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06/29/08 7:37 PM ET

Chavez plans return for Angels opener

Oakland (44-37) at Los Angeles (49-33), Monday, 7:05 p.m. PT

OAKLAND -- A day after saying he was "befuddled" and "concerned" regarding the sore right shoulder that forced him to sit out his team's weekend series against the Giants, A's third baseman Eric Chavez told manager Bob Geren that he's optimistic about returning to action Monday for the opener of a big three-game series against the host Angels in Anaheim.

Chavez, who has played in two of Oakland's past seven games -- both at designated hitter -- and hasn't started at third base since June 21, did some throwing and hitting Sunday before the A's wrapped up Interleague Play for the year.

"He tested both elements of his shoulder and he did well," Geren reported. "He feels that, more than likely, he'll be ready to play tomorrow."

More than likely, Chavez will ease back into action as a DH, and he'll be joined by outfielder Ryan Sweeney, who missed the Giants series with a sprained left ankle.

Sweeney, who injured the ankle on a play at the plate early in Oakland's victory over the Phillies on Thursday, tested it with some change-of-direction drills on the field Sunday.

"I'll be ready to go [Monday]," Sweeney said. "It's OK. It's starting to get black-and-blue, but I'll be fine."

Sweeney was wearing an air-inflated brace during his running drills Sunday and will continue to wear it until the ankle is close to 100 percent. He'll also be heavily taped for a while.

"It's a lot of tape," he said. "It's like a cast."

The Angels hold a 4 1/2-game lead over the A's in the American League West, but Geren isn't quite ready to place too much emphasis on any series before the All-Star break. The Halos, who have beaten the A's four times in seven games this season, come to Oakland for three games (July 11-13) to close out the first half.

"The short-term thought process of this team works better," Geren said. "It's like, 'Let's try to win today.'"

Pitching matchup
OAK: LHP Greg Smith (4-6, 3.69 ERA)
Smith has received one run or less of support in eight of his 15 starts this season, including his previous time out, when he allowed seven hits while walking two and striking out three over 5 2/3 innings in a 4-0 loss to the Marlins. An unflappable rookie who leads the Majors with eight pickoffs, Smith took a tough 2-0 loss in his first career start against Los Angeles on April 29, scattering just two runs on three hits while walking five through eight innings. He also lost to the Halos on June 7, allowing four earned runs on seven hits over 6 1/3 innings.

LAA: RHP Jon Garland (7-4, 4.05 ERA)
Garland got plenty of early run support in his last start against Washington; the Angels scored a season-high six runs before he even toed the rubber. One of the Halos' key offseason additions, Garland responded by pitching seven solid innings, giving up three runs while striking out 11. In two starts against the A's this season, Garland is 1-1 with a 6.23 ERA and has allowed three home runs over 13 innings. Oakland rookie Daric Barton is 3-for-7 with a homer and three RBIs against Garland.

Despite losing two of three to the Giants over the weekend, the A's had a winning record in Interleague Play (10-8) for the 10th time in 12 seasons. ... At 15-10, the A's have already secured their seventh consecutive winning record in the month of June. ... Geren used 64 different lineups in Oakland's first 81 games. ... Shortstop Bobby Crosby reached the season's numerical midpoint as the only player on the team to start in every game. ... Sunday marked only the third time in 15 games that an A's starting pitcher has allowed more that two earned runs. ... The Angels have had one of the best bullpens in the AL for several years, and they added another fine arm to their relief corps this season in rookie righty Jose Arredondo, who threw two of the Halos' eight no-hit innings in a 1-0 loss to the Dodgers on Saturday. The outing lowered Arredondo's ERA to 1.40 in 17 appearances.

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Up next
• Tuesday: Athletics (Rich Harden, 5-0, 2.15) at Angels (Ervin Santana, 9-3, 3.32), 7:05 p.m. PT
• Wednesday: Athletics (Dana Eveland, 6-5, 3.34) at Angels (Joe Saunders, 11-4, 3.06), 12:35 p.m. PT
• Thursday: Athletics (Justin Duchscherer, 8-5, 1.91) at White Sox (Javier Vazquez, 7-6, 4.49), 5:11 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.