March 2011

Split-squad action: Pregame notes

We’re still awaiting word on Andrew Bailey, who is in Birmingham today for a visit with Dr. James Andrews. Until the results are in, there’s not much to report on the situation, and Bob Geren made it rather clear he’d prefer not to discuss the state of the bullpen until there are more answers. However, it’s worth speculating who could be in there come April should Bailey be out of the mix, especially since there are few guarantees around him – Michael Wuertz is making his first spring start today, Craig Breslow has yet to appear in a game and Joey Devine has been battling tightness in his biceps. That means a few under-the-radar guys like Cuban defector Yadel Marti and journeyman Fernando Cabrera may be getting closer looks now.

Breslow will throw in a Minor League game tomorrow, as will Tyson Ross. That means Gio Gonzalez and Josh Outman will throw Thursday. Also on that day, Rich Harden is slated to throw off the mound for the first time in more than a month. He visited the doctor yesterday and was told he’d be good to get going after a couple of days off. He’s obviously out of the rotation mix, but Geren said “we don’t rule anything out” when asked if Harden, if ready for the season, could still be a bullpen option. I think the team is first concerned about just getting him on the mound again.

Geren is in Surprise today to watch some split-squad action against the Royals. I’m here in Phoenix, where the Cubs should be arriving shortly. Here are both lineups:

HOME: Crisp CF, Barton 1B, Willingham LF, Matsui DH, Suzuki C, Sweeney RF, Kouzmanoff 3B, Timmons 2B, Sogard SS, Anderson P

ROAD: Pennington SS, Ellis 2B, DeJesus RF, Jackson 1B, Carter LF, LaRoche 3B, Powell DH, Donaldson C, Choice CF, McCarthy P
 

Update on Bailey

It’s really hard to speculate on the extent of Andrew Bailey’s injury right now. The A’s announced he left the game with elbow discomfort, but Geren said after the game he “felt tightness in the forearm area.” He’ll be checked out as soon as possible, though Geren wasn’t certain if he’d be examined by a doctor today or tomorrow. The A’s skipper said Bailey had been experiencing normal soreness that creeps up during Spring Training, but that they believed he was ready to go today. Geren also noted that his velocity was good – said he even hit 94. But, “anytime you see someone leave the game with tightness, it’s concerning.” Hopefully more answers will come shortly.

Bailey exits game with right elbow soreness

A’s closer Andrew Bailey, making just his second Cactus League
appearance, exited Monday’s contest with one out in the seventh inning after grabbing his
elbow in pain

following a
pitch to Cleveland’s Ezequiel Carrera.

Bailey was
immediately tended to by the team’s head trainer and was not available to speak
to media. Rather, the A’s simply said he left with elbow soreness and that more
information would come following the game.

The
26-year-old reliever was shut down two weeks before the end of the 2010
campaign to undergo cleanup surgery on his previously repaired right elbow. Bailey
underwent Tommy John surgery while in college.

The 2009 American League Rookie of the Year and two-time
All-Star was brought along slowly this spring and made his debut on Thursday,
when he struck out two Royals opponents and retired the side in order.

Bailey’s
late-season elbow injury last year marked his second time being sidelined in
2010, as he missed nearly a month while stationed on the disabled list with a
right intercostal strain beginning in late July. Both setbacks meant he was not
afforded the chance to match or surpass his save total of 26 garnered in his
rookie season. Yet, he still managed to compile a 1.47 ERA, 25 saves and a 0.96
WHIP in 47 appearances.

In the event
Bailey is not ready by Opening Day, the A’s are likely to turn to lefty Brian
Fuentes, an offseason pickup with several years’ worth of closer experience
under his belt.

A’s @ Indians: Pregame notes

A morning at A’s camp wouldn’t be complete without some injury updates before I hit the road for Goodyear:

  • Rich Harden was tentatively scheduled to throw off the mound tomorrow, but he won’t do that after yesterday’s long toss session didn’t go well. Harden is seeing a doctor this morning — he’s dealing with the same lat muscle issue — and there’s no telling when he’ll be on the bump again. Geren said the soreness isn’t as bad as when it first surfaced a month ago, but we should know more by day’s end.
  • Michael Wuertz, scheduled to throw in his first Cactus League game tomorrow, still has the green light. He’ll likely see an inning of work at home for some split-squad action against his former Cubs team.
  • Craig Breslow is throwing a bullpen today and, if all goes well, he’ll pitch in some kind of game setting on Wednesday. The A’s have the day off, but he could be thrown into a simulated game, where there would be a controlled environment. Barring any setback, he’ll pitch somewhere, because Gio Gonzalez is also scheduled to take his turn that day.
  • Beginning tomorrow, Cliff Pennington will officially be cleared to bat right-handed in games. That leaves him plenty of time to ease back into action from that side before the season starts. And it means that, as long as things continue to go well for him, he’ll be in the clear with no limitations come Opening Day.
  • Adam Rosales is still antsy but trying to remain patient with his rehab. He’s been playing catch and doing a lot of upper body work to remain strong. He told me this morning he hasn’t felt this strong since college. He’ll visit the doctor again in a couple of days to see if he can expand his baseball activity.

