A's Insider notes: Jackson adjusts to hot corner

May 24, 2011, 5:19 am
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May 23, 2011A'S PAGE A'SVIDEOPaul Gutierrez

CoJack tested at the hot corner - He had a wry grin on his face when he said it, so he could have been joking. "I could tell you I'm super confidentbut I have to get out there," Conor Jackson said of his first career start at third base, and his fifth-ever appearance there. "I'll just go out there and be super-athletic." He merely needed to be competent. And he was more that that, actually. The Angels tested him early when Erick Aybar dropped a sacrifice bunt in front of him, and Jackson cleanly fielded it and threw him out. Jackson also deftly fielded a sharply-hit short-hop at his ankles and threw out the speedy Reggie Willits in the second. And Jackson survived a collision on the mound with first baseman Daric Barton to catch Mark Trumbo's high pop-up to end the sixth. "It's an opportunity for me," Jackson said, before the game. "I'm not going to shy away from any at-bats." For the past month, Jackson had been working with coach Mike Gallego on his fielding as the outfielder-by-trade has also played first base this season. "It's the same thing, in reverse," quipped A's manager Bob Geren. "Except, you have to throw the ball." Jackson also made two more clean plays in the ill-fated eighth, spearing hot shots from Bobby Abreu and Mark Trumbo for a pair of fielders choice outs.

Kouz improves - Jackson got the start at third because Andy LaRoche started at second, in place of Mark Ellis, who merely got the day off, and Kevin Kouzmanoff was still hindered by his right groin he strained on Saturday. "I thought it was a lot (more) serious at first," he said of the injury, which he incurred trying to beat out a ground ball at AT&T Park. "It was a relief when I woke up the next morning. That's the biggest test - how it feels the next morning." Geren said he was not "ready to use him" Monday night in the opener of the four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels, though Kouzmanoff did take batting practice and some grounders to test it out. He said he was also slowed a month ago by a similar tweak. If he's able to play Tuesday, the A's could definitely use his bat. He is 9-for-28 with three home runs in his career against Dan Haren, who is scheduled to start for the Angels. "Really?" Kouzmanoff said with a quizzical smile when I told him of his past success against Haren.Fuentes demoted? - Yes, and no. You see, it only seems as though Brian Fuentes has been the A's closer, what with his team-high nine saves. "I could use anybody," Geren said. "It's been that way, and everybody knows that." To prove his point, Geren used Fuentes in the eighth inningof a tie game. He walked Aybar, then got Bobby Abreu to hit into a fielders choice before giving way to Michael Wuertz. And oh yeah, Fuentes' man scored so he took the loss to fall to 1-7. Ouch. A day earlier, Fuentes seemed to question management's decision to use him in a non-save situation against the Giants, wondering aloud why the A's would not use fresh arms just called up. "When you're at home and it's a tie game, that's when just about every manager uses his closerthat's normal for a closer," Geren said. "When you're on the road, you don't want to do that unless you're forced to." Geren said he was limited to using either Jerry Blevins, Fautino De Los Santos or Fuentes. He chose Fuentes.
RELATED: Battle of the Bay Podcast -- Fuentes freaks
Moscoso to get the call - The move will not be made official until tomorrow, but, as expected, right-hander Guillermo Moscoso will be called up from triple-A Sacramento to start in place of the injured Tyson Ross. "He's pretty consistently throwing strikes and he's ready to go," Geren said. In eight appearances for the River Cats, including seven starts, Moscoso is 3-2 with a 4.02 ERA. He has 43 strikeouts and 13 walks, but has not gone more than six innings. A corresponding roster move will have to be made as well and the thinking is that reliever Fautino De Los Santos will be shipped back to Sacramento.Blevins DFA'd, but stays on 40-man? - To make room for Josh Outman, the A's designated for assignment Blevins, though announced the left-hander remained on the club's 40-man roster. Wait, what? According to the A's, Blevins was DFA'd "for procedural reasons. He was not optioned immediately because his optional waivers had not been secured at the time of (the) roster move." So, Blevins is expected to head to Sacramento. Got it?