Fifth starter, first base still unsettled for A's

Fifth starter, first base still unsettled for A's

Fifth starter, first base still unsettled for A's
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Two games into the regular season and six days off from rebooting the 2012 campaign, the A's are still a bit unsettled. Oakland manager Bob Melvin said the fifth spot in the rotation and the starting first-base job are still up for grabs.

Right-hander Jarrod Parker, the A's top prospect who was acquired in the Trevor Cahill deal from Arizona this offseason, made the start for Triple-A Sacramento on Saturday, facing his teammates from Spring Training. Asked if Parker's start was something of an audition for the fifth spot in the Oakland rotation, Melvin said, "Absolutely."

But Parker didn't help his case, as he struggled with control and lasted just two innings. In all, he gave up six runs (three earned), on two hits and four walks while striking out two.

For the time being, Melvin said he's content with the first four starters on the staff: Brandon McCarthy, Bartolo Colon, Tommy Milone and Tyson Ross. Parker's main competition for the fifth spot is fellow right-hander Graham Godfrey.

"We'll keep it like that right now," Melvin said. "We're still a work in progress. Anytime you're in Spring Training mode, you're still a work in progress."

Brandon Allen, who started on Opening Day in Japan, was back in the starting lineup on Saturday batting eighth, but he left the game in the fourth inning after a warmup throw bounced off the dirt and hit his face below his right eye. Allen, who sported an inch-long cut and some swelling on his right cheek after the game, is competing with Kila Ka'aihue and Daric Barton for everyday at-bats at first base.

Barton suited up with the River Cats to take batting practice on Saturday before rejoining his A's teammates. Melvin said Barton, who didn't travel to Japan, isn't fully recovered from surgery to his throwing shoulder and that his status for the April 6 home opener against Seattle is unknown.

"A lot of it is going to be health and how he feels," Melvin said. "I don't think he's quite there yet. He doesn't feel quite comfortable yet throwing. He's playing in games, but we got to make sure he's comfortable throwing the baseball and I'm not sure we're quite there. We could be soon, I'm not sure."