San Francisco Giants

Oakland A’s playing it safe with Cook

PHOENIX -- A’s manager Bob Melvin said this morning that it’s still a question mark whether reliever Ryan Cook will begin the season on the 25-man roster given Cook’s bothersome shoulder early this spring.

Cook, the A’s main right-handed set-up man last season, played catch from 105 feet Monday morning before the A’s played the Los Angeles Dodgers and is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Thursday.

Melvin said he isn’t sure how many Cactus League appearances Cook would need to make to be ready for the A’s opener March 31 against Cleveland, but he figures "it’s going to be close."

"It’ll be close as far as Opening Day, but we’ll see," Melvin said. "We still hold out hope that that could be the case."

Cook, for his part, seems pretty optimistic that it will be. Cook said he threw from 120 feet on Sunday with no pain and that his shoulder feels "really good, feels strong."

"I don’t know what else I can say really at this point other than I definitely plan to be ready by Opening Day," he said. "I don’t think that’s outside the realm of possibility at all. In fact I’m pretty condiment that I will be ready Opening Day."

The A’s have been taking it slow with Cook’s throwing program and Melvin said the depth of the bullpen is one reason. Newly acquired Luke Gregerson provides another right-handed option for late innings, while Melvin said Dan Otero could be used in those situations as well.

* The A’s get an early look today at Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. Here’s the lineup that Kershaw will face (at least the top):


CF Burns

2B Punto

SS Lowrie

DH Donaldson

RF Reddick

3B Callaspo

1B Barton

C Norris

LF Fuld

P Griffin

And the Dodgers’ lineup against A.J. Griffin:


3B Figgins

CF Ethier

SS Ramirez

1B Gonzalez

LF Van Slyke

C Ellis

RF Buss

DH Olivo

2B Gordon

P Kershaw

* The pitching list for the A’s today is as follows: Griffin, Lindblom, Johnson, Doolittle, McBryde, Abad, Werner

* On a light note -- it is spring training after all -- Melvin was asked this morning about the fact that he (a former Cal player) has no Cal alums but three Stanford products (Jed Lowrie, Sam Fuld and Michael Taylor) in camp.

"Yeah, unfortunately," Melvin said with a smile. "We don’t hold that against them."

Fuld is a non-roster invitee to camp with major-league experience and Melvin had some positive words about him, saying: "You see the way Fuld goes about his business at all three of those (outfield) spots, you don’t have to tell him anything. He’s always aware of what’s going on."

Melvin said the rivalry makes for some banter in the clubhouse, but the players know their limits. "They do like to play from time to time," he said.