Athletics 6, Giants 4
SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Dave Roberts told himself he would steal a base Saturday, then went out and did it.
As the season approaches, this is what Roberts does—and he is already showing the San Francisco Giants just the kind of asset he will be on the basepaths. It’s an element they haven’t had in the leadoff spot in years.
Roberts doubled, singled, stole a base and scored twice Saturday in a 6-4 loss to the Oakland Athletics.
“Today was a typical day,” Roberts said. “I’ve tried to kind of gear up toward opening day.”
Barry Bonds got the day off after the teams played to a 2-2, 10-inning tie Friday night.
Oakland right-hander Esteban Loaiza was scratched from his scheduled start for the second time in three days and might begin the season on the disabled list with tightness in his right shoulder blade.
While manager Bob Geren called a DL stint possible, Loaiza hopes it doesn’t come to that and isn’t ruling himself out to make his first start Thursday in Anaheim against the Angels. He didn’t even attempt to loosen up in the bullpen, instead telling Geren he was still experiencing tightness behind his throwing shoulder.
“If all goes well, I’ll throw a bullpen Monday and Tuesday and go from there,” Loaiza said.
Loaiza also was scratched from his outing Thursday against Oakland’s Triple-A club in Sacramento.
Oakland’s Mark Ellis had an RBI double and singled in a run, then also made strong contact on a line out to left in the fifth. He is batting .333 (11-for-33) over his last 10 games after starting the spring 4-for-25 (.160).
“I feel really good,” the second baseman said. “The last week or so you want to be feeling good. You work on stuff early and then you want to get locked in.”
The A’s used a designated hitter—Erubiel Durazo—while the Giants batted starter Matt Morris in the No. 9 hole as both clubs prepared for the season. Afterward, the A’s released Durazo. Also, catcher Kurt Suzuki was reassigned to the minors and infielder Donnie Murphy was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento.
The Giants also made several moves on a day Barry Bonds got a break to rest. San Francisco optioned right-handers Brian Wilson—a candidate for the closer job heading into spring training—and Scott Munter to Triple-A Fresno and reassigned infielder Tomas De La Rosa and right-handers Scott Atchison and Sun-Woo Kim to minor league camp.
Armando Benitez will be the closer, and the Giants want Wilson to get more innings in the minors. San Francisco plans to keep 12 pitchers, so that means two position spots will be cut Sunday: likely veteran pinch-hitter Mark Sweeney among those.
“This is best for Brian,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We just think he needs a little more work.”
Geren and his coaches were scheduled to meet Saturday night with general manager Billy Beane to finalize the roster.
If Loaiza goes on the DL, Oakland would consider right-hander Chad Gaudin— the emergency starter Saturday—and lefties Brad Halsey and Lenny DiNardo to replace him in the rotation. After opening stretch with 10 games in 10 days, Geren said the A’s don’t need their fifth starter until mid-April.
Geren is still concerned about the 35-year-old Loaiza, who won 11 games in his first season with the A’s last year despite an early DL stint with a strained muscle behind his upper back on the left side.
Gaudin allowed three earned runs and seven hits in 3 2-3 innings. He found out he’d be starting only about two hours before game time, then went out and threw 66 pitches—some 20 more than his previous outing.
After he was done, Geren told him he was in the mix for the No. 5 starter job.
“Yeah, crazy day. Things happen. It’s a game of adjustments,” Gaudin said. “I’m ready.”
The A’s also were taking a serious look at new infielder Todd Walker, signed to a minor league contract Friday after being released by San Diego early in the week. Walker, brought in as insurance with first baseman Dan Johnson sidelined for up to several months with a hip injury. He started at first base and batted fifth, going 2-for-3.
Morris allowed four runs and eight hits in 3 2-3 innings. … New Giants ace Barry Zito was recognized for his “Strikeout for Troops” charity work before the game when military members presented him with an American flag that flew in Iraq. Zito founded “Strikeouts for Troops” in 2005 to help wounded service members and their families.