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A's head toward Opening Day with rotation set

A's head toward Opening Day with rotation set

PHOENIX -- Behind Opening Night starter Brett Anderson against the Mariners at the O.co Coliseum on April 1, the A's starting pitching for the first week of the season seems to be set.

"The way we have it set it's pretty easy to figure it out," manager Bob Melvin said prior to Friday night's Cactus League game against the White Sox at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, his club's only night affair of their Phoenix area tour this spring.

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Melvin said Anderson would be followed by Friday night's starter Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone, A.J. Griffin and Dan Straily. The A's open with a four-game series against the Mariners at home and then travel to Houston for a three-game set against the Astros, playing in the American League West this season for the first time.

The A's have one day off (April 8) from April 1-18.

"That's the way we have it mapped out right now," Melvin said about his starting five. "And then [Bartolo] Colon would have one time around and would be eligible to come back."

Colon begins the season with five games remaining on his 50-game drug suspension that began last year. He'll be eligible to return on April 6 at Minute Maid Park.

Asked where the veteran right-hander will fit in, Melvin said: "Somewhere."

Melvin, meanwhile, did Friday's pregame interview standing in the dugout for a good reason.

"We won yesterday and I did the interview standing up," he said. "I'm pretty superstitious."

Parker thus far has had a shaky spring and went into Friday night's game with an 0-2 record and 10.00 ERA to show for three starts. Straily, a 24-year-old right-hander, started five games for the A's in August and September and spent most of the season with the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats. Straily, with options available, may be the obvious guy out when Colon returns. He's 1-2 with a 6.59 ERA in five starts this spring.

About Parker's performance, Melvin said: "It's probably been a little spotty for him, as far as looking at the results. He's been good about throwing the ball over the plate, and I think that's important for him. That's the reason last year he wasn't here. He was walking guys and mechanically a little out of whack. My guess is that if he goes into the season, continues to throw all his pitches and the ball over the plate, we'll feel very good about his chances."

About Straily, Melvin added: "He just needs to be more consistent at times, and he knows it. He had a tough first inning the other day when he gave up three runs and then he pitched pretty well after that. It's getting rid of the one [bad] inning or getting through games a little bit more in the fashion we think he can do it and what his ability will allow. He's probably not there yet. But he's still a young guy and we've had a lot of young guys perform here. He was instrumental for us down the stretch with a few games last year.

"He's had some experience in a pennant race. But I know he probably looks at his performance this spring and thinks there's a little bit more in the tank for him. He wants to finish up strong."

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow@boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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