Notes: Barton to see hand specialist
First baseman's injury could be more serious than first thought
PHOENIX -- Daric Barton's left-hand injury may be more serious than the A's had originally suspected. Oakland manager Bob Geren said the rookie first baseman would be sent out to a local orthopedic hand specialist on Thursday to have it examined and X-rayed.Barton missed his fifth consecutive game on Thursday, this one against the Cubs at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. "He'll do the whole workout, except he won't hit," Geren said as the team took the field hours before the game. "Then he's going over to the doctor to get checked out. So we'll know more tomorrow." Barton, 22, said on Wednesday that it was diagnosed as a repetition injury to the side of his left hand from taking too many swings with the bat so early in Spring Training. At the time, Geren said he hoped that Barton could be back as early as Thursday, but admitted it might be later in the week. On Thursday, Geren sounded more concerned about it. Asked about the time Barton was losing, Geren said: "Let's get him healthy and we'll worry about the at-bats he's missing." The A's are counting heavily on Barton to blossom this season as part of their youth movement. He played the 2007 season at Triple-A Sacramento, but was a Sept. 1 callup and started 18 games at first base for the A's, impressing many by batting .347 with nine doubles, four homers and eight RBIs. He said the root of the injury was a swipe tag at first base last summer when he was still playing for the River Cats. "I hurt it last year in a collision at first base and missed a couple of days," Barton said about the injury on Wednesday. "Then I hurt it swinging again last week. Hopefully I'll be back in there again in couple of days. I'm going to rest it a couple of more days and then I'll see what I can do." Barton hurt his hand this time around on Saturday, as the A's romped over the Giants, and hasn't played since. Crosby update: Shortstop Bobby Crosby was back in the starting lineup on Wednesday after missing two games because of back spasms and was back at it again on Thursday. Crosby, who had three plate appearances against the Padres, walking twice and scoring a run, said on Thursday that he was no worse the wear because of the brief setback. "I'm feeling good, really good; it felt great yesterday," Crosby said prior to working out Thursday. "It was just a blip. Just back spasms, something that seems to happen once a year. It's a two-day thing. This was just in the muscles, something that didn't worry me at all. I knew I'd miss a game or two and that would be all."
Crosby is coming off a 2007 season in which he played in only 93 games because of a broken left hand. In 2006, he missed 52 games because of a lower back sprain, an injury that Crosby said was not related to this particular bout with spasms.Crosby was scratched from Monday's lineup against the Angels after his back stiffened up while taking grounders during batting practice. Geren delayed writing out the starting lineup on Wednesday until Crosby cleared through batting practice. This and that: Right-hander Joey Devine, who also has been suffering from back spasms, had a 30-pitch side session on Wednesday, Geren said. "He's doing well today and could potentially pitch on Saturday," Geren said, referring to one of the split-squad games scheduled for Phoenix and Peoria. Devine has been out since Monday. ... Right-handed reliever Kiko Calero is expected to pitch off the mound for the first time this spring on Friday. Calero has been nursing a non-surgically repaired rotator cuff injury in his right shoulder. ... The A's made their first roster cuts of the spring, sending out five players: catcher Landon Powell was optioned to Sacramento, and non-roster invitee pitchers Arnold Leon, Jay Marshall, Ryan Wing and Brad Ziegler were all reassigned to the Minor League camp. That leaves a total of 56 players in the Major League camp, 39 on the 40-man roster and 17 non-roster invitees. That includes 25 pitchers, 14 infielders, 12 outfielders and five catchers. Up next: The A's play the Giants at Scottsdale Stadium on Friday in their second cross-Bay clash of the Cactus League season. It'll be A's left-hander Dave Eveland against right-hander Kevin Correia. This past Saturday, the A's pummeled the Giants, 25-3 at Scottsdale, amassing 29 hits and 36 baserunners.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.