Notes: Plunked A's doing a bit better
Kennedy 'getting closer' despite rough outing; Ellis rests foot
MESA, Ariz. -- Mike Piazza had trouble getting to sleep. Lou Merloni slept fine, except for his new puppy that woke him up every three hours.Piazza and Merloni were each hit by a pitch in Tuesday's 3-2 extra-inning loss to the Kansas City Royals and a day later were still feeling the effects. Brian Bannister hit Piazza on his left elbow in the third inning, while Matt Wright hit Merloni in the helmet during the 10th inning. "It was an eye-opening experience," said Merloni on his first beanball. "I don't really remember much about yesterday. I knew what happened and I was conscious. Even after, it was scary just knowing how lucky I was." Merloni sustained a concussion of undetermined degree. The left side of his face was swollen, both above the eye and just above his jaw. When he woke up Wednesday, his cheek looked like it had a small rubber ball in it. There's no timetable for Merloni, though he thinks he won't be out too much longer. As a non-roster player, he wants back into the lineup sooner rather than later. "We're just going to take it a step at a time," Merloni said. "We'll make sure all the symptoms have subsided and my head is clear. If I tried running right now, it wouldn't go too well, but I don't except it to be too long." A CAT scan confirmed that everything was normal. "Any time you get hit around the head, it's always scary," A's manager Bob Geren said. "Our trainer was right on it. The good thing [is] he was conscious and talking." Piazza, his left elbow wrapped in ice, was limited to off-field conditioning activities. "It's just stiff," Piazza said. "It's feeling a little better and will hopefully improve. It's spring, so it's better to err on the side of caution." The swelling around his elbow had gone down a little since Tuesday night, though it was sore enough to affect his sleeping habits. "It was uncomfortable, but I've done it before," Piazza said. "It's just a little bit of trouble." Geren said Piazza, who sustained a bruised left triceps, will pace himself. "It's activity as tolerated," he said. "Any time a guy gets hit and it's day-to-day, that's good news." Kennedy's outing: Left-hander Joe Kennedy, the front-runner for the final spot in the starting rotation, gave up five runs in two innings on eight hits in the A's 9-8 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday in Mesa. He allowed four runs in 1 2/3 innings in his first start. "As a starter, you can give up the runs in the first and still have a chance to finish with a solid inning," said Kennedy, who retired the first two Cubs in the second only to give up three straight singles. "I thought I was going to get it, but I feel like I'm getting closer. It's just a matter of time. It's fixable."
Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.