03/12/12 9:21 PM ET
Balfour, Fuentes top closer candidates
By Jane Lee / MLB.com
A's manager Bob Melvin said Monday that either right-hander Grant Balfour or left-hander Brian Fuentes will assume the role. The latter option appears to be the favorite as long as another southpaw, such as Jerry Blevins, resides in the bullpen.
"I have an idea who it will be, I just haven't announced anything yet," Melvin said. "The variables around them have just as much an impact. ... We're waiting to see what the makeup of the bullpen will look like."
Fuentes, meanwhile, has plenty of experience in the ninth inning. The 36-year-old veteran has 199 career saves, including an American League-best 48 in 2009 while with the Angels. He converted 12 of 15 saves last season, and posted a 3.70 ERA in 67 appearances.
Manny to get at-bats in Minor League camp
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Manny Ramirez's Cactus League appearances, already sparse, will continue to be fewer and far between, as manager Bob Melvin looks to hand time in the designated-hitter spot to players in need of at-bats.
Ramirez, meanwhile, will get his at-bats in Minor League camp, as he did Sunday and Monday. He's played in just three games with the A's, going hitless in eight at-bats, and will start for them at DH on Tuesday at home against the Brewers.
"Being as he has to start with the 50-game suspension and that camp is shortened, I think we've probably committed DH at-bats to finding out some other things about other guys," Melvin said. "But he wants to go over there [to Minor League camp]. He tells me, 'Hey look, don't worry about me. I know you're under the gun to get other guys at-bats.' He's been great about that."
Daric Barton started Monday's game at DH and will be limited to that role until his surgically-repaired right shoulder is cleared to throw in games. Jonny Gomes and Seth Smith are also expected to garner DH at-bats in the next week, as the club prepares for departure to Japan a week from Thursday.
Making his spring debut Monday, Daric Barton went 0-for-3 with two walks as the designated hitter. There is no timeline on when he'll be cleared to play first base. Right-hander Tyson Ross made yet another impressive Cactus League start Monday, pitching three scoreless innings against the White Sox. He allowed three hits, walked two and struck out a pair. Ross has a 1.29 ERA this spring and is a strong candidate to break camp in the rotation.
"My control's not as great as I want it to be yet, but you look at the positives. I've been able to pitch out of jams and put up zeroes," Ross said.
Left-hander Brett Anderson, still ahead in his rehab schedule, said he will add changeups to his pitch mix in his Saturday bullpen session. The club is still eyeing August for his return to the rotation.
"Everything's been going good," Anderson said. "I keep searching for something to be off, but I feel great."