The A's finalized their 2006 Opening Day roster on Sunday by making a series of moves to set the roster. Oakland has purchased the contracts of top prospect Travis Buck and last minute signing Todd Walker. Meanwhile, the team has optioned left-hander Brad Halsey to Triple-A Sacramento and has designated infielder Antonio Perez for assignment. Perez will have to clear waivers to return to the organization. He has been out the last few days of camp with a non-baseball related issue.
The A's also made it official that Esteban Loaiza would miss at least his first start of the season, placing the right-hander on the disabled list. His stay on the DL is retroactive to last Saturday. He is joined on the DL by Mark Kotsay and Dan Johnson, both of whom are expected to miss much of the first half of the season. The A's also reassigned Lou Merloni to minor league camp.
It would appear that Lenny DiNardo, acquired off of waivers at the start of camp, has made the team. The left-hander and former Boston Red Sox starter had a good spring, posting an ERA of 2.25. He is a candidate to replace Loaiza in the rotation this week. Another candidate is reliever Chad Gaudin, who has been stretched out to 65 pitches and could throw 80-85 in his first start. Both Gaudin and DiNardo have primarily been starters during their minor league careers.
It would also appear that the A's have decided to keep Rule 5 lefty reliever Jay Marshall in the bullpen. Marshall will join DiNardo and Alan Embree in a lefty-heavy bullpen, at least at the start of the season. DiNardo may be the pitcher who is sent down to Triple-A once Loaiza returns from the DL. DiNardo has an option remaining, while Marshall will need to be kept on the 25-man roster all season or the A's will lose him.
Buck will likely be the A's primary right-fielder, with Nick Swisher playing first. Todd Walker will take on a utility role for the A's and Bobby Kielty will likely see time against left-handed pitchers.
Buck will make his major league debut less than two years from when he was drafted in the supplemental first round of the 2005 draft. He was outstanding during his only full season as a minor leaguer, batting .320 with a 906 OPS in a season shortened to 86 games thanks to injury. He was named the A's top prospect by Scout.com during this off-season and should be at the start of a long major league career.
Final Moves: Buck In; Perez, Halsey Out
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