TORONTO -- A flurry of rehabbing A's players are making notable strides, and on Tuesday, head trainer Nick Paparesta gave updates on many of them:
Lefty Brett Anderson, on the mend from Tommy John surgery, will make his second rehab start Thursday with Triple-A Sacramento in Salt Lake City. He'll aim to throw around 60 pitches over four innings. It is not known how many innings or pitches the A's would like to see from him in the Minors before allowing him to rejoin the rotation.
Dallas Braden (shoulder) threw a 33-pitch bullpen on Tuesday and, barring any setbacks, will throw to hitters in his next outing.
Right-hander Brandon McCarthy, nursing his sore shoulder back to health, is still slated to throw three innings -- using 15 pitches in each -- in a simulated game in Arizona on Wednesday. If all goes well, he'll throw a bullpen on Friday, at which point the club will determine his next step.
Third baseman Scott Sizemore, who underwent knee surgery in March, has begun what Paparesta called an offseason conditioning program. He's running well, and his goal is to join the team for all pregame activities, including batting practice, by September.
Righty reliever Joey Devine, rehabbing from his second Tommy John surgery, will revisit Dr. James Andrews soon and hopefully begin his throwing program in August. Devine, though feeling "fantastic" according to Paparesta, isn't expected back until April of next year at the earliest.
Pennington status quo as A's consider options
TORONTO -- While Cliff Pennington's health is not improving, the A's desire to add a shortstop to their roster by the Trade Deadline on July 31 is only intensifying.
Over the last 48 hours, Pennington -- stationed on the disabled list with left elbow tendinitis -- has remained status quo, according to head trainer Nick Paparesta, and if progress isn't made by Thursday, the A's plan to send him back to the doctor.
Pennington's health, though, will not be the deciding factor in the A's decision to add an infielder, given that it was his season-long offensive struggles that influenced Oakland officials to seek outside help in the first place.
On Tuesday, the A's were reportedly linked to Marlins infielder and three-time All-Star Hanley Ramirez, who can play both shortstop and third base. Miami is reportedly seeking top-notch youngsters in return for Ramirez, who is making $15 million this season. Another $15.5 million is owed to him in 2013, with $16 million coming to him in 2014.
Though the A's are currently owners of the lowest payroll in baseball, they do have money to spend and, more importantly, the prospects -- particularly pitching -- to deal away to make such a trade happen. Entering Tuesday, the 28-year-old Ramirez was hitting .247 with 14 home runs and 47 RBIs in 92 games this season.
The A's front office is notoriously quiet around this time of year, providing no comment on any speculation involving potential trade targets. Manager Bob Melvin, meanwhile, continually states he only wants to focus on his current squad.
"I like the 25 guys here," he said on Tuesday. "We've made some changes over the course of the season to try and enhance deficiencies we've had. ... We're not looking into August and September right now. You can't help but hear the talk and notice where you are in the standings, but that doesn't take away from our focus on today."
Weeks drops to ninth with Gomes in two-hole
TORONTO -- A slumping Jemile Weeks found himself hitting ninth for the first time this season in Tuesday's series opener against the Blue Jays, with manager Bob Melvin noting the move had more to do with his temporary replacement in the No. 2 slot.
That would be Jonny Gomes, who made his third start of the season there -- he's 4-for-8 in his previous two stints -- but first with both Weeks and leadoff batter Coco Crisp in the lineup against Toronto lefty Brett Cecil.
"We've been playing more to matchups here recently," Melvin said. "We want to get Jonny up against the left-handed pitcher maybe a little earlier in the game."
Weeks, meanwhile, might benefit from a change of scenery, having struggled to the tune of a .183 average over his last 20 games, while watching his season mark drop to .216. However, the club still finds much value in his speed, particularly from the ninth spot, where he hit .394 with a .412 on-base percentage last year.
Last season he batted .303 with 36 RBIs in 97 games during a productive rookie season, but he's yet to showcase the same type of performance in his sophomore campaign.
"He's still grinding on it," Melvin said. "He just hasn't been able to put a long string together where he's getting a lot of hits."