Oakland A's Notes: Swisher Producing All Over

Nick Swisher leads the Oakland A's in homers and walks and has added flexibility in the field by playing at first, in right and in center. But perhaps most importantly, Swisher has added flexibility in the line-up for the A's this season.

Nick Swisher has bounced around the A's batting order like a pinball over the last two seasons, so it wasn't a surprise when he checked Sunday's lineup and saw he was hitting third against the Orioles.

That's a first for Swisher this season, but you could understand why manager Bob Geren would switch him there from second. Swisher leads the A's with nine homers and 32 RBIs after swatting a three-run shot off Daniel Cabrera in an 8-4 defeat.

That gave Swisher three homers in as many days, and five of his nine homers have come at Camden Yards this season.

Geren moved Travis Buck into the No. 2 spot and Dan Johnson into cleanup, as struggling Jack Cust was dropped to seventh.

"I see Swisher anywhere from a one through five guy," the manager said. "He has the ability to be a leadoff guy with his zone and a middle-of-the-lineup guy with his power."

Memorial Day Notes and Quotes

--RHP Justin Duchscherer will pitch in a game for Class A Stockton on Monday and said he should be ready to come off the disabled list Wednesday. His arthritic right hip felt fine after throwing off a mound Saturday.

--OF Nick Swisher shifted from the No. 2 to No. 3 spot in the batting order Sunday against Baltimore and responded with a three-run homer. That was Swisher's third homer in as many days and gave him five at Camden Yards this season. Manager Bob Geren said he likes Swisher's power potential in the third spot.

--RHP Rich Harden is set to start throwing again to test his right shoulder. Harden is on the DL and hasn't pitched in a game since April 15. When he might return to the mound for the A's is still unknown.

--RHP Esteban Loaiza threw 63 pitches for Class AAA Sacramento in his second rehab start. He went four innings and gave up five hits and two earned runs. Loaiza is eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list on Thursday but will likely need more recovery time from a right knee injury.

--OF Jack Cust is mired in a 2-for-23 slump with no homers or RBIs in his past seven games. That prompted Geren to drop him to the seventh spot in the order to take some pressure off the slugger. "It looked like he's been pressing the last couple of days," Geren said. "This takes the pressure off him a little bit."

BY THE NUMBERS: 11 -- The number of A's players currently residing on the disabled list. That's the most they've had on the DL at one time since 1997, when they also had 11.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "This is gratifying toward the end of my career. To get that opportunity, I appreciate it." -- Temporary closer Alan Embree, after registering his second save of the season against Baltimore. He came into 2007 with just eight saves in his 13-year career.

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