09/13/10 7:12 PM ET
Back pain puts Kouzmanoff out of KC series
By Robert Falkoff / Special to MLB.com
"We'll see how he makes progress," Geren said. "But it won't be [Tuesday] or the next day. It's going to be a few more days. He still has to pass some tests on the field and take some batting practice and fielding practice before he would be considered ready to play in a game. That's still a ways off."
Iwamura joins club, contributes to win
KANSAS CITY -- When the Oakland A's got off the team bus and filed into the visitors' clubhouse Monday morning, Aki Iwamura was already there waiting for them.
Iwamura, who has been signed to fill a void at third base as Kevin Kouzmanoff recovers from lower back pain, had an early-morning wakeup call in Tampa Bay and was on a 7:45 a.m. ET flight bound for Kansas City. Manager Bob Geren immediately penciled Iwamura's name into the lineup for Monday's series opener against the Royals.
Iwamura was 0-for-2 with one walk, one strikeout and scored a run in the A's 3-1 victory over the Royals.
"My agent called me [Sunday] and said, 'You're going to Oakland.' "I'm just excited to be here," Iwamura said. "I'm focused on helping this team however I can the rest of this season."
Iwamura, who was released by the Pirates on Friday, burst into prominence in 2008 at Tampa Bay when he helped the Rays reach the World Series. It was Iwamura who fielded Jed Lowrie's grounder and stepped on second for the final out against the Red Sox in the American League Championship Series.
Iwamura has been reunited with Gabe Gross, who was also on that Rays AL championship club.
"He's an experienced guy, a Gold Glover in Japan," Geren said. "He's a solid, fundamental player who gives you a real good at-bat."
Geren put Iwamura in the No. 7 slot in the batting order for his Oakland debut.
"That's where we'll start him now, and we'll see how he looks and how the rest of the team is swinging ," Geren said. "Our lineup has been very consistent with Coco [Crisp] No. 1 and [Daric] Barton No. 2. I'm going to leave that the way it is because they've been doing a good job in those spots."
Geren knows A's still in division hunt
KANSAS CITY -- A's manager Bob Geren knows his club faces long odds in its quest to catch Texas in the American League West. But Geren points to that four-game series against the Rangers on Sept. 23-26 as a reason to hope.
"It's a real good experience for our young guys to be playing in meaningful September games," Geren said. "We still have an outside chance to catch them."
Geren's message is that the A's need to concentrate on being within range heading into that Texas series 10 days out. After facing the Royals, Oakland will face the Twins and White Sox before seeing the Rangers.
Texas is coming off a sweep of the Yankees and riding a five-game winning streak.
"They were down two of those games late and came back and won," Geren said. "That gives them a nice little boost, but we still feel like we're alive."
A's ready for some football
KANSAS CITY -- It was baseball by day and football by night for a big part of the A's traveling party.
Manager Bob Geren and several Oakland players have plans to take in the Chargers-Chiefs game after their matinee against the Royals. All the A's had to do was walk across the parking lot for Monday Night Football at adjacent Arrowhead Stadium.
Geren, who is from San Diego, has strong interest in the Chargers. Reliever Brad Ziegler, who grew up in nearby Odessa, Mo., is a life-long Chiefs fan.
"I've got my Jamaal Charles jersey hanging in my locker," Ziegler said. "I told the guys that the atmosphere you're going to get on Monday night in the opener against a division team will be tough to beat."
Monday's A's-Royals game was originally scheduled as a night game, but was switched to the afternoon to accommodate Monday Night Football.
Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.