OAKLAND -- A's closer Andrew Bailey threw 25 fastballs in his first live batting practice session against a trio of teammates on Wednesday afternoon, with several eyes acting as the radar gun.
"He looked real good in my opinion," manager Bob Geren said. "He said he felt good, and I thought his velocity was way up there. We didn't want to put a gun on a guy throwing for the first time, but it looked full speed to me, it really did.
"By the look and by the swings, it was very, very encouraging."
Bailey's next step will be another round of batting practice, possibly with the incorporation of breaking balls. Bailey has only been getting a feel for his breaking pitches from flat ground, and he'll have to take them to the mound before he can begin a Minor League rehab assignment.
The A's right-hander could potentially return by June. In the meantime, Geren will continue to rely on lefty Brian Fuentes for closer duties.
Fuentes has appeared in each of the past three games and five of the last six, making him unavailable for Wednesday's contest against the Indians following his loss Tuesday, when he gave up three ninth-inning runs while recording just one out.
Still, the veteran hurler has seven saves this season, which ranks fourth in the American League, and 190 since 2005, which are the most by a left-handed reliever in the Majors over that span.
Overall, the A's bullpen entered Wednesday's game with a 1.96 ERA over its past 15 games, including eight in which it has not allowed a run. The 'pen is also tied for second in the AL and sixth in the Majors with a 2.88 ERA this season.
Willingham reaching out to tornado victims
OAKLAND -- In an effort to assist those in his hometown, A's outfielder Josh Willingham is raising funds to help victims of last week's devastating tornadoes in the South.
Willingham, a native of Florence, Ala., is collecting donations through the revamped Josh Willingham Foundation Website, with 100 percent of the funds being given to those affected by the natural disaster, as well as to the long-term recovery and rebuilding efforts.
"The area I am from was devastated by these tornadoes, and a lot of people need help," said Willingham, whose family was fortunately safe from harm. "My heart goes out to all those who have been dealing with this devastation, and I hope we can work together to raise funds in order to ease the discomforts of the victims who were in the paths of this disaster."
A's fans and baseball fans alike can visit www.thejoshwillinghamfoundation.org to make a tax-deductible donation to the relief efforts. Willingham originally intended the site to be utilized to help underprivileged children, but decided to focus his attention on those in need in his home state in light of the disaster.
In doing their part, the A's -- through the A's Community Fund -- have already made a $10,000 donation to Willingham's foundation.
DeJesus confident slow start will soon be in past
OAKLAND -- One look down the A's lineup reveals a handful of stragglers who enter Wednesday's game against the Indians with a combined .240 average.
Among that group of slow starters is David DeJesus, who has hit safely in nine of his past 12 games but gone just 9-for-45 (.200) over that span. Overall, the A's outfielder has a .227 average.
"Things could be better, but I feel the work I'm putting in is progressing," DeJesus said Wednesday afternoon. "I'm squaring the ball up a little better now, and I just gotta keep staying positive."
A's manager Bob Geren has also taken notice of signs that DeJesus is on his way back to his normal self, a .288 career hitter.
"I think he's letting the ball get a little deeper," Geren said. "He's hit some balls pretty good the other way, and when he clicked a ball the other way to left-center the other day, he said, 'That's what it feels like.' He knows where he needs to be, and I think he's right there. He feels real good where he's at.'"
DeJesus, 31, hit .318 with five home runs and 37 RBIs in 91 games for the Royals last season before missing the final two months after undergoing right thumb surgery, the after-effects from which could be a factor in his slow progression, Geren noted.
"I know we talked about [Hideki] Matsui in the spring being real close, and I think that's the point David's at right now," he said. "Players know, because swings don't change much. It depends on how you're seeing the ball and the timing. They know when they're on, when they're hot, when they're close, when they're struggling."
DeJesus is no stranger to that notion.
"I'm getting closer," he said. "I'm not there, and it's been tough to start, but it's a long season and we're right at the beginning of May, so I just have to focus on getting better each day.
"You know when you're seeing the ball better, and you feel that your timing is getting better and you're actually squaring the ball up, hitting the ball hard. I think those are the little, key factors. You just have to worry about hitting the ball hard, that's all you can control."
Braden to seek second opinion on shoulder
OAKLAND -- After making his second visit to noted orthopedic surgeon Lewis Yocum in Los Angeles on Wednesday and receiving no clear-cut answer on his stiff left shoulder, A's lefty Dallas Braden will now get a second opinion.
A's manager Bob Geren, who delivered the news following Oakland's 3-1 victory over the Indians, had no further information at the time.
Braden first visited Yocum on April 20, when he was told to rest and rehab to calm the inflammation in the shoulder. But when the left-hander took to the field on Monday to play catch for the first time, he experienced discomfort again, leading to Wednesday's appointment.
Braden hasn't pitched since April 16, when he left his third start after five frames because of the stiffness. He was placed on the disabled list two days later.
Regulars Daric Barton and Kurt Suzuki received the day off Wednesday. Conor Jackson got a start at first base in Barton's stead. Jackson entered the contest 9-for-30 with three doubles, a home run and seven RBIs over his past six games.
"He's been doing a nice job," manager Bob Geren said of Jackson. "We'll keep mixing him in there."
Landon Powell started behind the plate, where Suzuki is expected to return for Thursday's series finale against the Indians.
Andy LaRoche was handed his fifth straight start on Wednesday, and his fourth at third base during that time, which again raised questions about Kevin Kouzmanoff's status at the hot corner. Geren simply said LaRoche "is playing well right now," and noted he's seen offensive and defensive improvement from Kouzmanoff on the side.
Adam Rosales, still on the mend from his December right foot procedure, is now taking live batting practice as he strives to begin undergoing full baseball activity. Rosales is hoping to return to the team sometime in June.