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  • José Luis Villegas / jvillegas@sacbee.com

    A's left-hander Brett Anderson is escorted off the field after being hurt in the first inning. Anderson, the projected Opening Day starter, said he doesn't think the injury is "anything major."

  • José Luis Villegas / jvillegas@sacbee.com

    Bartolo Colon threw three innings in relief Sunday, allowing one run on four hits while striking out four hitters. A's manager Bob Melvin said Colon "threw the ball well."

  • José Luis Villegas / jvillegas@sacbee.com

    Brett Anderson faced just two hitters before being injured covering third base on Sunday.

Neck injury forces A's Anderson to exit early

Published: Monday, Mar. 11, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Wednesday, Mar. 13, 2013 - 6:34 pm

PHOENIX – A's left-hander and projected Opening Day starter Brett Anderson left his spring training start Sunday because of a strained neck muscle after facing just two hitters, but he said he doesn't think the injury is "anything major."

Anderson was hurt covering third base in the A's 7-5 win over the Diamondbacks after an error by third baseman Josh Donaldson. With Arizona's Adam Eaton sliding into the bag, Anderson reached back for a flip from Donaldson and went down awkwardly. He said he felt the muscle tighten as he got up.

The A's announced Anderson has a strained right trapezius muscle. Anderson left the game without attempting any warm-up pitches and said he came out mostly as a precautionary measure.

"You don't want to overcompensate and change your mechanics and hurt your arm or something else more major," Anderson said. "So it's kind of a precautionary thing, come out and not make it any worse."

Anderson had an electro-therapy device on in the clubhouse and said he expects to feel some stiffness for the next day or two.

"We're fairly confident he'll be all right to make his next start," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "That is a scare, though."

Anderson threw just eight pitches in his second start of the spring. One was a changeup to former teammate Cliff Pennington that Anderson said was "one of the better ones I've thrown."

Pennington hit the grounder that Donaldson bobbled. Showing some humor, Anderson said he probably would have been able to tag Eaton out had he caught Donaldson's flip.

"Pure athleticism at its finest," he said.

Big day for Cespedes – Yoenis Cespedes was given permission to leave the A's Saturday night to fly to Miami and see members of his family who left Cuba with him two years ago but just reached the United States.

They had taken up temporary residence in the Dominican Republic after their defection.

Melvin said it was an emotional occasion for Cespedes, who reportedly worried about his family's situation for much of the second half of last season. Melvin said Cespedes had a "big smile on his face – tears, and then smiles."

"I know there were times last year he was grinding on it pretty hard, and for good reason," Melvin said. "I know it's a weight off his shoulders."

Cespedes will likely rejoin the A's today or Tuesday, Melvin said.

Leon absent – Melvin said he expects reliever Arnold Leon to rejoin the team today after pitching for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. Mexico was eliminated in the first round.

Leon threw the pitch that sparked a brawl between Mexico and Canada on Saturday, and he was one of seven players ejected after the incident.

Melvin said he hadn't heard anything about other possible repercussions.

Weeks update – Jemile Weeks, who has missed more than a week because of a shoulder bruise, will join Oakland's minor-league camp today to get some at-bats in a more controlled environment.

"Once we feel like he's healthy enough to play in the field and everything, we'll get him back out here," Melvin said of Weeks, who is competing for the second base job.

Et cetera – Melvin said Bartolo Colon "threw the ball well" in three innings of relief Sunday. Colon allowed four hits and a run and struck out four batters.

• Jed Lowrie hit a two-run homer batting right-handed in the third inning and a double from the left side in the fifth. Lowrie, tied for the team lead in spring RBIs with nine, "seems like he gets a couple good at-bats every day," Melvin said.

• The A's reassigned pitcher Kyler Newby, catchers Ryan Ortiz and Beau Taylor, and infielders Miles Head, Jefry Marte and Addison Russell to minor-league camp. The A's also optioned pitchers Jesse Chavez and Andrew Werner to Triple-A Sacramento, and pitcher Michael Ynoa to Class-A Beloit.

Call The Bee's Matt Kawahara, (916) 321-1015. Read his Bay Area Baseball blog at blogs.sacbee.com/bay-area-baseball/. Follow him on Twitter @matthewkawahara.

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