March 2010

As @ Angels: Lineup and pregame notes

A light rain has steadily emerged here in Phoenix, putting the A’s afternoon game against the Angels in jeopardy. I’m assuming the rain has also reached the Angels’ Tempe Diablo Stadium, but barring the red light, here’s your Sunday lineup:

Davis CF
Ellis 2B
Suzuki C
Kouzmanoff 3B
Chavez 1B
Cust DH
Taylor LF
Buck RF
Rosales SS
Anderson SP

Notes: Eric Patterson returned to the A’s clubhouse this morning with four stitches above his left eye and is cleared to play tomorrow. He took a bad hop off a ground ball at second base in the fifth inning of yesterday’s 4-2 win over the Angels. … Reminder: MLB Network will air the first of five scheduled A’s Spring Training games today. Unless the rain calls for a cancellation, the network will begin airing the game at 4 p.m. PST (tape delay).

Duke news, plus postgame notes and more

All the postgame talk Saturday was preceded by an interesting pregame session with manager Bob Geren, who, when asked about the likelihood of Justin Duchscherer being ready for Opening Day, responded: “He’s still optimistic about Opening Day, but I don’t think so. Getting him built up to 100 pitches makes it difficult to do without six starts. Four of our starters are getting six starts, and [Trevor Cahill] is getting seven. He’s two or three weeks behind.” 

Duchscherer, in fact, IS still optimistic about being on the 25-man roster Opening Day. When approached by other reporters, he made it clear he still believes he’ll be good to go. He’s been throwing from the front of the mound and did so again Saturday, so I should have another update on that session tomorrow morning.
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And now, some postgame dribblers for y’all… (Sheets’ Southern drawl must be wearing off on me):

Immediately after the game ended, Eric Patterson was en route to get stitches for the cut he got above his left eye when trying to grab a groundball that took a bad hop in the fifth inning. I’m told there was plenty blood, although I guess you really didn’t need to know that…

Flamethrower Henry Rodriguez threw the ball 98mph at least six or seven times in his one-inning stint today against the Angels, according to Geren. Equally impressive, Geren said, was Tyson Ross — who struck out two in two shutout innings of work. “He has a bright future, for sure,” the A’s skipper said. “And since he was in there early in the game, he faced a lot of Angels regulars. That was a good test for him.”

Coco Crisp enjoyed a successful Cactus League debut, leading off in the DH spot and going 2-for-3 with a double. He’ll continue to battle Jack Cust, Jake Fox and Eric Chavez for time in the DH role as he rehabs the surgically repaired shoulder that forced him to miss the majority of last season. “He had a real nice game,” Geren said. “Lots of power off the bat there.”
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Leftover notes: Righty Jason Jennings, who — along with Brett Tomko — signed with the A’s on Feb. 28, threw a simulated game Saturday and is slated to throw after Gio Gonzalez in Monday’s home game against the Cubs. Meanwhile, Tomko showed up in the A’s clubhouse before today’s game and spoke about the irritated nerve in his right throwing arm. He also boasted about his five-month-old twins, Jack and Ty, and said there was no special reason for choosing those particular names other than the want to give them “manly” names. “You want them to have names that sound good as a kid,” he explained, “but also sound like good names when they’re older.”

Brett Anderson is on the bump tomorrow — weather permitting — and is scheduled to throw ahead of Matt Wright, Fautino De Los Santos, Cedrick Bowers, John Meloan and Brad Kilby.

See y’all at the Angels’ Tempe Diablo Stadium in the morning…  

Chavez: Im glad this days over

Eric Chavez made his game debut at first base today, playing five innings while going 1-for-2 with a triple in his first at-bat at the plate. After exiting the game, he spoke to reporters about a sense of relief he felt in putting the day behind him.

“I’m glad this day’s over,” Chavez said. “That one’s in the books. For me it’s about using that cliche, it’s one day at a time. I’m really enjoying myself while I’m out there.”

He’s also getting help from several people, the most recent being Brewers first base coach Ed Sedar.

“I was actually over at first base when I didn’t need to be today,” Chavez said with a laugh. “The first base coach said, ‘Hey, you don’t need to be here right now.’ He hooked me up.”

Manager Bob Geren said, aside from some footwork that can be improved, he liked what he saw from his six-time Gold Glove third baseman. Chavez made a couple impressive fielding plays and also had to deal with what he called “wild throws,” including overthrown tosses from Kevin Kouzmanoff and Lenny DiNardo — both of which resulted in errors.

“I’m still getting comfortable,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ll ever be completely comfortable. There are times I go out to third and am still not completely comfortable.”

