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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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A’s minor league update: Gallagher suffers knee injury

Sacramento RiverCats starting pitcher Sean Gallagher left the game after the first inning Thursday night with a left knee injury.

The severity of Gallagher’s injury has not yet been determined, according to the RiverCats. Gallagher, who is 1-0 with a 1.74 ERA in Triple-A and has had a couple of stints with the A’s this year, gave up two hits and one run during the game Sacramento eventually won 19-10.

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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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A rough ending

Just when you thought all the pitching woes were reserved for the big club, a rough night at Triple-A Sacramento. The River Cats allowed three runs in the ninth in a 7-6 loss to Round Rock. J.R. Towles hit a three-run home run off Jerry Blevins. Not sure what Blevins’ deal is, but he’s gone from being very promising to very nauseating. His combined ERA this season between the A’s and Sacramento: 7.79.

BTW, Sean Gallagher got what he deserved after his pathetic outing.

The rest of the rundown:

TRIPLE-A SACRAMENTO

— Righty Vin Mazzaro earned pitcher of the week honors in the Pacific Coast League after allowing just a run in 13 2/3 innings. Question for the readers: Do you want to see Mazzaro called up.

— Lefty Dana Eveland still stinks.

Interesting promotion by the River Cats.

DOUBLE-A MIDLAND

— The Rockhounds’ pitching staff had just as brutal an outing Monday. Chad Tracy’s two-run double highlighted a three-run sixth after another Chris Carter RBI made it 6-2. that tied it after Midland reliever James Heuser walked a pair while loading the bases. In the 10th, Sam Demel allowed three straight hits without getting an out to cap a 7-6 loss.

— How did outfielder Matt Spencer adjust to his promotion from Single-A Stockton? On the third pitch of his debut, he smacked a two-run single in a 9-1 win over Frisco. Here are Spencer’s numbers since his promotion.

Travis Banwart is a guy to track. He was 4-1 with a 2.08 ERA in his first seven starts.

SINGLE-A STOCKTON

— Another tough loss for Craig Italiano, who has pitched better than his numbers. The Ports are showing signs of life.

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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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Crosby back in the lineup; Cust hitting third

It rained pretty heavily early this afternoon, but it’s all sunshine at Comerica Park as the A’s get ready for  game two of this three-game series against Detroit. Bobby Crosby was feeling good enough to return to the lineup at third base after a stomach ailment prompted his early exit last night. Crosby is guessing it might have been food poisoning. “About an hour before the game, I was just feeling off,” he said before BP. “By about the second inning, I felt like I had to throw up.”

Whether that played a part in him booting that grounder last night, I’m not sure. But Crosby echoed what Adam Kennedy said after Friday’s game regarding the infield’s four errors: Sometimes bad defense can be contagious.

On the offensive side of things, Bob Geren has flip-flopped Jack Cust and Jason Giambi in the lineup, bumping Cust up to the No. 3 spot and dropping Giambi to fifth. It’s a decision spurred more by Cust’s hot hitting than any struggles Giambi might be having, Geren said. I asked him if he thinks Giambi will benefit from hitting fifth (seeing better pitches, etc.) “I don’t think that makes much of a difference as much as getting one of our top hitters an extra at-bat a game,” Geren said. Cust is hitting .281 right now, Giambi .208.

Geren also bumped Adam Kennedy to sixth and dropped Ryan Sweeney to seventh.

–Sean Gallagher will take Monday’s start in Tampa Bay, with Josh Outman going Tuesday. That’s also puts the duo on turn to pitch the May 29th doubleheader at Texas (when the teams make up their rainout from April 29).   

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

Tigers lineup: Granderson CF; Polanco 2B; Thomas RF; Cabrera 1B; Ordonez DH; Inge 3B; Raburn LF; Laird C; Everett SS; Porcello P.

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Eveland sent down; OF Copeland joins roster

Today brought more shuttling with the A’s roster, as lefty Dana Eveland was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento and outfielder Ben Copeland was activated from the disabled list. Dan Giese will make tomorrow night’s start against Texas in Eveland’s place. Can’t be too surprised by the decision to send Eveland down, as those two outings in Seattle (one start, one unexpected relief outing) couldn’t have done much for his confidence. “We’ll get him in the rotation down there,” Bob Geren said. “He’s got to improve command of all of his pitches.”

Starting tomorrow shouldn’t be a huge adjustment for Giese, who served as a spot starter for the Yankees last season. “I really enjoy it,” Giese said. “I really don’t do much different (from relieving).” He said he’ll stay in the stretch tomorrow since that’s what he’s used to doing out of the ‘pen. Geren labeled this a spot start for Giese, and with two offdays next week, the A’s have some wiggle room with their rotation. They don’t know yet if Brett Anderson’s blister will be healed enough for him to start Saturday. If he can’t go, I’d assume Sean Gallagher would take his place. Geren mentioned Gallagher as a starting option when he talked about the flexibility with the upcoming rotation.

