PHOENIX -- The A's have a backup plan for their starters on hand should rain wipe out any of their games this weekend.
With thunderstorms expected to hit the area hard Saturday, and rainfall potentially continuing into Sunday, the A's are prepared to adjust their schedule. It helps they already have a shorter day planned for Saturday, with no batting practice in the works, "so if we did get backed up," said manager Bob Melvin, "if there was ever a day to handle it, it would be tomorrow."
Right-hander Sonny Gray is slated to pitch Saturday's home game against the Rangers, with Jesse Chavez tabbed to go Sunday. However, if the contest is canceled, Gray will simply be pushed to Sunday and make his Cactus League debut on the road against the Angels.
Scott Kazmir, meanwhile, was initially penciled in to start Sunday's game. But even before the weather came into play, the A's decided not to pitch him against his former Angels team and instead have him throw to teammates on a back field, with his game debut in an A's uniform to follow next week.
"With him," Melvin said of his new lefty, "it might be wise to keep him off the Angels. The first time out, it's not that big a deal, anyway. It's more about getting in the pitches and getting that intensity, and you can do that any number of ways."
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.