A's to open 10-game stretch vs. West foes

By Joe Stiglich

Contra Costa Times

(MCT)

PHOENIX_The Oakland A's added some insurance for their wounded bullpen Wednesday, trading infielder Gregorio Petit to the Texas Rangers for right-handed reliever Edwar Ramirez.

When spring training began, the relief corps was one area that didn't appear to need reinforcements.

But closer Andrew Bailey, Michael Wuertz and Craig Breslow all have been slowed by injuries, and Joey Devine has recovered slower than expected after missing all of last season due to elbow surgery.

"We obviously were looking for some bullpen depth with injuries and some uncertainties as far as timetables are concerned with those guys," A's assistant GM David Forst said.

Ramirez, who turns 29 on Sunday, was in uniform for Wednesday night's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

It was the second time he's been dealt in 15 days. The New York Yankees traded him to Texas on March 9.

Ramirez went 6-2 with a 5.22 ERA in 96 games for the Yankees over three seasons.

The A's hope his addition is merely precautionary at this point.

Bailey, Wuertz and Breslow all should be ready for opening day if they keep progressing at their current pace.

Wuertz will make his second exhibition appearance tonight after being bothered by shoulder soreness. Breslow, who has elbow tendinitis, threw from the mound Wednesday and said he hopes to get in a game this weekend.

Bailey, coming back from tennis elbow, could throw from the mound this weekend.

Petit was blocked at shortstop with the A's, as Cliff Pennington and Adam Rosales are fighting for the starting job and 2009 first-round pick Grant Green is waiting in the wings.

-Gio Gonzalez drew the start Wednesday and allowed one run in 41/3 innings, striking out five and walking two.

He found trouble in the second after walking consecutive batters to load the bases with one out. But after A.J. Ellis' sacrifice fly, Gonzalez froze Rafael Furcal with a curveball for a called third strike.

"If you can minimize damage, it's a lift for any pitcher," Gonzalez said. "Gave up one, but it's better than three."

He was relieved in the fifth by Trevor Cahill. Both appear to be the main candidates for the fifth starter's spot, and both have two spring appearances remaining.

-Coco Crisp and Rajai Davis batted 1-2 in the order and started alongside each other in the outfield for the first time this spring. Crisp, who is coming off surgery to both shoulders and has been slowed by a hamstring strain, played center after being relegated to DH before Wednesday.

Davis, who missed six games with an abdominal injury, has shifted from center to left this season.

-Forst was asked how much Cactus League performance will be weighed when making roster decisions on utility men Jake Fox and Eric Patterson. Both are out of options, meaning they'd have to be exposed to other teams through waivers before they can be sent to the minors.

"You have to take it into account, especially with (position players), who are going to be there opening day and have to perform," Forst said.

That bodes well for Patterson, who is hitting .400 over his past six games and drawn praise from manager Bob Geren. Fox is just 2-for-32 (.063) overall.

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