A's lineup -- Cespedes swinging fifth

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A's lineup -- Cespedes swinging fifth

The Oakland Athletics begin meaningful baseball at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Friday with a third consecutive regular season game against the Seattle Mariners, the first two having been split in Japan.

Here is the lineup manager Bob Melvin has decided to go with for their home opener:

1. Weeks -- 2B
2. Crisp -- LF
3. Reddick -- RF
4. Gomes -- DH
5. Cespedes -- CF
6. Suzuki -- C
7. Donaldson -- 3B
8. Ka'aihue -- 1B
9. Pennington -- SS
McCarthy -- P

Climbing the ladder: While the A's expect Yoenis Cespedes to be a three- or four-hitter, Melvin has made it clear they intend on moving Cespedes around to keep off the pressure of producing from the heart of the lineup, especially while he adjusts to living in a new country.

From the looks of it, though, the A's are quickly elevating him to the heart of the order. After batting seventh in his first MLB game in Japan, the A's slid him up to sixth for Game 2.

Friday, he'll hit fifth after DH Jonny Gomes, protected by catcher Kurt Suzuki.

Healthy again: Cliff Pennington re-joins the starting lineup after missing the A's past two games. He was held out for precautionary reasons after leaving Oakland's Monday contest at AT&T with a tight groin.

Who's on first: The A's have a super-platoon at first base. While they wait for Daric Barton and his strained shoulder to come off the DL, they will rotate between Brandon Allen and Kila Ka'aihue, each left-handed bats.

Melvin noted during the Bay Bridge Series he thought Ka'aihue was handling left-handed pitchers better than Allen, and sure enough, it's Ka'aihue who gets the nod against Seattle's left-handed pitcher Jason Vargas.

A's president: No revenue sharing puts stronger focus on new ballpark

A's president: No revenue sharing puts stronger focus on new ballpark

New A’s president Dave Kaval said Friday in a press conference that the team would do everything in its power to make up for the loss of revenue-sharing money from Major League Baseball, but he did not address how the team’s payroll would be impacted for the time being.

Baseball’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement eliminates the hefty annual check the A’s have received from the more prosperous clubs, reportedly around $35 million last year. That money will be incrementally reduced, with the A’s receiving 25 percent less each of the next four years until it’s phased out completely.

Kaval said the loss of that money simply underscores the importance of the A’s identifying a new ballpark site in Oakland so they can build a stadium to open up new streams of cash. Kaval said he’s walked all of the sites the team is considering around the city, but he didn’t offer a timetable for when a site would be chosen or when construction might begin.

In the meantime, the A’s president stressed repeatedly in a media conference call Friday that all of the revenue the team does generate going forward will be invested back either into the on-field product or the fan experience at The Coliseum.

“I think the key thing is being smart about deploying resources,” Kaval said. “There’s no silver bullet. You have to address a variety of aspects with folks’ interaction with the club.”

He added that could include everything from broadcasting to “the hot dog you eat to players you watch.”

Until a new ballpark becomes reality, the challenge is how the A’s can generate the revenue they’re losing from MLB while still playing in the antiquated Oakland Coliseum, which hardly entices fans to come out and has become the butt of national jokes for numerous plumbing issues.

Kaval mentioned boosting ticket sales and improving sponsorship deals at The Coliseum as two potential revenue streams, though he adamantly declared the A’s won’t be raising ticket prices.

As for how payroll will be affected, if at all, Kaval only said that he’s dedicated “to providing all the tools needed for Billy Beane and David Forst and our baseball operations staff.”

Last season the A’s had an Opening Day payroll of $86.8 million, according to the Cot’s Baseball Contracts website. There’s speculation that that total will shrink due to the loss in revenue sharing.

It’s undeniable that the A’s financial future is tied to finally getting a new ballpark. They’re considering rebuilding on the current Coliseum site, which is complicated until the Raiders’ situation gets resolved, but are also considering locations at Howard Terminal and near Laney College.

Kaval, also president of the San Jose Earthquakes, was instrumental in getting a soccer stadium built for that team. Without talking specific sites, he said he’s spent lots of time driving around and walking all the locations the A’s are considering.

“It’s been exciting to visit the locations, walk them, squint and kind of envision where the stadium would be and the views. And how it could transform the different communities (around) the site.”

He maintains his belief that a “ballpark village” type environment is critical so that fans have motivation to visit the area even when games aren’t being played. Kaval has also said he thinks such a development is possible at The Coliseum.

He was asked if there was a renewed sense of urgency to the ballpark search given the elimination of revenue sharing.

“I think building a ballpark is something you do one time in your life. It’s a generational thing. I think it’s something we want to be very thoughtful about and make the right decision.”

Padres trade former A's All-Star catcher to Nationals

Padres trade former A's All-Star catcher to Nationals

WASHINGTON — The Washington Nationals have reacquired catcher Derek Norris from the San Diego Padres for minor league right-hander Pedro Avila.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo announced the trade Friday.

Norris, a 2007 first-round pick of the Nationals, hit .186 with 14 home runs and 42 RBIs last season for San Diego. The 27-year-old is a career .233 hitter in five major league seasons with the Oakland Athletics and Padres.

Washington sent Norris to Oakland for left-hander Gio Gonzalez in 2011. He returns to the Nationals, who avoided arbitration with catcher Jose Lobaton on Thursday.

All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos is a free agent who will miss the start of the season after knee surgery.

Avila, 19, went 7-7 with a 3.48 ERA in 20 starts for Single-A Hagerstown last season.