06/17/10 12:43 AM ET
More A's Draft picks under contract
By Jane Lee / MLB.com
Among those signed Wednesday was one of the organization's four early-round high school selections -- right-handed pitcher Tyler Vail, who was taken by the A's in the fifth round out of Notre Dame High School in Easton, Pa.
The A's also locked up right-handed pitchers A.J. Griffin (13th round, University of San Diego), J.C. Menna (14th, Brookdale CC), Logan Chitwood (19th, University of Texas-Tyler), Rashad Ramsey (20th, Chattooga HS) and Sean Murphy (33rd, Keystone College).
Oakland has now inked 11 of its first 20 picks and has until Aug. 16 to sign its other drafted players.
Jackson wants to be a jack-of-all-trades
CHICAGO -- Conor Jackson is pretty much ready for whatever role the A's throw his way.
"I'm up for any role they want me to be in," said the new Oakland outfielder, "whether that's coming off the bench or starting in left field or giving [Daric] Barton a day off over at first. We haven't really discussed it too much in depth, but I'm going to be ready for whatever they want me to do."
On Wednesday, for the club's second contest of a three-game set against the Cubs, manager Bob Geren wanted Jackson to start in left field and lead off.
"He's a contact hitter," the A's skipper said. "He's a line-drive guy, a gap-to-gap hitter. History shows he has a good on-base percentage. I don't see him as a leadoff hitter, but he'll be there a couple times this week until we get back to American League play."
Jackson led off 13 times for Arizona this season -- a mark only outnumbered by the time he spent batting second (19 times). Geren, though, mainly sees Rajai Davis and Coco Crisp -- once healthy -- in that spot. Davis was given a day off Wednesday, leaving Jackson to fill those duties.
"I'm not a big strikeout guy," Jackson said. "I don't hit a ton of homers, but I'll hit my doubles and take my walks, take my pitches. I think I'll fit in pretty well with this team.
"I know this is definitely a team that's in contention. I'm excited to be here."
'Surprised' Davis has night off vs. Cubs
CHICAGO -- Rajai Davis walked into the visitors' clubhouse at Wrigley Field on Wednesday ready to build on the three-hit night he put together Tuesday.
However, that was before Davis looked at the starting lineup, which didn't include his name. Rather, it had Conor Jackson leading off and playing left, with Ryan Sweeney in center and Jack Cust manning right.
"I was a little surprised," Davis admitted, "especially coming off three hits. I'm thinking about four. But I'm not the one calling the shots, so you just have to go with the flow."
The one calling the shots is manager Bob Geren, who said he "elected to go with Jack over Raj" and insisted that Davis will continue to see plenty of playing time even with Jackson -- acquired via a trade Tuesday -- in tow.
"He's always in the mix," Geren said. "He's a good player. A lot of players play the same position. That's a luxury we have."
Davis enjoyed a 3-for-5 night with two RBIs on Tuesday and was 6-for-15 (.400) in his past three games after missing four contests with left hamstring tightness.
His absence gave Sweeney his first start in center and Cust his first start in right this season. Meanwhile, Geren sees Jackson as the club's everyday left fielder, meaning Coco Crisp's (intercostal strain) eventual return will create quite the game of musical chairs in the outfield -- a notion Davis is trying not to worry about.
"It's pretty tough for anyone to fill my shoes," Davis said with a smile. "It's really tough. I'm sure of my abilities. I'm going to continue to play my game. I've always seen myself as an everyday player, and I feel like I've proven to everyone here that I'm an everyday player."
Geren, for the second day in a row, mentioned in his pregame media session how much he likes what he's seen from Cust at the plate and didn't specify whether he or Davis will start in Thursday's series finale.
Cust went 0-for-2 with two walks Tuesday and entered Wednesday's affair batting .400 (14-for-35) with two home runs, seven RBIs and a trio of three-hit games over his past 10 contests after he posted a .229 mark over his first 15 games.
In Wednesday's edition of the Chicago Tribune, starter Carlos Zambrano said A's reliever Jerry Blevins "got lucky" when he forced a popout to end the sixth frame during Tuesday's contest. "I wanted to hit a home run," Zambrano told the Tribune. "I wanted to hit the Budweiser building." Upon hearing of Zambrano's comments, courtesy of teammate Michael Wuertz, Blevins smiled while shaking his head, saying, "I guess I get lucky every time." ... Coco Crisp will continue his rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento, where he is expected to remain for at least eight more days. The A's outfielder (intercostal strain) went 2-for-3 with a triple and two runs scored in five innings during the River Cats' game on Tuesday, and followed that performance with a 1-for-2 night in five frames on Wednesday.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.