Some lineups for your Monday morning:

OAKLAND: Crisp CF, Kouzmanoff 3B, Willingham LF, Matsui DH, Carter 1B, Powell C, Carson RF, Weeks 2B, Sogard SS, Braden P

Also scheduled to pitch: Andrew Bailey, Jerry Blevins, Brad Ziegler, Trystan Magnuson

CLEVELAND: O. Cabrera 2B, A. Cabrera SS, Choo RF, Kearns LF, Hafner DH, Buck CF, Duncan 1B, Hannahan 3B, Marson C, Masterson P

Cardenas among first round of cuts

The A’s made their first round of cuts today, sending 10 players to the Minors. Here’s who is heading out of camp: Pedro Figueroa, Fautino De Los Santos, Adrian Cardenas, Sean Doolittle, Joe Bateman, Vinnie Chulk, Gabe DeHoyos, Willie Eyre, Max Stassi, Josh Horton

A’s vs. Rockies: Pregame notes

COLORADO: Young 2B, Taveras CF, Gonzalez LF, Giambi DH, Spilborghs RF, Jacobs 1B, Iannetta C, Iribarren SS, Herrera 3B, Nicasio P

OAKLAND: Crisp CF, Barton 1B, DeJesus RF, Willingham LF, Matsui DH, Suzuki C, Ellis 2B, Kouzmanoff 3B, Pennington SS, Cahill P

“We better not lose today.” -Cliff Pennington

Winning doesn’t mean much, if anything, during Spring Training, but this is the first time the A’s have thrown out an Opening Day-look lineup. So if you’re going to put any stock into spring performances, now is the time to start looking how these guys stack up one through nine together. Granted, they won’t play a full nine innings, but those first four or five should be fun.

As you can tell, Barton is back in the lineup after missing some time with a right calf contusion. Backups for Pennington and Ellis are at a premium today, as Steve Tolleson and Andy LaRoche are both feeling under the weather. Eric Sogard is also still unavailable because of a sore left thumb and is expected to miss a few more days.

Fautino De Los Santos and Pedro Figueroa are among the first group of cuts. Geren hinted more will come after the game.

Injury role call: Michael Wuertz (shoulder) is scheduled to make his Cactus League debut Tuesday. … Rich Harden (lat muscle) is throwing long toss today and is slated to pitch off a mound on Tuesday. … Craig Breslow (hamstring) said he’s not too sure when he’ll see game action, but he’s not too worried because he’s still able to get through his bullpen sessions just fine. There’s plenty time left for him to be season-ready. … Joey Devine (tight biceps) will take the day off and then likely throw live BP before getting back into a game.

A’s @ Rangers: Pregame notes

A few quick updates before I hit the road for a lengthy drive to Surprise, where the A’s meet the Rangers for the second time this spring:

  • Daric Barton (calf contusion) was held out of the lineup again today but he should be ready to go tomorrow.
  • Craig Breslow has officially been deemed day-to-day with a left hamstring strain. He definitely won’t pitch in tomorrow’s game, as the team had initially hoped, but the good news is that he’s been able to keep up with his throwing program. It’s simply best he stays out of game action in case he has to field a ball or cover first — moves that would aggravate the hamstring.
  • Michael Wuertz (shoulder) is throwing live batting practice (20 pitches) this morning. If all goes well, he could potentially make his Cactus League debut as early as Saturday. Geren calls that “best case scenario.”
  • Rich Harden (lat muscle) is off today, and he’ll resume his throwing program tomorrow. Like I mentioned yesterday, Harden could potentially throw off the mound beginning Saturday (at the earliest) but, considering the days in camp are quickly dwindling, it’s unlikely he’ll be ready by April 1.
  • Andrew Bailey is still scheduled to take to the mound for the first time this spring tomorrow against the Royals.
  • Conor Jackson is tied with Wes Timmons for the fourth-most at-bats this spring with 20, but he’s only collected just one hit. When I asked Geren about Jackson this morning, he said he actually considers Jackson to have compiled the most consistent ABs – he just has nothing to show for them. Geren likes his short, aggressive swing, as well as the versatility he offers the lineup, especially with Barton out at first right now.

