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Notes: Street eager to close

Notes: Street eager to return as closer

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OAKLAND -- A's righty Huston Street missed 63 games while on the disabled list from May 13-July 23 with an irritated elbow nerve. On Thursday, he seemed a little irritated about not yet getting back his job as closer.

A's manager Bob Geren says he wants to see Street throw in back-to-back games before reinstalling him. Street insisted he's long been ready to clear that bar.

"I've been ready for, like, a week," Street said before the opener of a four-game series against the visiting Angels. "I told them that, so it's just when they want to throw me out there."

Street pitched a scoreless inning on Tuesday in his fourth outing since being activated, but veteran lefty Alan Embree got the save opportunity on Wednesday and converted for the 12th time in 14 chances since Street landed on the DL.

Embree, who came on with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth on Wednesday and retired all five batters he faced, had never been a closer during his 14 years in the big leagues, and while he clearly enjoys working the ninth inning, he'd be more than happy to return to a setup role.

"It's satisfying, but when Huston's ready to have it, it's his," Embree said. "I told him that we're a better ballclub when he's the closer."

Embree's outing on Wednesday was his third in three days, and when Geren was asked before Thursday's game whom he'd use in a save situation that night, he said there was a "50-50" chance that Embree would again get the ball.

"I trust him," Geren said. "If he tells me he can go, I trust that."

And if Embree couldn't go?

"I'd have Huston, I'd have [Kiko] Calero, I'd have [Andrew] Brown," Geren said. "I want to make sure [Street] feels right and his pitches look crisp. I just want to make sure he feels healthy. It's more how he feels."

Street swears he feels fine -- and ready to close: "I told them that a week ago."

Change of plans: Third baseman Eric Chavez, who last started on July 26 in Seattle, wasn't in the lineup on Thursday for the 14th time in the past 17 games as a result of back stiffness, but Geren said Chavez was scheduled for some "baseball activities," including light hitting in the indoor batting cage.

That plan, however, was dashed.

"He was going to and he didn't," Geren said after Thursday's 6-4 loss. "He didn't feel like he was ready to do that. No baseball activities."

Chavez confirmed as much and when asked how he was feeling, he said, "Not good."

"It just hasn't gone as planned," he added. "I've had back problems before and recovered from them pretty quickly. This one's a little puzzling."

Geren has said the A's aren't considering the DL for Chavez, who, when asked about that possibility, said, "I'm not sure what the plan is."

Loaiza on hold: Before heading to Triple-A Sacramento for his first Minor League rehab start, righty Esteban Loaiza said he was hoping to be activated in time to make his 2007 debut next week in Texas.

And after giving up three hits and a walk while throwing 61 pitches over 4 2/3 scoreless innings for the River Cats on Wednesday, Loaiza still would like to pitch in Texas.

But, he said on Thursday, "That's not gonna happen. I don't think they're taking me on the road with them."

They're not.

Geren said Loaiza topped out at 84 mph on two different radar guns on Wednesday, and the A's would like to see Loaiza make two more starts at Triple-A.

"He did OK," Geren said of Loaiza's work in Sacramento. "He's gonna have to go back out and get his arm strength up. ... He has to build up his velocity."

"I felt good," said Loaiza, who had surgery on his right knee on May 31. "I could have kept going, but they told me 60 pitches. So I threw 60 pitches."

Dribblers: Former A's ace Dave Stewart presented center fielder Mark Kotsay with the annual Dave Stewart Community Service Award before Thursday's game. Kotsay and his wife, Jamie, are heavily involved in local charities. "Obviously it's a great award," Kotsay said. "Being in this game, luckily I have had the ability to give back." ... Righty reliever Santiago Casilla, who allowed one run over his first 17 outings after being called up from Sacramento on June 3, had given up six runs in his past eight outings through Wednesday. Geren said Casilla has been struggling with his fastball command and a mechanical adjustment is in the works.

Up next: A's lefty Lenny DiNardo (5-6, 3.10 ERA) takes on Angels righty Dustin Moseley (4-1, 4.37 ERA) on Friday at McAfee Coliseum in the second game of the series. The first pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. PT.

Mychael Urban is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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