Bay Area Baseball

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August 30, 2013
A's, Rays lineups: Suzuki returns to Oakland

OAKLAND -- Kurt Suzuki starts tonight in his first game at the Coliseum since being re-acquired by the A's earlier this week. So what kind of reception is he expecting?

"Bunch of boos," Suzuki said with a smile. "I don't know. I think it's definitely going to be fun. Definitely glad to be back in the Bay and looking forward to finishing the season strong."

Suzuki, who was drafted by the A's in 2004 and played in Oakland from 2007-12 before being traded to the Washington Nationals last season, is 4-for-12 in three games since the A's reacquired him to address their shorthanded situation at catcher. One of their injured catchers, Derek Norris, is expected to start a rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento on Saturday.

Suzuki was joking around with clubhouse attendants before the A's headed out for batting practice and said it's "definitely good to see everybody again." He doesn't have his old locker -- he's now in a back corner near Seth Smith -- but said he didn't feel the need to make any special requests.

The 29-year-old said the vibe in the A's clubhouse is "pretty much the same" as when he left. Also similar is the pitching staff, which has helped ease Suzuki's transition back into the organization and the staff's work with their newest catcher. Tonight's starter Jarrod Parker, for example, has made 14 career starts with Suzuki behind the plate.

"You refresh a little bit," Suzuki said of getting reacquainted with the staff. "Maybe a day. But you don't lose it that fast.

"Guys like Sonny (Gray) I only caught a couple times, not in big-league situations, more in spring training. But just being able to catch him before, knowing what he throws and what kind of arm he has, I think that makes it that much easier."

Suzuki draws the start tonight against Rays left-hander David Price. Here's the full lineup for the A's:

DH Crisp
3B Donaldson
SS Lowrie
LF Cespedes
1B Freiman
2B Callaspo
CF Young
RF Moss
C Suzuki

And the Rays lineup against Parker:

RF DeJesus
2B Zobrist
3B Longoria
LF Joyce
1B Loney
CF Jennings
DH Johnson
C Molina
SS Escobar

* Moss is the lone left-handed hitter in the A's lineup against Price, whom Moss has never faced. Price has been extremely tough on lefties this season, holding them to a .195 average and .529 OPS, but Melvin can't very well take Moss out of the lineup right now. Moss has four homers in his last three games and "seemed to be right in the middle of everything we did in Detroit," where the A's scored 34 runs in four games.

* Melvin said Norris' rehab assignment with the River Cats will probably last three games, as Sacramento's season ends on Monday in Tacoma.

* Catcher John Jaso (concussion), meanwhile, has been ramping up baseball activities and was expected to do cage hitting work today.

* Right fielder Josh Reddick, who's still wearing a brace on his sprained right wrist, had a cortisone injection two days ago. "It certainly did the trick for Coco (Crisp)," Melvin said. "So we're hoping that maybe it does the trick for him."

* Melvin was asked if the A's have any concrete plans for when rosters expand on Sept. 1 and didn't offer specifics, saying only: "There'll probably be some staggered stuff ... You always look to get some reinforcements, whether it's to give yourself a little length with pitching or add a certain dynamic you feel you need to enhance."

* Parker will be trying to continue a remarkable streak -- he hasn't lost a decision since May 22, a span of 16 starts. It's the second-longest unbeaten streak in Oakland history, and Parker can tie Catfish Hunter's record of 17 -- which Hunter did between June 2 and Sept. 3, 1973 -- tonight.

-- Matt Kawahara

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About Bay Area Baseball

Matt KawaharaMatt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee’s sports staff in fall 2011.
Email: mkawahara@sacbee.com.
Phone: (916) 321-1015.
On Twitter: @matthewkawahara.

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