ANAHEIM -- The A's announced on Tuesday that Manny Ramirez will begin a 10-day stint with Triple-A Sacramento on Saturday, putting him on track to join Oakland in Minnesota on May 30, when his 50-game drug suspension concludes.
That was the goal all along, though the club had yet to confirm anything before making the plan official.
Ramirez, whose 40th birthday coincides with the day of his scheduled A's debut, has been participating in extended spring training games in Arizona. Fans interested in seeing him in Sacramento will be able to do so May 25-28.
His addition to the big league lineup will create a difficult roster decision for the A's, who already have designated-hitter options in Seth Smith and Jonny Gomes. Neither is likely to be removed from the roster, given the way both have been swinging the bat, so it's possible a left-handed first baseman gets sent down. Daric Barton, who entered the day mired in a 1-for-20 slump, has options, while Kila Ka'aihue does not.
Smith and Gomes, meanwhile, will likely see sparse playing time come June, since left fielder Coco Crisp (inner ear infection) and center fielder Yoenis Cespedes (left hand) are expected back from the disabled list by then.
A's claim lefty Blackley off waivers
ANAHEIM -- The A's claimed lefty reliever Travis Blackley off waivers from the Giants on Tuesday, yet again adding to their Aussie contingent.
Blackley, who represents the fourth Australian to have appeared on the A's roster this year, spent part of the 2010 season in Oakland's organization. He began the 2012 campaign at Triple-A Fresno, posting a 0.39 ERA in four games -- three starts -- before being selected by the Giants, for whom he allowed five earned runs in five innings. San Francisco designated him for assignment on Sunday.
A's manager Bob Melvin, briefly acquainted with Blackley while both were with the Mariners and D-backs, said the southpaw will mainly be used for length out of the bullpen upon his arrival. Blackley is expected to report Wednesday in Texas, at which time the A's will make a corresponding 25-man roster move. To clear a spot for him on the 40-man, Joey Devine was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.
Oakland is already equipped with four left-handed relievers, meaning one of them is likely to be sent out Wednesday. Pedro Figueroa, who has allowed a run in each of his last two outings, is a strong possibility.
Major League Baseball is considering picking two teams to open the 2014 season in Australia, and the A's are said to be extremely interested. Recent acquisitions -- Blackley joins fellow Aussies Grant Balfour, Luke Hughes and Rich Thompson in the A's organization -- suggest they're doing their best to make it happen.
"We're trying to get them all," Melvin joked.
Brandon Inge, nursing a tight right groin, was held out of the A's lineup for a third straight day on Tuesday. However, Inge said he was "close" to a return, and Melvin noted the third baseman will likely be back in action by Thursday at the latest.
Yoenis Cespedes, on the DL with a strained muscle in his left hand, is participating in all baseball activities back in the Bay Area except swinging the bat. Melvin said there is no timeline on when he'll resume swinging.