Copeland, you’ll remember from spring training, was the Rule 5 outfielder the A’s picked up from the Giants. He suffered whiplash when he crashed into the wall making a catch down in Arizona, and he had lingering shoulder problems as a result. He said throwing isn’t an issue now, and he was 6-for-13 in three games split between Single-A Stockton and Sacramento.

I’m not sure if I envision Copeland with a long-term future in Oakland, but as a Rule 5 guy, he has to stay on the 25-man roster or be offered back to the Giants. We’ll see what kind of playing time he gets. This gives the A’s six outfielders, which they’re able to pull off because they’re carrying just five infielders right now.

Nomar Garciaparra apparently is recovering well from his right calf injury. He’s back w/the team and Geren said Garciaparra is hopeful of being ready to come off the DL when he’s eligible May 14.

One last note: Geren said he’ll probably get Brad Ziegler in tonight’s game even if it’s not a save situation. Ziegler hasn’t pitched since April 25, but is ready to roll after recovering from the flu …

Today’s A’s lineup, featuring Ryan Sweeney back in the leadoff spot:

Sweeney CF; Cabrera SS; Giambi 1B; Holliday LF; Cust DH; Suzuki C; Buck RF; Crosby 3B; Petit 2B; Braden P.

Angels lineup: Figgins 3B; Matthews Jr., RF; Abreu DH; Hunter CF; Napoli C; Kendrick 2B; Morales 1B; Rivera LF; Aybar SS; Loux P.

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Cahill’s start pushed back to Saturday

The dark clouds come and go over Rangers Ballpark. Right now the sun is out as the A’s take BP before tonight’s series opener w/Texas. Weather.com says there’s a 40 percent chance of rain tonight and tomorrow. The wind is blowing pretty good too, so we’ll see how that affects fly balls tonight.

On to today’s news …

Trevor Cahill was supposed to start tomorrow’s game, but he’s been pushed back to Saturday. Josh Outman will take the ball tomorrow, so they’ve basically flip-flopped rotation turns. This gives Cahill two bullpen sessions in between starts instead of one to work out the kinks from Friday’s outing, when Tampa Bay knocked him around pretty good. “I’m just trying to find a consistent arm slot,” Cahill said before heading out to stretch.

That was more insight than we got from Bob Geren when discussing Cahill. Geren said during his media chat that the switch was made partly because the A’s didn’t like Outman going so long between starts. But I’m thinking this has EVERYTHING to do w/Cahill’s last outing. You’ve gotta believe the A’s will have a quick hook w/Cahill in the rotation if he keeps struggling, especially if Sean Gallagher and/or Gio Gonzalez continue throwing well at Triple-A (Gio starts tonight, by the way). I could see one of them up soon.

Eric Chavez just finished taking grounders and making throws around the infield. How he comes out of that will determine when he might return to the lineup. Could be tomorrow. Could be … ?????? If Chavez winds up on the DL, I’d expect the A’s to call up a reliever. They’re going with a 6-man bullpen right now, one short of what Geren usually likes carrying …

Today’s A’s lineup:

Sweeney CF; Cabrera SS; Giambi 1B; Holliday LF; Cust DH; Garciaparra 3B; Suzuki C; Buck RF; Ellis 2B; Anderson P.

For the Rangers: Kinsler 2B; Byrd CF; Young 3B; Jones LF; Blalock DH; Cruz RF; Davis 1B; Saltalamacchia C; Andrus SS; Millwood P.

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A’s minor league recap: Kane County’s Figueroa dominant in win

Here’s a brief look at what happened down on the farm for the A’s affiliates:

SACRAMENTO (Triple-A)

As noted Friday, the RiverCats lost 5-1 to Portland (Padres) despite a strong start by Vin Mazzaro.

Sean Gallagher makes his first start for the RiverCats Saturday night against Las Vegas (Blue Jays).

MIDLAND (Double-A)

The Rockhounds got three hits from Tommy Everidge, two hits from Chris Carter (.328) and a homer from Danny Putnam in their 9-3 victory over San Antonio (Padres).

STOCKTON (High Single-A)

Catcher Raul Padron now has six RBI in just three games for the Ports, but that was about the only bright spot in Stockton’s 4-2 loss to Bakersfield (Rangers) on Friday.

KANE COUNTY (Low Single-A)

Lefty Pedro Figueroa was dominant in the Cougars’ 8-1 win over Burlington (Royals). The 23-year-old threw seven shutout innings, allowing five hits, no walks and striking out nine.

Kane County’s offense was boosted by home runs from Jason Christian, Grant Desme and catcher Juan Nunez.

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A’s minor league recap: Gallagher starts Saturday in Sacramento

Here’s a brief look at what happened down on the farm for the A’s affiliates:

SACRAMENTO (Triple-A)

The RiverCats added Sean Gallagher Thursday when the onetime Chicago Cub pitcher was optioned to Sacramento by the A’s. Gallagher will
join the starting rotation and make his first start in Sacramento on Saturday night against Las Vegas (Blue Jays).
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