Camp Notes: Thomas Swings Away

Frank Thomas was just happy to see a pitch coming from anybody. In the batting cage Monday for the first time since July, Thomas said he felt his timing wasn't quite there, but the most important thing was not feeling any pain on his foot.

Frank Thomas hit three home runs in 34 swings off coach Ron Washington, including a couple of tape-measure blasts, and sprayed line drives all over the field. He had a big smile afterward.

"Everything went well," Thomas said. "It feels great. No pain. I feel better than expected. ... It was just good to see somebody throw the ball and react to it."

When Thomas arrived in camp, he said he felt like he could run right away. The doctors haven't cleared him to run yet, but he's doing speed-walking -- "Olympic style," he said -- and the follow through on his swing puts lot of pressure on the foot.

Thomas originally didn't think he'd play in any Cactus League games, but that's now a possibility. Thomas figures he'll at least play against the Giants back in the Bay Area in the final tune-up games.

In the meantime, Thomas will continue to take batting practice in cages. He will face minor league pitchers in games where he won't have to run and can lead off every inning. Thomas said if he gets 30 to 40 at-bats, he'll be ready to go.

"I won't be a speed demon anymore," Thomas said. "Our concern is scoring from second, and going first to third. If we can do those things, I'll be fine."


--RHP Rich Harden pitched three innings in a simulated game before Monday's regular game. The medical staff is being cautious with Harden this spring because he had surgery on his non-throwing shoulder in the offseason, and he lost eight pounds last week when he had food poisoning. Harden said he expects to be ready to start the second game of the year against the Yankees.

--SS Cliff Pennington, the A's first-round pick last year, singled and stole a base. Pennington has impressed A's coaches with his intensity on the field and hustle.

--RHP Dan Haren is glad he won't be facing the Cubs anymore. Haren faced the Cubs for the second time in four days on Monday, giving up four runs (two earned) in three innings. Haren gave up 10 runs in 3 2/3 innings against the Cubs in 2004, when he pitched for St. Louis. Haren is likely to oppose good friend Noah Lowry, his teammate at Pepperdine, in his next start Saturday against the Giants.

--RHP Santiago Casilla, who arrived late after having problems with his visa due to his use of a false birth certificate, pitched two scoreless innings. Casilla pitched in winter ball and was working out at the A's academy in the Dominican, so he isn't behind schedule in getting ready for the year.

--INF Scott McClain, who hit 39 home runs for Seibu in Japan in 2001 and 30 homeruns for AAA-Iowa last season, hit a home run for the second straight day. McClain remains a long shot to make the team, but his power is intriguing.

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