At the same time, Chavez insists he still feels healthy — which is of bigger concern right now than how many outs he collects at first.

“I feel fine,” he said. “Only time can tell my situation. To be honest, I just need to get familiar with everything. The first pick-off throw was different for me, and then there were a couple wild throws today. I just have to take it all in.

As for his offensive game, Chavez looked like his old self right away when he collected the triple. All spring, he’s been saying that he’s most concerned about being productive offensively so as to give the team multiple options of where to use him on the field.

“I think as spring goes on, it will be the way I’m making contact,” he said of trying to gauge his comfort level with the bat. “I know when I hit the ball whether I’ve got the hand speed there and making good contact. It’s something I’ll be able to know as I get in there making some outs and taking pitches.”

Friday: Pregame notes

Lots of regulars in action today for the team’s home opener against the Brewers here at Phoenix Muni. Here’s your lineup:

Davis LF
Ellis 2B
Suzuki C
Kouzmanoff 3B
Chavez 1B
Cust DH
Buck RF
Rosales SS
Patterson CF
Sheets P

Pitchers available: Mazzaro, DiNardo, Bailey, Ziegler, Cassevah, Breslow, Hernandez, De Los Santos, McBeth, Demel

Lots to be excited about for this game, aside from the already anticipated start of Sheets against his former team. Chavez makes his game debut at first base, while Kouzmanoff also gets his first spring start at third. Definitely keep an eye on the middle of the lineup; I’m liking the idea of Cust batting sixth and am very curious to see how Suzuki, Kouz and Chavez set him up in the 3-5 spots.
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Quick note from this morning: Jason Jennings is scheduled to
throw a simulated game on the back field at noon today. The
right-hander, acquired this week, should be game-ready sometime next
week.
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Also, leftover tidbits from yesterday: Infielder Corey Wimberly is out indefinitely with a strained calf. … Geren liked what he saw from right-hander Justin Souza,
who allowed a hit and struck out the side in one inning of work in the
A’s 9-3 loss to the Cubs. … The A’s skipper was also quite impressed
with the rocket shot that Chris Carter sent over the left field
fence yesterday. “I don’t even think he got all of it either,” Geren
said. “I think he missed it a touch and it still almost went 500 feet.”
… After allowing one run — a homer to Derrek Lee — in two innings
to the Cubs, Trevor Cahill concluded that he has some work to do on his changeup. He shook off catcher Landon Powell five
times before throwing the changeup to Lee. He’s also working on a new
curveball, which he hoped to debut in the game but never got a chance.
“I was excited about it,” he said. Cahill will get plenty chances to
show it off, as he is scheduled to start the most Cactus League games
(7) out of any of the pitchers due to how the throwing scheduled worked
out. … Adam Rosales continues to impress every day. He went 1-for-2 yesterday against the Cubs and is back in the lineup today at shortstop.

Another Wednesday wrap-up

Your Cactus League Opening Day roster against the Cubs tomorrow:

Davis LF
Barton 1B
Sweeney RF
Fox 3B
Gross CF
Rosales 2B
Powell C
Pennington SS
Cahill SP

Some big names (Chavez, Ellis, Kouzmanoff, Suzuki, Crisp, Cust) are missing from the list of guys making the trip over to Mesa, but at the same time there’s plenty worth watching. How will Raj handle left-field duties? What can Barton and Sweeney do at the top of the lineup? Plenty of questions to ask, but we also have to keep in mind these guys will probably only get three or four innings of work in, not to mention it’s only the first game — so judgment need be met with caution.

Notes from today’s three-inning intrasquad game:

Manager Bob Geren said Gio Gonzalez looked sharp after striking out two in a 1-2-3 inning. “His breaking ball is in midseason form,” the A’s skipper said. “He got the breaking ball over, and guys were swinging over it. He was very impressive.” The A’s lefty, vying for the fifth rotation spot along with Cahill and Vin Mazzaro, also had his changeup working well. Just ask Rajai, who struck out against Gio after watching a nasty curveball drift right by him. “Oh boy, I didn’t know what to do with that,” he said with a grin. Seems to be a trend so far this spring…

It appears that the hard-throwing Henry Rodriguez is officially in competition for a bullpen spot. “If he gets command of that zone, he could be ready real quick,” Geren said.

Check back in tomorrow for more updates from Mesa, and don’t forget to follow me on twitter (http://twitter.com/JaneMLB) for plenty of updates throughout the day.

