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09/05/07 4:21 PM ET

Notes: Crosby optimistic for his return

But A's shortstop still has pain when trying to swing bat

ANAHEIM -- Bobby Crosby on Tuesday tried to swing a bat for the first time since suffering a broken left hand when he was hit by a pitch here July 24, and it didn't go well.

Oakland's shortstop had to shut it down after only a couple of "dry" swings at nothing but air, but he remains optimistic about being able to play at least seven games before the end of the season.

"Swinging wasn't great. I couldn't do it," he said before Wednesday's finale of a three-game series at Angel Stadium. "But the good thing is that the pain was in my wrist, not my hand. And the wrist pain is just from being in a cast. It gets stiff when it's in the cast. So it's not really a big deal.

"It's sore, but the more I move it, the less sore it's getting. I just need to loosen it up."

The positive that came out of his first crack at baseball activities was that he didn't feel any pain while catching throws or taking ground balls.

"That's a good sign," he said. "I was a little worried about [the impact of the ball] hurting, but it was fine."

Crosby's pregame workout Wednesday was confined to agility drills, and he said the rest of his body is close to being in game shape.

"I still think [playing in games] the last two weeks of the season is realistic," he said.

Wondering about winter ball: Several years ago, the A's suggested to then-raw outfielder Eric Byrnes that he play some winter baseball. Byrnes complied, heading for the Dominican Republic, and he benefited immensely.

Not only did his game improve, but he also became something of a cult hero in the Dominican, earning the nickname "Captain America" after endearing himself to the local fans with his all-out style.

To this day, he credits the experience for turning him into the player he's become. The Diamondbacks recently signed him to a three-year, $30 million contract extension.

And while A's manager Bob Geren, without mentioning anyone by name, said there were a few current A's who might benefit from getting some additional games under their belts in winter ball, the organization won't force anyone to do anything they don't want to do.

"In the past, we've tried to encourage some guys to go, but a lot of times, it's really a personal decision," he explained. "Winter ball is kind of an individual thing."

The winter league in Puerto Rico recently shut down because of financial problems, so options are limited for those looking for offseason work, but one Athletic who will definitely get some more experience over the winter is rookie lefty Jay Marshall, who has been assigned to the Arizona Fall League.

Dribblers: Righty reliever Kiko Calero, who hasn't pitched since Aug. 25, has been getting treatment for soreness in his shoulder area and won't work again until Friday at the earliest. ... Righty Rich Harden, on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder, might pitch in a simulated game Saturday in Texas. ... Lefty Dan Meyer, who went 8-2 with a 3.39 ERA in 22 Minor League starts this season and was recalled for the second time Monday, isn't guaranteed a start the rest of the way, but Geren said he wanted to "Get a good look at him one way or another." Meyer pitched a perfect inning out of the bullpen Monday. ... The A's are off Thursday, so Geren and pitching coach Curt Young have shuffled the rotation to keep everyone but rookie lefty Dallas Braden on regular rest. Dan Haren will start Friday, followed by Chad Gaudin, Lenny DiNardo and Joe Blanton. Rookie lefty Dallas Braden has been bumped from Saturday to Tuesday.

Up next: Haren (14-6, 2.87 ERA) will square off with Rangers righty Edinson Volquez (1-0, 5.40 ERA) on Friday in the opener of a three-game series. The first pitch is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. PT.

Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.