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02/20/2013 4:47 PM ET

Position players get day off due to rain

PHOENIX -- A's manager Bob Melvin was forced to change plans under wet conditions Wednesday.

Because of steady rain in the area, pitchers who were scheduled to throw to hitters were moved into covered cages to get their work in, while position players were simply given the day off.

"To get them over there in a cramped area and try to stretch them and have them stand in the cold and the rain and so forth, we're not going to take the risk of getting anyone hurt," Melvin said. "A few days in here, there's some soreness, so it's a good day to give to them if you are going to have a day off."

It comes just three days before Cactus League play begins for the A's, who will make the short trek to Maryvale Baseball Park on Saturday to take on the Brewers.

But even though hitters have logged just three full days of official workouts so far, most of them have been getting in swings at the A's facilities for weeks.

"It's a long spring anyway, and we're really not in a hurry at this point," Melvin said. "I was trying to smack the smirk off the position players' faces when we made that announcement more than anything."

A's line up pitching for start of Cactus League

PHOENIX -- The A's will have right-hander Jesse Chavez start the Cactus League opener against the host Brewers on Saturday.

Chavez, 29, will be opposed by Milwaukee righty Mike Fiers, while lefty Travis Blackley will start Sunday at Temple Diablo Stadium against the Angels. On Monday, southpaw Andrew Werner -- acquired in the November trade that sent Tyson Ross to the Padres -- will start Oakland's home opener against the Indians at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

Monday's contest will also feature a handful of notable arms, including 2011 first-round Draft pick Sonny Gray and recent signee Hideki Okajima, as well as lefty Jordan Norberto.

Much of the pitching staff's regulars won't make appearances during the first few games, as the A's attempt to ease them along this lengthier spring schedule following a heavy workload in 2012. That includes Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone, Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle.

Chavez was purchased from the Blue Jays in August last year and, after 10 innings of two-run ball with Triple-A Sacramento, was promoted to Oakland. He was used in four games while with the big league club, and allowed seven runs in just 3 1/3 innings -- numbers that don't reflect his ability, manager Bob Melvin said Wednesday.

"I had to put him in some situations that were tough based on necessity, but people around here really like him," said Melvin. "He's looked good. All of our developmental people raved about him in the time they saw him."

Chavez will be stretched out as a starter and, like Blackley, will look to force his way onto the roster in a long-relief role.

Norberto declines to comment on Biogenesis link

PHOENIX -- A's reliever Jordan Norberto declined comment Wednesday when approached about an ESPN report connecting him to a South Florida clinic that has been linked to performance-enhancing drugs.

"I'm not commenting," Norberto said. "I'm here to play baseball."

The left-handed Norberto was one of five more players added to the widening Biogenesis report Tuesday night, along with Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera, Astros outfielder Fernando Martinez, Padres reliever Fautino De Los Santos -- who once played for the A's -- and top Mets outfield prospect Cesar Puello. This just a few weeks after more than a dozen players, including A's right-hander Bartolo Colon, were linked to the clinic.

Major League Baseball is currently investigating the clinic. In the meantime, the A's have no comment regarding the situation.

Norberto, 26, posted a 2.77 ERA in 39 games for Oakland during a 2012 season that was interrupted by shoulder issues. Now healthy, the southpaw has already thrown to hitters this week and is tentatively scheduled to pitch in Monday's game against the Indians.

"The trainers have given him a full go and he's felt good," manager Bob Melvin said Wednesday. "So at this point there are no limitations."

Worth noting

• Lefty Garrett Olson, a non-roster invitee who was scratched from his Sunday bullpen session because of a right hamstring issue, is on the mend and was scheduled to do some throwing Wednesday.

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.