SAN FRANCISCO -- Manager Bob Melvin wasn't lying when he said the race for the A's fourth spot in the rotation would go down to the wire. Less than three hours before Wednesday's 2 p.m. PT deadline for final roster cuts, Melvin announced Graham Godfrey has earned the No. 4 starter position, meaning Tyson Ross will start the season at Triple-A Sacramento.
Melvin said he felt Godfrey finished his spring with his two best starts, including Monday night's strong effort in San Francisco, when he tossed five scoreless innings and gave up four hits while striking out three. Godfrey, 27, made five appearances (four starts) with Oakland last year, posting a 1-2 record with a 3.96 ERA.
"He's always been a fierce competitor," Melvin said of Godfrey. "Not being a knock on him, but you look at his stuff and you say there's nothing that really overwhelms you. But he goes out there and competes. ... He earned the job."
Melvin said Ross is scheduled to rejoin the A's on April 17 as the fifth starter, but that he has to harness his control before returning. While Melvin deemed Ross' sinker to be a "plus-plus pitch," the A's skipper said he needs to get command of it, especially when he falls behind in the count.
"He definitely is a talented guy," Melvin said. "When he gets on a roll, you've seen here what we can accomplish. We just need him to be a little bit more consistent at this point."
A's trim roster to 25, will carry 11 pitchers
SAN FRANCISCO -- The A's finalized their 25-man roster, as the club announced right-hander Tyson Ross has been sent down to Triple-A Sacramento on Wednesday. But the A's will have another roster move to make before April 17, as Ross is scheduled to return as the fifth starter.
For now, the A's will carry 11 pitchers, two catchers, six infielders and six outfielders. There has been plenty of turnover in a year's time, as only seven active players remain from Oakland's 2011 Opening Day roster: Grant Balfour, Jerry Blevins, Brian Fuentes, Brandon McCarthy, Kurt Suzuki, Cliff Pennington and Coco Crisp.
"I feel like the group has come together for a lot of new guys, a lot of young guys," manager Bob Melvin said. "To that point, we've accomplished what we've wanted to in spring, but it's still going to be a work in progress how this thing's going to shake out for us."
There is a chance for injured first baseman Daric Barton (shoulder) to make a quick return to the club, as he is eligible to return from the 15-day disabled list on Monday. But Melvin said there will be something of a platoon situation at first base, as Kila Ka'aihue and Brandon Allen will split the at-bats.
"It's probably going to be matchups at this point -- a hot hand," Melvin said.
Melvin moving Cespedes around batting order
SAN FRANCISCO -- After a full Spring Training, it's clear Yoenis Cespedes has plenty of pop in his bat. Oakland manager Bob Melvin has shuffled the Cuban slugger all over the A's lineup, hitting him anywhere from third to seventh. For Wednesday's exhibition finale against the Giants, Cespedes batted fifth and played center field.
"Down the road, I think he's a middle-of-the-order guy -- whether it be three, four or five," Melvin said. "I've often said all spring with him that he's got enough to handle right now. I don't want to put the added pressure of putting him in the fourth spot every day. We'll move him around the lineup wherever we see fit on a particular day."
Since the scouting report came out on Cespedes this spring, Melvin said pitchers have been feeding him a steady dose of breaking balls, but that Cespedes has done a good job of adjusting. Cespedes drilled a couple of hanging sliders for doubles on Tuesday, showing the type of power the A's envisioned when they signed him to a four-year, $36 million deal this offseason.
"When he squares it up, it jumps off his bat," Melvin said. "When you watch his batting practice, his ball probably travels a little further than most, and to an extent, makes a different sound."
Oakland manager Bob Melvin spoke with Giants skipper Bruce Bochy before Wednesday's exhibition and the two agreed to use the designated hitter position at AT&T Park. A's catcher Kurt Suzuki was happy to find out he would be the DH, as Anthony Recker received the start at catcher.
Because of Oakland's season-opening trip to Japan, A's starters Brandon McCarthy and Bartolo Colon will get two starts apiece in their team's first four games. Melvin said it's a bit of an advantage to have his top two arms go twice to start the season, but pointed out Seattle is in the same situation. The Mariners have also altered their rotation, moving ace Felix Hernandez back a day, meaning the A's will face him three times in their first eight games.
Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.