrow in Braden’s place. But Geren said Edgar Gonzalez also was an option if Gonzalez isn’t needed tonight in relief. If Eveland goes, he’d be pitching on three days’ rest, as he pitched for the River Cats on Friday. Geren said he’d have to check w/Eveland to see if his arm was good to go on three days’ rest, which is odd because Geren also mentioned Eveland could be used tonight (on two days’ rest) if needed out of the bullpen in a pinch …

Tonight’s lineups …

A’s
Kennedy 3B
Cabrera SS
Holliday LF
Giambi 1B
Suzuki C
Garciaparra DH
Cust RF
Sweeney CF
Ellis 2B

Anderson LHP

Red Sox
Ellsbury CF
Lugo SS
Youkilis 3B
Ortiz DH
Bay LF
Varitek C
Baldelli RF
Green 2B
Bates 1B

Smoltz RHP

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Sunday update from Petco

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there … We’ll see if a big holiday crowd shows up today at Petco Park. The sun is out — first day of true San Diego weather since we’ve been here.

A few updates:

–Josh Outman will get an MRI tomorrow, though Bob Geren wasn’t positive what type of MRI it would be. If it’s a contrast MRI (where an injection is involved), Outman wouldn’t be able to throw for a couple of days, ruling him out for his next start Wednesday against the Giants. I didn’t see Outman before the game to clarify …

–Something that stood out to me last night was Ryan Sweeney’s game-tying single off lefty Joe Thatcher in the sixth. Sweeney was hitting just .169 against lefties on the season, and Thatcher was brought in to face him. The count was 0-2 and Sweeney just served a little single into left field.

Sweeney really needs to show he can hit lefties a little better than he has. I think he gives the A’s a better glove in center than Rajai Davis and makes the A’s a stronger overall team when he’s in there. That also gives the A’s a valuable weapon in Davis off the bench for pinch-running purposes. Geren has started the right-handed Davis against lefty starters since Sweeney came off the DL. It will be interesting to see if Sweeney gets the call tomorrow night against Giants left-hander Jonathan Sanchez. Geren moved him up into the fifth spot in the order today against San Diego right-hander Kevin Correia.

I’d like to hear thoughts on how some of you evaluate the center field situation …

–You may have noticed that Jack Cust’s past couple of homers have gone to the opposite field, always a good sign for Cust. He’s only hitting .233, but his 13 homers lead the team and his 37 RBI trail Matt Holliday by two for the team lead. Geren talked this morning about how Cust isn’t the prototypical No. 2 hitter. “It’s a little different from the norm that a ’2′ guy should (mainly) move guys over,” Geren said. “My philosophy is I just like to get the most productive hitters the most at-bats.”

Today’s lineups:

A’s
Kennedy 2B
Cust RF
Holliday LF
Giambi 1B
Sweeney CF
O. Cabrera SS
Powell C
Hannahan 3B
Braden P

Padres
Gwynn Jr. CF
Eckstein 2B
A. Gonzalez 1B
Kouzmanoff 3B
Blanks LF
E. Gonzalez RF
Blanco C
Correia P
E. Cabrera SS

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Greetings from San Diego

Now I know why so many hitters complain about Petco Park: 400 feet to right center, 401 to left-center. Wow …

Rajai Davis gets the nod again in center field for the A’s over Ryan Sweeney, not a surprise w/lefty Wade LeBlanc pitching for San Diego. Bob Geren said tomorrow night would likely be Sweeney’s first start since coming off the disabled list. Other than that, the lineup looks fairly standard, which is more than you can say for the Padres. Manager Bud Black is batting LeBlanc in the No. 8 spot, with shortstop Everth Cabrera ninth. It’s the first time in Padres history a pitcher has batted anywhere other than the No. 9 spot. Black told the San Diego media that he likes Cabrera’s speed and ability to turn the lineup over and get something going. Tony LaRussa has batted his pitchers eighth on occasion in the recent past, so this isn’t unheard of. But bizarre nonetheless …

As for the A’s, they’re looking for any ideas to generate a little more offense. They’ve averaged just three runs per game over the last 11 contests, and are 8-16 against left-handed starters, worst in the American League. We’ll see if they can turn the tide against LeBlanc.

The lineups:
A’s
Kennedy 2B
Suzuki C
Cust RF
Holliday LF
Giambi 1B
O. Cabrera SS
Crosby 3B
Davis CF
Outman P

Padres
Gwynn CF
Eckstein 2B
A. Gonzalez 1B
Kouzmanoff 3B
Headley LF
E. Gonzalez RF
Alfonzo C
LeBlanc P
E. Cabrera SS

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Rajai gets nod tonight in center

The Internet access is a little spotty in the press box right now, so I’m pounding out my first blog via blackberry. And for some apparent reason, I thought you would find that interesting. …

Anyway, Ryan Sweeney is active but not in tonight’s lineup with lefty Randy Wolf throwing for LA. The Padres have lefty Wade LeBlanc going tomorrow, and Geren said he hadn’t decided yet if Sweeney would start tomorrow or Rajai Da
vis.

Geren said Nomar Garciaparra is probably still a week or two away from being able to start in the field. Once the A’s return to playing in American League parks, Geren could DH Garciaparra and keep playing Jack Cust in right field. He said he didn’t know how he would handle the DH spot yet.

Ill leave you with the lineups now, as my fingers are getting exhausted from blackberry blogging.

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

Dodgers
Pierre LF
Furcal SS
Hudson 2B
Blake 3B
Ethier RF
Kemp CF
Loney 1B
Martin C
Wolf P

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A’s sign pitcher Shawn Chacon; Ryan Sweeney activated

The A’s added a veteran arm to their Triple-A pitching staff, signing right-hander Shawn Chacon to a minor league deal. Assistant GM David Forst confirmed it in a text message. Chacon, 31, will pitch out of Sacramento’s rotation, but he’s also got experience as a reliever. He gives the A’s a veteran fallback option for their young major league starting staff, but I see him being more likely to help the bullpen if called upon at the big league level.

He was pitching for the independent league Newark Bears this season. He made seven starts, with opponents batting .253 against him. In 2007 with the Pirates, 60 of his 64 appearances came in relief. But he made 15 starts for Houston last season. You’ll remember he was released after getting in a physical altercation with Astros GM Ed Wade.

–As expected, the A’s have activated center fielder Ryan Sweeney from the DL and optioned outfielder Chris Denorfia to Triple-A.