OAKLAND -- It’ll be right-hander Josh Lindblom starting the second game of today’s doubleheader for the A’s against the Cleveland Indians. Lindblom, who made his only five career big-league starts for the Texas Rangers last season, was 0-2 with a 4.02 ERA this spring with the A’s but saved his best outing for his last, throwing 4 2/3 innings against the Mariners on March 23 and allowing two runs on two hits with three strikeouts.
Manager Bob Melvin said the decision for the game two starter came down to Lindblom and Arnold Leon, and the A’s went with the more experienced pitcher. Lindblom has 109 career appearances over the past three seasons with the Dodgers, Phillies and Rangers, in which he’s 5-8 with a 3.82 ERA.
Melvin said Lindblom, who joins the A’s from Triple-A Sacramento, is "maybe a true four-pitch pitcher guy, so we’re excited about seeing him perform." He said Lindblom threw roughly 75 pitches in his last spring outing, so the right-hander should be good for 90 pitches today.
It’ll be a long day of baseball here at the Coliseum, but at least the sun is out, making for a really nice morning. Game one, again, starts at 12:35 p.m., with the second game set for a 6:05 p.m. first pitch. Melvin said there’s a pretty good chance he’ll use every position player at some point today. Here’s the A’s lineup for the first game, in which left-hander Scott Kazmir is making his A’s debut:
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And the lineup Kazmir will face from the Indians, who start right-hander Corey Kluber:
* Donaldson will DH the first game and play third base in the second, Melvin said. That allows Callaspo a start at third base and keeps Donaldson from playing 18 innings in the field.
* Melvin said set-up man Ryan Cook is "pretty close" to being ready to rejoin the A’s. Cook is eligible to come off the disabled list on Saturday. "Whether (he needs) another outing I’m not 100 percent sure yet, but I know he feels he’s healthy enough to go," Melvin said.
* Melvin also had some encouraging words about right-hander Fernando Rodriguez, who had a good spring coming back from Tommy John surgery. Rodriguez is starting the year in Triple-A, but Melvin said he wouldn’t be surprised to see Rodriguez in Oakland this season in a relief role.
"Based on the velocity of what he’s doing, the adjustments he’s made from previous years, and full health now he’s a guy with nice little upside," Melvin said.
* Outfielder Craig Gentry was on hand last night for the birth of his baby daughter. Gentry is also eligible to come off the DL on Saturday. Melvin said he isn’t sure whether the brief absence will push Gentry’s timetable back.
* This was covered briefly yesterday, but with Kazmir starting today, everybody in the A’s rotation is getting pushed back a day. So Jesse Chavez will start tomorrow against the Mariners, Dan Straily on Friday and so on. That’s so the A’s, who don’t have an off-day before the Seattle series, are covered for Sunday’s game without requiring somebody to pitch on short rest.