A’s lineup gets a new look for series finale

ANAHEIM — Manager
Bob Geren gave his lineup quite a makeover Sunday morning in a combining effort
to give a handful of his starters some rest while putting out a team he
believes can lock up a winning three-game set against left-handed starter Joe
Saunders and the Angels.  

The A’s
entered the game 1-1 against Los Angeles, who received a walkoff hit from
Hideki Matsui in the bottom of the ninth inning Saturday evening to shatter
Oakland’s four-game winning streak.

As expected,
catcher Kurt Suzuki received his first day of rest after manning the plate six
consecutive days. He was replaced in the lineup by Jake Fox, who had only
appeared in one game as designated hitter before Sunday.

“He needed a
day off in my opinion,” Geren said of Suzuki. “He’s a manager’s favorite type
of player because he wants to play every day. You have to admire that. He’s
caught six straight, including a day after night game. That’s pretty hard on
him, so he needed this.”

Geren placed
Fox in the sixth spot behind Mark Ellis, who was elected to DH for just the
third time in his career — the last coming five years ago — to “give half his
body rest,” the A’s skipper said.

Adam Rosales
got his first starting nod at second base, one of five positions Geren feels
comfortable placing him. He made his A’s debut Friday night, entering the contest
as a defensive replacement for Ellis in the bottom of the ninth inning while
representing the last Oakland player on the Opening Day roster to appear in a
game.

Also getting
a rare start in left field was Eric Patterson, who has tallied three
appearances this season as a pinch runner in late innings, including Tuesday
night when he scored the winning run in the 10th frame against Seattle. Geren
felt the need to rest Buck while at the same time giving Patterson a chance to
knock around Saunders, against whom he’s 4-for-5 in his career.

“He’s our
most successful outfielder against Saunders,” Geren said. “It’s a small sample
size, but he brings a lot to the team and hits for a high average.

“He was
pretty much our most productive player in the Minors last year and achieved
everything he could at that level, so he just needs an opportunity at this
level.”

Patterson
batted .284 with four doubles and two triples in a team-leading 27 games this
spring while appearing 17 times in center field, 10 at second base and four in
left field. His solid versatility left the A’s no choice but to lend him his
first Opening Day roster spot.

“It makes it
a little more difficult when you’re always switching positions like he was
doing,” Geren said, “but he’s aggressive and doesn’t’ lay back. That’s a good
thing.”

Meanwhile,
Gabe Gross will have to wait for his first outfield start while Rajai Davis and
Ryan Sweeney continue to put up consistent numbers at the plate, where they
have combined to rack up 16 of the club’s American League-leading 59 hits.

“Raj is
playing real well and Sweeney has been very consistent, so it’s hard to take
someone out of the lineup who’s swinging the bat well,” Geren said. “[Gross] is
a good worker and has a good attitude. It’s a long season, so his time will
come.”

1 Comment

can we get some insight here? the only things your blogs contain are recaps and line ups. you’re with the team everyday and i would have no sense of that by reading these things. you’re making urban’s old blog look genius. i’ll cut you some slack because you’re new but let’s hear about things other how the A’s are giving a few players routine days off. where’s the inside scoop? how are taylor and carter doing in Sac? does kurt suzuki like hawaiian pizza? does andrew bailey sleep with his ROY award? give us something please…

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