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First base is Daric Barton’s — for now

Didn’t the A’s roster activity seem unusually quiet in recent days? That ended today, as first baseman Tommy Everidge was optioned to Triple-A and outfielder/second baseman Eric Patterson was recalled.

It’s a bit of a surprise considering indications were that Everidge and Daric Barton would split time as the A’s evaluated both first base prospects. But Bob Geren pointed out that Patterson provides a versatile option off the bench, especially w/left fielder Scott Hairston nursing a sore quad and center fielder Rajai Davis playing with a fractured thumb.

The big-picture impact is that the A’s want Barton to get the majority of at-bats at first. Asked if Barton is the primary guy at first base for the rest of the season, Geren responded, “Yeah.” He left the door open to Everidge returning when rosters expand, but it’s clear the A’s want to give Barton a hard look. … I wouldn’t read too much into this as far as the A’s plans for next season, because you figure Chris Carter, Sean Doolittle and possibly Brett Wallace will all be in the first base mix in spring training. But Barton gets his chance to leave a strong imprint heading into the offseason, much like Cliff Pennington at shortstop.

Patterson split his latest stint in Sacramento between center field, left field and second base. I see center being his best chance for playing time up here, as Davis could probably use a little rest for his thumb.

–Other newsie bits: Bobby Crosby said his calf feels good after running sprints yesterday. He’s taking today off from running but looks like he could be ready Wednesday, when he’s eligible to come off the DL. … Geren reiterated that Edgar Gonzalez is his preference to start Tuesday at Kansas City, which would set into motion a six-man rotation.

–I’ve mentioned this before about Brett Tomko, who starts tonight: It’s unusual to see a starter, on the day he’s pitching, hang out on the field w/the rest of the team when it comes out to stretch. Starting pitchers typically hole up in the clubhouse until they’re ready to start their pregame throwing. But Tomko seems to enjoy being w/the team. I’ll have to ask him about it …

The lineups:

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

Tomko RHP

Angels
Figgins 3B
Abreu RF
Hunter CF
Guerrero DH
Rivera LF
Morales 1B
Aybar SS
Kendrick 2B
Mathis C

Bell RHP

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Cunningham optioned to minors to make room for Tomko; other pregame happenings

The expected media throng is here for the Yankees’ only visit to Oakland this season. We’ll see how big of a crowd shows up for these three games, and (as is always the case) how many are actually rooting for the home team as opposed to the Pinstripes.

Brett Tomko takes the hill tonight after getting called up from Triple-A Sacramento. It was interesting to see him take the field and stretch w/the team before batting practice. Normally, a starting pitcher just chills in the clubhouse and gets ready on his own schedule. But you figure Tomko showed up today probably not knowing most of his new teammates. He probably wanted to shake as many hands as possible, rather than take the mound w/a bunch of strangers around him. But this is Tomko’s ninth team, and he’s making his 261st start, so he knows the drill.

Surely he won’t lack motivation, being he was released by the Yankees on July 29 after making 15 relief appearances. The A’s have been stretching him out as a starter since signing him, but he won’t pitch very deep tonight. Bob Geren said he’d be happy if Tomko gave him five innings. Geren also mentioned that Dallas Braden (left ankle) probably wouldn’t be ready to start next time through the rotation, so Tomko could get more than one turn if he’s decent tonight. …

–Outfielder Aaron Cunningham was optioned to Sacramento to make roster room for Tomko. It was an odd stint with the big club for Cunningham, who was up for seven games and got just one start and seven at-bats. Granted, he dropped a fly ball yesterday, but he hardly got a look. And Cunningham, a quiet and very good-natured guy, was shocked by the news. The A’s also didn’t notify him until long after he arrived at the clubhouse, after he had already started preparing for the game, which is never a good way to handle things …

–Former Athletic and current Yankee Nick Swisher remains as nutty as ever. He spent some time in the A’s clubhouse socializing with his old friends, and was smiling and shaking hands like a politician.

