Update by baseballgirl: According to Will Carroll's Twitter, Ryan Sweeney is out for the year. He's having knee surgery.
When Ben Sheets gets the ball tomorrow night, he will have had 8 days in between starts, from Saturday, July 10th to Monday, July 19th. There are many plausible explanations as to why Sheets, signed to be closer to the A's ace than their #4 starter, does not get the call until Oakland's 4th game after the break.
One is that given a chance to give certain pitchers a lot of extra rest, the A's felt it wasn't youngsters Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill, or Vin Mazzaro, who most needed it, but rather it was the pitcher coming off a major surgery and a year off of pitching: Sheets.
Another is that the A's have no intention of trading Sheets before the deadline, so there's no reason to give him the advantage of facing the Kansas City Royals rather than the more challenging -- and often less stat-line friendly -- job of facing the Boston Red Sox.
And yet another is that Sheets is being showcased for the Boston Red Sox, whom if they're seriously interested in making an offer for Sheets would be interested in seeing, up close and personal, how Sheets looks.
I don't know which of the above may be true, but I will say that the Red Sox are natural suitors for Sheets. Boston is down Josh Beckett, has gotten very disappointing results from Daisuke Matsusaka and John Lackey, and finds itself currently out of the playoff picture behind two teams that don't figure to let up.
Other teams known to be interested in starting pitching are not necessarily good matches for the A's. The Phillies have one prospect (Dominic Brown) too good to wrestle away, and a truckload of prospects that don't hold much appeal for the A's. Similarly, the Mets have Fernando Martinez and then a steep drop -- and nothing in between that would make a good basis for a trade with Oakland.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox have several of the "B/B- level" hitters the A's might want and with whom the Red Sox may be willing to part. Lars Anderson (23 in Sept), a power hitting 1Bman has seen his stock drop due to recent struggles but came to professional ball with a high pedigree. Ryan Kalish , 20, though he is projected to be a "10-15 HR OFer," seems like an A's type player -- a guy in the Aaron Cunningham mold who does a lot of things well and plays the game right. Josh Reddick, 23, is projected by John Sickels as a possible .280, 25 HR OFer but one who needs more seasoning. The basis for a win-win deal might be there if the two teams are interested.
Eh, the A's are probably just getting Sheets a little extra rest to protect his arm. Or...