NEW YORK -- Oakland's series finale lineup boasted a large dose of righties against southpaw CC Sabathia on Thursday, as the A's attempted to salvage a win out of the four-game road set.
Daric Barton, who manager Bob Geren said has been "pounding it out every day" in the heat of Texas and New York, received his first off day since Aug. 9, when he rested to nurse shoulder spasms. Jeff Larish, batting 7-for-25 on the club's road swing, was given a start at first base in Barton's stead and represented the only left-handed hitter for the afternoon affair.
Thus, Rajai Davis was lifted from the bottom half of the lineup and inserted into the No. 2 spot -- where he's hit .375 in three starts this season -- behind Coco Crisp.
Kurt Suzuki, a career .360 hitter against the Yankees, served as the club's designated hitter while Landon Powell received his 25th start behind the plate and eighth alongside batterymate Dallas Braden. The duo is 4-3 with a 2.33 ERA in four complete games, two of them shutouts. Braden, meanwhile, happens to be 5-6 with a 3.80 ERA in his other 16 starts.
But Geren insisted Thursday's pairing was nothing more than a result of giving Suzuki's legs some rest for a day game following a night game while also including another right-hander in the lineup.
"CC's obviously tough against both sides," Geren said, "but there's a slight advantage to being right-handed."
Braden makes early exit with leg cramps
NEW YORK -- A's lefty Dallas Braden exited Thursday's 5-0 loss to the Yankees in the sixth inning with what was deemed cramping from the heat.
Braden led off the frame by hitting Derek Jeter with a pitch. After throwing a pitch to Curtis Granderson, Braden was seen leaning over in pain before receiving a visit from manager Bob Geren and team trainer Steve Sayles.
"My leg started to spasm," Braden said. "Before the sixth, it cramped up and I had to stretch it out. When I landed on that pitch to Granderson, I went to flex my [right] leg and it just grabbed."
The A's pitcher insisted he drank two pitchers of water on Wednesday night and had never experienced anything of the sort. He was given an IV shot following his exit and said he was feeling better.
"That's why it was so scary to me, because I've never cramped up like that before," Braden said. "I thought my leg was falling off. Physically, it felt like there was a knot in the back of my leg. It feels like I pulled my hamstring 20 times in a row."
The A's southpaw was immediately taken out of the game and replaced by lefty Jerry Blevins, who proceeded to surrender New York's second homer of the day to Curtis Granderson. The first came in the second off Braden, who offered up a solo shot to Jorge Posada.
Before his departure, Braden engaged in quite the pitchers' duel with CC Sabathia, as both combined to give up just three hits through the first five innings in the four-game series finale. Braden left having allowed one run and two hits with two walks and four strikeouts while throwing 79 pitches.
Jackson has sports hernia surgery
NEW YORK -- Manager Bob Geren confirmed Thursday morning that outfielder Conor Jackson underwent successful sports hernia surgery on Wednesday.
His procedure was performed in Philadelphia by Dr. William Meyers, a sports hernia specialist who has previously operated on several professional athletes, including the NFL's Donovan McNabb. He is expected to face a recovery time of three weeks.
That timeline has Geren "hopeful" Jackson might be able to return before season's end, saying he could "still be available at the end." Given his history, though, the A's likely won't rush him.
The outfielder has played in just 60 games this year -- 18 of them with the A's, who acquired him via trade from the D-backs in June. He missed a handful of time with both teams due to a strained right hamstring, which most recently had him on the disabled list until Aug. 16 -- four days before he was placed back on it again.
In the meantime, the A's are expected to continually rotate a handful of players in the outfield with Coco Crisp and Rajai Davis representing everyday mainstays. Among those likely to be playing musical chairs are Jack Cust, Gabe Gross, Matt Carson and Jeff Larish.
The A's have been between seven and 10 games behind Texas in the American League West since June 25. ... Daric Barton is the first player in Oakland history with five consecutive multi-walk games. He has a Major League-leading 90 walks this season. ... Rajai Davis stole his 40th base of the season on Wednesday night, making him the fourth player alongside Rickey Henderson, Bert Campaneris and Billy North to compile two or more 40-steal seasons for the A's. ... The A's entered Thursday's contest having homered in a season-high six consecutive games. They hit 11 long balls in the first nine games of the road trip after tallying just seven over the previous 26 games.