Ryan Sweeney makes his spring debut today. He’s playing right field and batting in the sixth spot. Here are the lineups:

OAKLAND: Ellis 2B, DeJesus CF, Jackson 1B, Matsui DH, Kouzmanoff 3B, Sweeney RF, Carter LF, Powell C, Tolleson SS, Braden P

Also scheduled to pitch: Blevins, DeHoyos, Farquhar, Magnuson, McCarthy

TEXAS: Kinsler 2B, Andrus SS, Hamilton CF, Cruz RF, Young 1B, Napoli DH, Murphy LF, Torrealba C, Davis 3B, Holland P

Padres vs. A’s: Pregame notes

We’re on the cusp of seeing a handful of players make their spring debuts. Ryan Sweeney is slated to start in the outfield tomorrow against the Rangers and, depending on how his knees respond to game action, he’ll likely continue to play once every three days. On Thursday, barring any setback between now and then, Andrew Bailey is scheduled to appear in his first game. Craig Breslow is also a possibility for that game, but he’s been listed as day-to-day with a mild hamstring strain. Considering how careful the team is being with injuries, I wouldn’t be surprised if Breslow is held out of action at least a couple days.

In other injury news, Rich Harden threw pain-free from a distance of 120 feet this morning. He’ll take tomorrow off and resume his throwing schedule Thursday. If all continues to go well, he could potentially return to the mound as early as Sunday and undergo a couple of bullpen sessions before facing hitters.

Cliff Pennington is making his second spring start today. The Padres have a righty on the mound, so Pennington will be able to bat from the left side. He took some right-handed swings in a simulated game against Breslow yesterday and said all went well, but he’s not fully letting go yet and Geren said he’d prefer him to bat left-handed in game action for the time being.

Here are your lineups:

OAKLAND: Crisp CF, Pennington SS, Ellis 2B, Willingham LF, Suzuki C, Jackson DH, LaRoche 1B, Taylor RF, Timmons 3B, Cahill P

Also scheduled to pitch: Joe Bateman, Fernando Cabrera, Willie Eyre, Danny Farquhar, Brad Ziegler

SAN DIEGO: Venable DH, Frandsen 2B, Cantu 3B, Guzman 1B, Denorfia RF, Maybin CF, Baxter LF, Johnson C, Cabrera SS, Stauffer P

Mariners vs. A’s: Pregame notes

Good morning from Phoenix Muni. Here are a few quick updates:

  • Daric Barton is still limping around after his collision yesterday and won’t play today. It was a scheduled day off for him anyway, and he’s still being considered day-to-day.
  • Rich Harden will begin his second cycle of two days of throwing and one off. Pitching coach Ron Romanick would like to see him go through three cycles before having him throw off the mound again. There’s only 20 days left of camp, so it’s looking more and more likely that he won’t be ready by the start of the season.
  • Andrew Bailey and Craig Breslow will face hitters for a second time and, if all goes well, they’ll both see their first Cactus League action on Thursday. Among the hitters slated to face them is Cliff Pennington, who will test out his right-handed swing. Pennington was strictly instructed to only swing from the left side in his debut Sunday because his surgically-repaired left shoulder is still adjusting to the right-handed motion.
  • Ryan Sweeney is scheduled to make his debut in Wednesday’s road contest against the Rangers in Surprise. He’ll play all over the outfield this spring, Geren said.

And your starting lineups for today’s contest, scheduled to begin at 12:05 p.m. PT:

OAKLAND

DeJesus CF
Jackson 1B
Matsui DH
Kouzmanoff 3B
Carter LF
Carson RF
Powell C
Tolleson 2B
Green SS
Moscoso P

Also scheduled to pitch: Gabe DeHoyos, Fautino De Los Santos, Joey Devine, Willie Eyre, Yadel Marti, Brad Ziegler

SEATTLE

Suzuki RF
Figgins 3B
Gutierrez CF
Carp 1B
Wilson 2B
Ryan SS
Saunders LF
Gimenez C
Mangini DH
Hernandez P

Split-squad action: Pregame notes

Gio Gonzalez is taking the hill here at Phoenix Muni today, while Josh Outman will start the team’s split-squad game in Peoria against the Padres. Here’s who will be joining each of them:

HOME

Crisp CF
Ellis 2B
Matsui DH
Jackson 1B
Carter LF
Donaldson C
Timmons 3B
Taylor RF
Sogard SS
Gonzalez P

Also scheduled to pitch: Grant Balfour, Jerry Blevins, Willie Eyre, Brian Fuentes, Tyson Ross

AWAY

Pennington SS
Barton 1B
DeJesus DH
Willingham LF
Kouzmanoff 3B
Suzuki C
Miller CF
Carson RF
Tolleson SS
Outman P

Also scheduled to pitch: Joe Bateman, Bobby Cramer, Danny Farquhar, Trystan Magnuson, Yadel Marti

Pennington’s on the road because the Padres have a righty (Mat Latos) going, and Geren would rather have Pennington swing from the left side since he’s not quite swinging with equal intensity from the right side yet because of his shoulder. He’ll get at least two at-bats today — maybe three — and will likely continue to play every other day, depending on how he feels. 

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