Tuesday, March 27, 2007

2007 Preview: Oakland A's

Yes, they're still doing interleague play this year, and the Astros will be taking a tour through the American League West, with a trip to play the White Sox thrown in just because the AL west only has 4 teams and one of them is the Astros' "natural rival". Or, whoever makes the schedule just like rubbing in that '05 World Series. (But playing AT Chicago two straight years? Why?)
But anyway, the A's won the AL west last year, even though they only hit 55 batters. They'll be visiting Houston June 12th-14th, which is prime schedule real-estate for throwing Biggio's 288th plunk or giving up his 3000th hit. Biggio, as you probably know, is sitting at 2,930 hits. He recorded his 70th hit of the season on June 14th in 1996 and 1999, and on June 12th in 2001.

The A's have only hit Biggio once in franchise history (Chad Bradford on June 7, 2002 - on his only pitch of the outing), but they've gathered 3 pitchers on their roster who have plunked Biggio for teams prior to joining the A's, and they're taking a look at one more in spring training. Dan Haren hit 10 batters last year, and is the leading plunker among their returning players (Zito hit 13, but moved across the bay). Haren plunked Biggio for the Cardinals in 2003. They also have Joe Kennedy (not this one), who plunked Biggio in 2004 for Colorado, and Jay Witasick who could be the first pitcher to plunk Biggio for three different teams, if he adds the A's to the list. He threw plunk 150 for the Royals in 1999, and number 252 for San Diego in 2004. Erasmo Ramirez has been assigned to the A's minor league camp - he plunked Biggio in 2003 for the Rangers. If none of those pitchers feels like contributing another plunk to Biggio's quest, there's always Esteban Loaiza. He's never plunked Biggio, but he's thrown 73 plunks at other batters.

The A's hit 12 of their 55 batters in the 5th inning last year.

If your name is on the following list, the Oakland A's hit you with a pitch in 2006 (or there's a baseball player with the same name as you): Russ Adams, Danny Ardoin, Clint Barmes, Tony Batista, Adrian Beltre, Angel Berroa, Casey Blake, Willie Bloomquist (twice), Emil Brown, John Buck, David DeJesus, Johnny Estrada, Chone Figgins, Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Giambi (twice), Troy Glaus, Carlos Guillen, Ramon Hernandez, Omar Infante, Derek Jeter, Kenji Johjima, Reed Johnson (twice), Ian Kinsler, Jose Lopez (twice), Mark Loretta, Mike Matheny, Joe Mauer, Kevin Mench, Justin Morneau, Phil Nevin, Trot Nixon, David Ortiz, Lyle Overbay, Wily Mo Pena, Placido Polanco (twice), Jorge Posada (twice), Robb Quinlan, Jeremy Reed, Alex Rodriguez (twice), Chris Shelton, Grady Sizemore (twice), Mark Teixeira, Miguel Tejada, Yorvit Torrealba, Juan Uribe and Jason Varitek (twice).

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