Wednesday morning notes: Crisp, Kouz and more

First, your lineups for today’s three-inning intrasquad game, which is slated to start at 12:30 here at Phoenix Muni:

Team 1 (Matt Wright SP):
Davis LF
Sogard 2B
Suzuki C
Carter 1B
Cust DH
Buck RF
Wimberly CF
Whitney 3B
Green SS

Bullpen: McBeth, Cassevah

Team 2 (Gonzalez SP):
Ellis 2B
Barton 1B
Sweeney DH
Taylor LF
Fox C
Patterson CF
Rosales SS
Brown RF
Petit 3B

Bullpen: Rodriguez, Demel

Other notes from this morning: Geren said Coco Crisp is likely to be playing in center field sooner than the he anticipated. Rather than strictly keeping him in the DH role “for a while,” Geren hopes to get Crisp in the outfield in as early as a week since the rehab schedule for his surgically repaired shoulder is going so well.

Kevin Kouzmanoff, who was deemed day-to-day yesterday after being hit in his right shin with a line-drive ball, will most likely play in tomorrow’s Cactus League opener against the Cubs, Geren said. Kouzmanoff told me he’s doing better, but he looked a little slow during running drills this morning, so we’ll see how he progresses throughout the day. He’s not scheduled to play in the intrasquad game, either.

You also won’t be hearing anything today about Eric Chavez or Dallas McPherson, who both have a scheduled day off.

Joey Devine will throw another bullpen today and could potentially be facing live hitters within the next week, which means he’s not too far away from seeing game action.

The A’s this morning announced that nationally-syndicated broadcaster Chris Townsend will host the A’s radio postgame show on XTRA Sports 860 this season. “A’s Talk with Chris Townsend” will make its debut tomorrow immediately following the team’s opener. Ken Korach, Ray Fosse and Vince Controneo will handle tomorrow’s game broadcast, with the pre-game show starting at 11:30am PST. Meanwhile, Robert Buan will continue to contribute to the club’s postgame show by providing on-site interviews. 

Postgame quick hits

Notes from today’s intrasquad game (which ended with a 5-3 score, but who’s keeping track?):

Coco Crisp, as expected, filled the DH role today. After the game, manager Bob Geren said Crisp won’t be starting in the outfield “for a while” — most likely not until the end of Spring Training in order to give him time to complete rehab of his surgically-repaired shoulder.

Geren noted that both Brett Anderson and Dallas Braden threw well. Braden, especially, was sharp with his control. “Considering he’s had the most time off,” Geren said, “he threw exceptional.”

Michael Taylor tallied two hits — both which were hit extremely hard — and an RBI while getting time in left field. Other top prospect Chris Carter played an inning at first and even held Taylor there at one point during the game. Makes you wonder when the two of them will play on the same field in Oakland.

Geren wasn’t too impressed — but mostly indifferent — with some of the younger pitchers, including Pedro Figueroa, John Meloan, Fautino De Los Santos and Fernando Hernandez. But, “it was their first time out there, so the command wasn’t where it needs to be.” However, the A’s skipper did note that he liked what he saw from Tyson Ross, who threw a “real good” slider, cutter and fastball.

Kevin Kouzmanoff didn’t see any action because of a bruised right shin, but he told me this afternoon that he should be good to go tomorrow. The bruise came from what Kouz described as a “really hard-hit line drive” off the bat of Adam Rosales. He couldn’t run today, but he did manage to hit … and get some dishes done in the A’s kitchen. “This is what they make you do when you’re not playing,” he joked.

Play ball! (Intrasquad style)

In just about two hours, the A’s first intrasquad game of the spring will be underway. Here are your starting lineups for the four-inning game:

TEAM 1 (Anderson SP):
Davis LF
Pennington SS
Chavez 1B
Fox 3B
Cust DH
Gross CF
Buck RF
Powell C
Cardenas 2B

Bullpen: Figueroa, Meloan, De Los Santos

TEAM 2 (Braden SP):
Crisp DH
Barton 1B
Sweeney RF
Taylor LF
McPherson 3B
Patterson CF
Rosales SS
Donaldson C
Weeks 2B

Bullpen: Ziegler, Ross, Hernandez

Should be interesting to see how Chavez reacts to first base in game conditions. In the outfield, manager Bob Geren said Gross is getting time in center because he wants Davis to play in left as much as possible and give Crisp DH duties while he continues to get his surgically repaired shoulder back to speed.

Geren noted most of the team’s position players will see action, so don’t be alarmed that the likes of Mark Ellis, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Chris Carter aren’t listed. They’ll all get in there — and if not today, then in tomorrow’s quick two-inning intrasquad game.

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