There’s also been a Reggie Jackson sighting. He’s working for the Yanks these days …

Here’s tonight’s lineups, featuring Bobby Crosby at first base instead of Tommy Everidge, who’s struggled of late. It’s a mental and physical day off, as Geren put it:

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

Tomko RHP

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

Burnett RHP

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Reineke optioned; reliever Gray recalled

Slow news morning at the Coliseum …

Chad Reineke, last night’s starting pitcher, was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento, not so surprising considering that Dallas Braden should jump right back into the rotation the next time through. But I was surprised the A’s didn’t add a position player to fill Reienke’s spot. Reliever Jeff Gray was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento, bolstering the bullpen but leaving manager Bob Geren with just three position players on the bench. Are you surprised the A’s didn’t use the opportunity to activate Jason Giambi? Neither am I, judging by the way this scenario has played out so far.

Speaking of first base, Daric Barton was put through running drills to test his strained left hamstring. If all goes well, Barton could begin a rehab stint with Sacramento as soon as tomorrow. Things will get really interesting once Barton is healthy. Does he get the majority of time at first? Does Tommy Everidge keep playing? Does one get sent down to make it easier to squeeze Giambi back on the roster?

I see the A’s continuing to play the young guys. Any thoughts out there on how you’d like to see first base handled???

–One thing to watch today: Geren said Trevor Cahill’s last side session was the best he’s seen from the young right-hander in a while. We’ll see if that shows through today, as Cahill tries to bounce back after two poor outings …

today’s lineups

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

Cahill RHP

Rangers
German 2B
Young 3B
Murphy LF
Jones DH
Hamilton RF
Byrd CF
Blalock 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Vizquel SS

Hunter RHP

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Eric Patterson optioned to make room for Reineke

Well, that extended audition Eric Patterson was supposed to get in center field is over — for now at least. Patterson was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento to make room on the A’s roster for right-hander Chad Reineke, who starts tonight against Texas.

If you’ve seen what Patterson has done at Triple-A, you’re probably frustrated that he has yet to carry that success over to the bigs. He hit just .182 (4-for-22) in 10 games since being called up July 24. I think the A’s still want to give him a longer look (Bob Geren said as much), but in the short time Patterson was here, he didn’t look comfortable at the plate or in center, to be honest.

Dallas Braden’s ankle injury is thought to be short term, and since he didn’t go on the DL, Patterson was the unlucky guy to go to make room for Reineke. And with the way Rajai Davis is playing, you know he’s going to get the majority of time in center for now, and rightly so.

Braden isn’t limping nearly as bad as yesterday, and he expects to be able to make his next scheduled start Monday in Baltimore. Tonight’s start looks like a one-time gig for Reineke, who was trying on hats and getting acclimated to the Oakland clubhouse this afternoon. The scouting report is that he’s a sinker/slider guy, and that defenders like playing behind him because he usually throws strikes.

–Status quo on the Jason Giambi front, meaning no indication when (or if) the A’s will activate him. Geren was asked if we could expect to see Giambi activated at all the rest of the season. “We have a lot of different roster moves and decisions to make in a short time,” Geren said. “Promising anything in this game is very difficult to do. I don’t make blanket statements about anybody.” Those decisions he mentioned surely revolve around Daric Barton — and when he might be healthy enough to return from the DL — and fellow first baseman Tommy Everidge, who has looked good at the plate since getting called up last week.

–You might have seen the story on our Web site that the A’s signed right-hander Brett Tomko to a minor league deal and assigned him to Sacramento. Once upon a time he was a key member of the Giants’ rotation …

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

Reineke RHP

Rangers
Vizquel 2B
Young 3B
Murphy LF
Byrd CF
Blalock 1B
Jones DH
Hamilton RF
Teagarden C
Andrus SS

Padilla RHP

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Braden questionable for tomorrow, Giambi not activated

Your pregame update from the Coliseum, where we have pretty ideal weather for a ballgame right now. We’ll see if that’s still the case at first pitch …

Dallas Braden was limping around the clubhouse pretty good today, the result of a rash on his left ankle that’s become inflamed. According to Bob Geren, Braden has been wearing a neoprene toe guard while pitching because he’s been dragging his left foot. The rash stemmed from him wearing that.

At any rate, Braden is questionable for his start tomorrow, so the A’s will have a Plan B ready. Geren said Edgar Gonzalez is one possibility, or they could pull somebody up from Triple-A Sacramento. Jerome Williams would be on turn to pitch for the River Cats, and the A’s have room on the 40-man roster for him. But Williams is just 1-4 with a 6.60 ERA in 20 appearances (9 starts). Dana Eveland is an option, but he’d have to go on three days’ rest and he threw 101 pitches on Saturday. Shawn Chacon is out — he started today.

