03/19/12 12:30 AM ET
Barton to stay on roster but won't be in Japan
By Jane Lee / MLB.com
The two would seem to go hand in hand, considering the A's will play in two regular-season games with the Mariners in Tokyo on March 28-29. But the club can carry a 28-man roster overseas, before designating a 25-man roster of players eligible for those games. That means Barton, working his way back from right shoulder surgery, can remain on the 28-man roster during that time while participating in extended spring training to compile the innings he needs to be ready for the April 6 opener in the States.
Barton isn't guaranteed a roster spot at that time, but the A's decision to keep him on the roster for now, rather than demote him to the Minors, reflects their desire to give him every chance to compete for the Opening Day job he's held in three of the past four seasons. He'll get that opportunity when the club returns to the U.S. on March 29 and plays in four exhibition games in the six days that follow.
"We want to make sure his progress is such that he can play multiple games in a row and throw," manager Bob Melvin said. "He's a guy we're going to need, so he'll be on a schedule here, and once we get back, he'll be able to play in all the exhibition games leading up to Opening Day."
The club's decision to have Barton take up a roster spot but not travel showcases its indecision surrounding first base, where neither Brandon Allen nor Kila Ka'aihue have evidently made a strong case for the job. Chris Carter has also been mentioned in first-base talk, but because he has options, unlike Allen and Ka'aihue, it's safe to assume he'll be in Triple-A to start the season.
Barton is considered the strongest defender of the bunch, despite making eight errors in 67 games during a forgettable 2011 season. He hit just .212 with no home runs during that time and was optioned to Triple-A in June, appearing in 17 games with Sacramento before going on the disabled list. The year before, he hit .273 with 10 homers, 57 RBIs and an American League-leading 110 walks, while committing 10 errors in 159 games.
Suzuki gets best of former batterymate Cahill
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Kurt Suzuki wanted to have a little fun. Trevor Cahill wanted to get his work in.
The A's catcher, facing his former batterymate for the first time in an Oakland-Arizona matchup on Sunday with a runner on base, watched Cahill fall behind on him, 3-1, before throwing a four-seamer that found its way to the left-field grass area at Salt River Fields for Suzuki's first spring homer.
"I thought he'd be thinking I'd throw him a sinker, so I threw him a four-seamer, and that didn't work out," Cahill said.
"You obviously know the release points, know the type of movements," Suzuki said after the A's 11-2 win. "I thought he was going to start messing around. He's always wanted to throw a slider, and I never let him throw the slider, so I thought he'd throw me some. But he came right after me with the sinker, threw me one changeup and then the four-seamer, middle in, and the rest is history."
Cahill, dealt to the D-backs in November for a trio of prospects, eyed Suzuki as he ran around the bases but was never once able to establish eye contact. Only when Cahill was running off the field, peering into the visitor's dugout, did he give Suzuki a stare.
"And I was just laughing at him," an amused Suzuki said.
The home run almost didn't count, as thunder, lightning and hail threatened the game. But only after three innings -- required to make a Spring Training game official -- was the game halted before resuming 36 minutes later.
"I wanted it to get canceled so I could say it didn't count," Cahill said.
A's cut four players, including righty Threets
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The A's made their second round of cuts on Sunday, with outfielders Michael Taylor and Chris Carter and relievers Neil Wagner and Erick Threets the latest to be sent out.
Threets departed to Minor League camp in the morning, and the A's announced the other moves later in the day.
Though plenty intrigue has surrounded the prospect duo of Taylor and Carter in recent years, their demotions were not a surprise, given the fact both have Minor League options and were not seeing much playing time or performing at a high standard when they were.
Threets, a Bay Area native and non-roster invitee on the comeback trail from Tommy John surgery, fared well in camp, but so have several other relievers already on the 40-man roster. The veteran southpaw allowed just one run in 6 2/3 innings for a 1.35 ERA with five strikeouts.
"I thought he pitched well," manager Bob Melvin said. "There are going to be some disappointing cuts here with some guys that have performed well here, and he's one of those guys. Really, my message to him was, 'Try not to be too disappointed, go down there and do your thing because sometimes you start with a certain amount of guys that, typically, over the course of the season, you add to that.'
"He's definitely a guy that opened our eyes. He pitched well and is disappointed, and I understand that."