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Garciaparra ready for utility role

Garciaparra ready for utility role

OAKLAND -- It took more than half the season, but Nomar Garciaparra finally is in the role he came to Oakland to play.

Garciaparra, 35, knows he isn't an everyday player anymore. Simply put, his body can't handle it. So he signed with the A's to be the team's utility man.

"It's not necessarily by choice," said Garciaparra, whose A's wrap up a four-game set with the Angels on Sunday, "but it's hard to do more than that at this point. Fitting into that [utility] role health-wise, I know I can do that."

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Garciaparra hadn't been playing that part on the Oakland roster, though.

Injuries to Eric Chavez and Co. left him in the lineup more often than his body liked. Then it was Garciaparra who got hurt, as he landed on the disabled list on May 27 with a strained right calf. He returned June 12, serving as a pinch-hitter in 18 of his final 22 games before the All-Star break.

With his calf feeling better and a full infield at Oakland's disposal, Garciaparra expects to fill the utility role from here on out. A's manager Bob Geren said the plan is to use Garciaparra at first base once per series, allowing Jason Giambi to rest on a more regular basis.

"It'll help everybody," Garciaparra said. "The whole purpose when I came here was to give guys days off like that, give them a blow."

Garciaparra is batting .253 with two home runs and 11 RBIs in 83 at-bats entering Sunday's series finale against the Angels.

Pitching matchup
OAK: LHP Brett Anderson (5-7, 4.64 ERA)
Anderson was cruising on July 12 against Tampa Bay until being lifted after four innings for precautionary reasons with lower back stiffness. Geren insisted it wasn't too concerning of an injury, and the All-Star break would give the 21-year-old some extra time to rest. Anderson seemingly has found his groove recently, allowing just one earned run in his past 18 1/3 innings. He followed up his masterful performance vs. Boston with four scoreless innings against Tampa Bay before his back flared up. He'll be one to watch in the second half as he develops confidence and experience in his rookie season.

LAA: RHP John Lackey (4-4, 4.93 ERA)
Lackey headed into the All-Star break on a positive note, delivering one of his finest efforts of the first half against the Yankees. He yielded two earned runs on six hits and three walks with six strikeouts across seven innings, outdueling CC Sabathia. Lackey has 43 strikeouts in his past 41 2/3 innings and has made it through at least seven innings in eight of his 12 starts after coming back from a forearm strain that cost him the first five weeks of the season. Lackey is 14-4 with a 2.80 ERA in 26 career outings against the A's and 7-3 with a 3.15 ERA in 14 starts in Oakland.

Tidbits
Hit on his left wrist by a pitch Friday, Scott Hairston was out of the lineup Saturday. Hairston said it probably would just be a one-day thing; Geren called Hairston day-to-day. ... Orlando Cabrera had six straight multihit games before collecting one hit Saturday. He batted .519 over that span. "That's the guy I remember beating us all those years," Geren said. "That's the guy we signed and that's the guy we were expecting. He's got real hot." ... Eric Patterson went 2-for-5 with two stolen bases for Triple-A Sacramento on Friday night. He's second in the Pacific Coast League with 33 steals. ... Double-A first baseman Chris Carter hit his 15th home run Friday, good for second in the Texas League. Carter ranks second in runs (71), third in RBIs (64) and fourth in on-base percentage (.402).

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• CSNCA-HD

On radio
• KTRB 860, KDYA 1190 (Español)

Up next
• Monday: Athletics (Gio Gonzalez, 1-2, 6.29) vs. Twins (Nick Blackburn, 8-4, 3.06), 7:05 p.m. PT
• Tuesday: Athletics (Dallas Braden, 7-8, 3.45) vs. Twins (Anthony Swarzak, 2-3, 4.50), 7:05 p.m. PT
• Wednesday: Athletics (Trevor Cahill, 5-8, 4.72) vs. Twins (Glen Perkins, 5-5, 4.75), 12:35 p.m. PT

Adam Loberstein is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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