A's Beat Giants in Split Squad Game

By  | 

The pieces of Oakland's offense are coming together, even as the pitching staff remains sketchy.

Orlando Cabrera made his Athletics debut and Jason Giambi hit
his first homer of the spring in an 8-3 victory over a San
Francisco Giants split squad Saturday, but the club also had to
shut down All-Star pitcher Justin Duchscherer because of a sore

After feeling some pain while playing long toss on Saturday
morning, Duchscherer had a cortisone shot that will stall his
recovery. He conceded the setback eliminates him from being in the
rotation when the season begins. He won't throw again until
Tuesday, at the earliest.

"If I don't feel better soon, I'd probably start the season on
the DL," Duchscherer said. "I've got a lot of pitches to throw to
get ready to start a regular-season game."

Now relying on a corps of young pitchers, the A's are hoping to
score more runs to support them.

"Hopefully, we'll put up some runs to take the pressure off
those kids," Giambi said.

Giambi belted a two-run homer against minor leaguer Joe Martinez
in the first inning. Giambi started the spring 1-for-17, but has
four hits in six at-bats, with two walks, in his past three games.

"The last few games I'm hitting the ball good, really starting
to get locked in, just in time because we only have 21 games to
go," he said. "I'm right where I want to be this time in the

Cabrera had a single in three at-bats as the designated hitter,
his first game with his new team. He is scheduled to make his debut
at shortstop on Sunday, when Nomar Garciaparra will make his A's
debut at third base. Garciaparra and Cabrera did not sign until
March 6.

Left-hander Dallas Braden gave up one run in four innings to
earn his first victory of the spring. Braden has allowed two earned
runs in nine innings this spring.

"He's been impressive," manager Bob Geren said. "He's had
some solid outings."

Martinez pitched four innings and gave up three unearned runs.
All of them scored in the first after catcher Steve Holm couldn't
block a third strike, allowing Matt Holliday to reach first.


Oakland 3B Eric Chavez did some throwing for the first time
since he was shut down because of a sore shoulder on Monday.

1B Daric Barton, who had been out with a sore hip, played for the
first time in more than a week. He played two innings in the field
and grounded out in his only at-bat.

Geren said RHP Joey Devine is expected to return to game action within a week to 10 days, and have at least four appearances before opening day. Devine, one of the A's closers, has been out with a sore elbow.

INF Bobby Crosby said he expects to be ready to play second base in a game within the next week. Crosby has been working at other positions since Cabrera displaced him at shortstop.

Giants OF Eugenio Velez was scratched from the lineup because of a "tweaked ankle," according to Triple-A Fresno manager Dan Rohn, who managed the Giants' split squad. Rohn said Velez worked out earlier in the day at the Giants' complex.

RHP Billy Sadler had to leave the game after two-thirds of an inning when he cut the fingernail on his right middle finger.

Hall of Fame inductee Rickey Henderson threw out the ceremonial first pitch, with Giambi as his catcher. Giambi is the only current A's player who was teammates with Henderson.