If Gonzalez isn’t needed in relief tonight, my money’s on him.

–Can’t say I was surprised that Jason Giambi wasn’t activated from the DL today. He wasn’t around the clubhouse before batting practice to offer his take on things, and Geren was tight-lipped as ever regarding Giambi’s situation. Geren flat-out avoids addressing Giambi’s physical condition. “There’s no change in his status. It’s the same as yesterday. We’ll go day-to-day with it,” Geren said.

What is it that’s holding Giambi back? “We’re just not ready to activate him,” Geren said. Remember, Giambi has been saying the past few days that his right quad feels OK.

It seems pretty obvious to me that the A’s want to go with Tommy Everidge and (when he’s healthy) Daric Barton at first base. But who knows? Maybe they truly aren’t convinced that Giambi is ready to go.

Anyway, here’s tonight’s lineups, featuring Rajai Davis in the leadoff spot w/Adam Kennedy getting a day off. I know some of you out there have wondered about plugging Davis into the top spot regularly. Enjoy!! At least for one day … Geren said he still likes Kennedy leading off …

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

Gonzalez LHP

Rangers
Arias 2B
Young 3B
Byrd CF
Jones DH
Blalock 1B
Hamilton RF
Murphy LF
Saltalamacchia C
Andrus SS

Holland LHP

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A’s-Rangers pregame update — Monday

There was a bigger audience than normal for batting practice tonight at the Coliseum, as the A’s high Single-A squad, the Stockton Ports, are on hand to watch tonight’s game. I was looking at these guys and wondering how soon some of them might be wearing green and gold. The next year or two? It’s realistic considering how quickly the A’s promote some of their guys through the system, wouldn’t you say?

The team isn’t tipping its hand on whether Jason Giambi will be activated from the DL tomorrow, and how much playing time he’ll get if/when he does return. But, when asked about Tommy Everidge, manager Bob Geren responded, “I’m going to give him a chance to play.” That might tell us a lot. Everidge obviously won’t be heading back to the minors regardless of whether Giambi gets activated. Everidge is at first base tonight, w/Jack Cust at DH.

The starting outfield tonight — left to right — goes Scott Hairston, Eric Patterson, Ryan Sweeney. Not a surprise that Geren has two left-handed bats in there (Patterson, Sweeney) against Texas right-hander Dustin Nippert. Look for Rajai Davis to get back in there tomorrow against lefty Derek Holland.

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

Anderson LHP

Rangers
Arias 2B
Young 3B
Byrd LF
Cruz RF
Blalock 1B
Jones DH
Hamilton CF
Saltalamacchia C
Andrus SS

Nippert 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

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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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This place looks familiar

Deja vu, Fenway Park-style. The A’s are back in Boston less than three weeks after completing their last series here. You know about the trade rumors involving the A’s. The Red Sox are rumored to be considering Padres slugger Adrian Gonzalez. They haven’t hit particularly well this month, and it’s all they can do to keep up with the Yankees right now.

It’s looking like Daric Barton might become the 13th A’s player to hit the DL. He said today his strained left hamstring isn’t feeling any better, and Bob Geren acknowledged Barton could be DL-bound. Triple-A Sacramento was still playing a doubleheader when Geren talked to us, and he said he hoped to chat with Rivercats manager Tony DeFrancesco about call-up possibilities. First baseman Tommy Everidge looks like a very strong candidate to me. This guy has been raking all season for Sacramento, and he’s currently on an 11-game hitting streak in which he’s batting .511. This is assuming Geren wants a first baseman, and he didn’t say that was set in stone. There may be more to report on this after the game …

Justin Duchscherer threw two perfect innings for Single-A Stockton yesterday, which surely didn’t discourage any teams looking to trade for him. His next outing is Friday for Sacramento. He’ll go 60 pitches and increase to 80 next time, so the A’s are definitely preparing him to start, although Geren repeated the team is keeping all options open with how Duke will be used.

Tonight’s lineups:

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

Cahill RHP

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

Beckett RHP