Dana Eveland might wind up as the Oakland Athletics opening night starter even though it's a job he doesn't want.
Justin Duchscherer, who has been slowed this spring by a sore
elbow, might avoid the disabled list to start the season, but his
chances of being ready to take the ball opening night are slim.
That leaves Eveland, with all of 35 career big league starts, as
the most likely to go April 6 against the Angels.
"Obviously all of our pitchers are hoping for Justin's quick
return," Eveland said. "Hopefully he's ready to go opening day.
If he's not, I'm willing to go out and pitch, but I'm definitely
pulling for Justin ... I would never consider myself a No. 1 guy on
this team as long as Duke is around."
The A's will know more about whether Duchscherer can make it
into the rotation soon. Manager Bob Geren said Duchscherer needs to
be able to throw in the bullpen by early next week to be able to
take one of the starting assignments the first time through the
Eveland continued his prep for his first assignment, whenever it
may be, by allowing two runs in 3 1-3 innings of a 4-3 loss to the
Indians on Friday. The big hit he allowed was an RBI double by
Victor Martinez in the first.
"I jammed him pretty good," Eveland said. "It was a good
pitch, a good fastball in."
After that, Eveland retired nine of the next 11 hitters. He
walked Travis Hafner, who he said he was pitching around with two
outs and the bases empty.
"They brought their A lineup out there today, so I was going to
pitch it like a regular game," he said. "I wasn't going out to
work on stuff. I went out and competed like it was a regular game.
I went out with my best stuff."
So far this spring Eveland has allowed three earned runs in 10
2-3 innings for a 2.53 ERA.
"I think I'm a little more confident pitching against big
league hitters," he said. "Last year I was battling for a spot
and pressing. This year I'm more confident and comfortable."
INF Bobby Crosby made his debut at first base, playing one
inning. Crosby hadn't worked out at first until Friday morning. He
started at third before shifting across the infield.
SS Orlando Cabrera will make his A's debut on Saturday, starting at DH against the Giants.
3B Eric Chavez said he will try to throw on Saturday. Chavez has been sidelined since Monday after having a setback with his surgically repaired right shoulder.
1B Daric Barton, who has had a sore hip, said he is hoping to get an at-bat this weekend and then be able to start by the middle of next week.
Barton's injury has come at a particularly bad time, because the
signing of Nomar Garciaparra left him with tough competition for an
opening day roster spot. Barton has missed more than a week.
"Luckily we have a longer spring training," he said. "If I just
can get in 12 or 15 games and get three or four at-bats in each,
that should be 45-50 at-bats and that should be enough."
C Rob Bowen has reportedly been placed on waivers by the A's. C Landon Powell has looked healthy this spring, so the A's could be trying
to make room for the 27-year-old Powell to win a spot as the backup
to Kurt Suzuki.