04/03/12 1:55 AM ET
A's keep Sogard, send down Rosales
By Alex Espinoza / Special to MLB.com
Rosales, who was slowed by injuries this spring, was vying with Eric Sogard to become Oakland's top utility infielder. A's manager Bob Melvin said Monday's move was a result of Sogard's solid spring and Rosales needing more time at the plate.
"We know he's a better player offensively than he showed last year and certainly this spring," Melvin said of Rosales. "There's probably a lot of reasons for it. This year he had a shoulder injury that set him back some, and couple that with the fact that we had a shorter schedule and he really never was able to get going."
Rosales batted .167 in 18 Spring Training at-bats this year, driving in two runs while walking three times and striking out four times. Sogard, meanwhile, started the spring off hot and finished with a .341 average, two home runs and seven RBIs in 44 at-bats.
With Rosales gone to Triple-A, Sogard said he felt the A's front office gave him a vote of confidence to stay at the big league level in 2012, after he played four games with Oakland in 2010 and 27 in 2011. Sogard said he feels comfortable at second base, third base and shortstop, crediting A's assistant coach Mike Gallego for helping improve his defense.
"It's been nice kind of getting my feet wet the past year or two," Sogard said. "I continue to feel more comfortable up here at this level. Especially this spring, I proved to myself that I could succeed at this level. I think big things are coming, I'm excited."
Barton remains long shot for home opener
SAN FRANCISCO -- Daric Barton was disappointed he didn't get to travel to Japan with his A's teammates for the season-opening series against the Seattle Mariners, but he was busy rehabbing his right shoulder. The 26-year-old first baseman, who underwent a procedure in September to shrink his shoulder capsule and repair a partially torn labrum, said "things would have to go perfect" in order for him to be available for Friday's regular-season contest against Seattle.
"Sometimes it feels good, sometimes it feels a little stiff," Barton said. "I'm going to go through ups and downs this year, I understand that."
Barton has appeared in just seven Spring Training games, batting .176 in 17 at-bats, with his only extra-base hit being a double. Doctors told Barton that players usually take a year to make a full recovery, if at all, as there's only a 50 percent chance of him being able to throw normally again.
"It's kind of tough to swallow," Barton said. "Then again, I know that they fixed my shoulder and I'm not going to have the same issues that I had last year. It's just something else I'm going have to deal with and push myself through. There's going to be discomfort, but hopefully it gets to the point where it's discomfort that I can deal with."
Barton is still currently on the active roster, but could be one of the two remaining roster cuts before Wednesday's deadline, as the A's have two other healthy first basemen: Kila Ka'aihue and Brandon Allen. Aside from rehabbing during Oakland's Japan trip, Barton said he also got to know Manny Ramirez and pick his brain during batting practice, saying the two also enjoyed dinner at Ramirez's house in Arizona.
Elbow an issue for Devine; Braden sees doc
SAN FRANCISCO -- The hits keep on coming for A's right-handed reliever Joey Devine, as manager Bob Melvin said Monday that Devine suffered yet another injury setback.
"His elbow's bothering him a little bit again," Melvin said. "We're going to get a further report on him tomorrow or the next day."
The news is another blow for Devine, who has incurred a bevy of injuries since going 6-1 with a 0.59 ERA in 42 appearances with the A's in 2008. Devine was placed on the 15-day disabled list in March with right biceps tendinitis and is eligible to return Sunday, but it doesn't look like that's a possibility now. The 28-year-old missed the 2009-10 seasons and had a 3.52 ERA in 26 appearances in 2011.
Melvin also had an update on Dallas Braden, saying the southpaw met with Dr. David Altchek in New York on Monday. Altcheck performed last year's shoulder capsule surgery on Dallas Braden, and Melvin said the A's were expecting an update by Tuesday.
Braden was originally hoping to return to the rotation by early May, but he experienced shoulder soreness before the A's left for their season-opening series in Japan. The eccentric lefty hasn't pitched since April 16, 2011.
Pennington exits early with groin strain
SAN FRANCISCO -- A's shortstop Cliff Pennington left Monday night's contest against the Giants with a strained groin in the second inning. He was replaced by Eric Sogard, who delivered a two-run homer in the third inning.
Oakland manager Bob Melvin said Pennington tweaked his groin during warmups and that he may hold him out of Tuesday's exhibition game against the Giants in Oakland. Melvin wants to see how Pennington feels before speculating on his availability for Friday's home opener against the Seattle Mariners.
"I just know that I wanted to be as careful as I can be, and that's why he came out so early," Melvin said.
Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.