OAKLAND -- A's left-hander Brett Anderson faced hitters for the first time since April this afternoon, throwing live batting practice before the A's opened their series against the Texas Rangers. Anderson threw 30 pitches off the mound in two "innings" and threw all his pitches, with his breaking pitches looking especially sharp for a guy who hasn't pitched in a game since April 29, manager Bob Melvin said.
"Looked like everything went smoothly to me," Melvin said. "No complaints from him as far as physically. The next step, I'll probably have more on that tomorrow based on how he comes in and how he feels."
Anderson, recovering from a stress fracture in his right foot, has been able to keep his arm strong by throwing off a knee and playing catch. Melvin said that with Anderson's work in that area, "it certainly looks stuff-wise like he's close to midseason form. It's just taking the proper steps to make sure we don't get that foot back in a position where stressing him could make it worse."
There's still no timetable for when Anderson might be able to rejoin the A's. Melvin said the next step for him would likely be another live BP session, possibly with a bullpen session in between, but Melvin said there hasn't been discussion yet about a possible rehab assignment.
It's also not totally clear what Anderson's role would be upon his return. Anderson has reportedly said he's open to pitching in the bullpen if he's needed there. Melvin said that would allow the A's to get Anderson back quicker -- they wouldn't have to stretch him out to a starter's pitch count in the minors first -- but it's likely the A's would eventually want their opening day starter to be in the rotation.
"I think that's based on performance for me and what the need is at the time," Melvin said. "That's yet to be determined -- and I'm glad that we have the option to potentially do both with him, because usually guys that have been starters, they want to continue in those types of roles. He just wants to get back and help the team any way he can."
In any case, Anderson remains a spectator as the A's welcome the Rangers to town with a 3 ½ game lead over them in the A.L. West. Numerically anyway, it's an interesting series that way -- the A's could sweep and take a 6 ½ game lead into the rest of August; they could be swept and suddenly be nursing a half-game lead with the Rangers getting hot as of late. Or anywhere in between. Here's the A's lineup for the opener:
And the Rangers lineup against left-hander Tommy Milone:
* The A's announced today that infielder Adam Rosales, whom they designated for assignment this week to clear a roster spot for Alberto Callaspo, was claimed off waivers by the Rangers. So Rosales arrived at the Coliseum today -- and headed for the visitors' clubhouse instead.
"It's more surreal than awkward," Rosales said before the game, standing near the first-base dugout in his new uniform. "I feel like I should be at a different stadium when this happens. But I'm glad it happened here so I can kind of embrace it, just say bye to the guys, just kind of let it sink in."
Rosales, a popular player and teammate in Oakland, said he still rode to the park today with A's reliever Dan Otero, who's staying near Rosales in San Ramon. He said the Rangers intend to use him much as the A's did -- a utility player who can give the regulars days off around the infield or enter late in games. As weird as the transition is for Rosales, Melvin said it's "weird for us" as well.
"We have to change our signs now," Melvin said.
He wasn't joking. Rangers manager Ron Washington made it clear he wouldn't hesitate to ask Rosales for whatever information he can get on the A's, meaning Melvin, third base coach Mike Gallego and the players probably had to take a crash course in some new hand signals ahead of tonight's game.
For Rosales, the move is "a tough transition," but he said, "as a baseball player, as a competitor, that's what I'm going to do. I'm 100 percent a Ranger." He added that leaving the A's is "bittersweet."
* Melvin said catcher John Jaso (concussion) still has yet to resume baseball activity and is scheduled to undergo further testing Saturday.
"We'll probably have a little better idea once he goes through the rigors of the test how close he is," Melvin said. "I know he's getting better each and every day, so that's a good sign."
Jaso landed on the DL on July 25. Melvin said he isn't sure yet whether Jaso will require a rehab assignment before rejoining the A's when he is ready.
* Derek Norris gets the start over Stephen Vogt behind the plate tonight despite the Rangers throwing a right-hander in Alexi Ogando. Melvin said that's partly because Norris has a small amount of past success against Ogando -- 1-for-3 with a homer -- but mostly because Norris has been swinging the bat well recently and he doesn't want Norris going too many days in between starts.
-- Matt Kawahara