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Open Game Thread: Game 55 - A's at Rangers

To recap the last few days: Fiorentino (OF), Melillo (2b), and DiNardo (P) all taken off the 40-man roster (DFA'd). Chavez and Calero reinstated from the 60-day DL and added to the active roster; AthleticsNation contributor Brad Ziegler added to the 40-man and active roster. Buck and Carlos Gonzalez recalled from AAA and ready to start in the outfield tonight for the A's.

Eight players currently on the 15-day DL for the A's: Swooney, Sweeney, Andrew Brown, Casilla, Devine, Donnie Murphy, Frank T, Denorfia.

The most intriguing starting lineup the A's have trotted out this year:


Lineup

Oakland Athletics @ Texas Rangers

05/30/08 5:05 PM PDT

Oakland Athletics Texas Rangers
Travis Buck - RF Ian Kinsler - 2B
Bobby Crosby - SS Michael Young - SS
Jack Cust - DH Josh Hamilton - CF
Eric Chavez - 3B Milton Bradley - RF
Emil Brown - LF David Murphy - LF
Mark Ellis - 2B Gerald Laird - C
Daric Barton - 1B Frank Catalanotto - DH
Carlos Gonzalez - CF Chris Shelton - 1B
Kurt Suzuki - C Ramon Vazquez - 3B

Chavy makes his regular-season debut at third, CarGon makes his major league debut in CF, Buck returns to his familiar lead-off role, and the collective range of our outfielders improves as Cust returns to the DH role.

Not to be picky, but the only way I'd like it better is with Hannahan at first base.

Today marks the two-month anniversary of this comment:

Barton is going to have an OPS of .650 in two months, and he may very well be back in Sacramento.

Barton's current line : .322 OBP, .328 SLG, .650 OPS. But unfortunately that prediction was only half right.

Tonight's opposing starting first baseman, Chris Shelton , was at .354/.429/.625 - a 1.054 OPS - before joining the Rangers, where he's posted a .734 OPS over 22 games. He was also released and available for free this past offseason, illustrating the point that passable offense at first base should be very easy to come by.

In somewhat related news, Buck ended up spending exactly 20 days optioned down in AAA, meaning that the A's gained an extra year of contractual control over him. Instead of being a free agent at age 28 after the 2012 season, the A's will have him under control for 2013 at age 29.

I think it would be wise for the A's to send Barton down for 32 days at some point this season to realize the same long-term benefit.

The A's currently stand at 29-25 through 54 games, exactly one-third of the way finished with the season. That is an 87-win pace; right at the threshold where every precious win counts. Let's go A's!