ARLINGTON, Texas — A day after pulling a surprise and activating third baseman Eric Chavez from the disabled list earlier than expected, the A's kept the juicy story lines coming Friday.
Four new players joined the 25-man roster and took up residence in the clubhouse before the A's went out and fell 3-1 to the Texas Rangers.
Among the newcomers was top prospect Carlos Gonzalez. And if A's fans are wondering where their team's offense might be hiding over the past three games, they can at least take solace in the performance of the smooth-moving outfielder in his major league debut.
Starting in center field and hitting eighth, Gonzalez doubled in his first two at-bats, drove in the A's lone run and fell just short of making a sensational diving grab in the fourth inning.
Also called up from Triple-A Sacramento were outfielder Travis Buck and reliever Brad Ziegler, while reliever Kiko Calero was activated from the 60-day disabled list.
Those moves were necessary because designated hitter Mike Sweeney (left knee inflammation), outfielder Ryan Sweeney (left toe contusion) and reliever Joey Devine (right elbow inflammation) all were placed on the 15-day DL.
That makes 15 DL transactions with roughly two-thirds of the season left for the A's, who tied an Oakland record last season with 22 DL moves.
Because room had to be cleared on the 40-man roster for Calero and Ziegler, left-hander Lenny DiNardo and infielder Kevin Melillo (playing in Triple-A) were designated for assignment.
"I feel sorry for our medical staff right now," said Justin Duchscherer, who took Friday's loss. "We've had a bad string of injuries. I have confidence in all of the guys that got called up. Guys don't get called up to the big leagues by accident."
Gonzalez was one of six players obtained from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the December trade of Dan Haren, and he was the consensus pick as the A's No. 1 prospect entering spring training.
He poked a blooper down the left-field line that went for a double in his first at-bat against Kevin Millwood. With a runner on second in the fifth, Gonzalez turned on a 1-2 breaking ball and shot a run-scoring double down the right-field line to tie the game 1-1.
Emerging A's killer Brandon Boggs put Texas ahead for good with a sacrifice fly in the fifth. Boggs notched his second three-RBI night against Oakland this season, as the A's dropped their third straight.
Gonzalez sprinted all out for a Boggs blooper that fell for a double in the fourth for Texas' first run. The ball hit his glove as he fully extended, but he couldn't hold on as shortstop Bobby Crosby went hurdling by him.
"A great first game," A's manager Bob Geren said. "When you can go double to left and double to right "... On that blooper, the break he got and the acceleration (he showed), that was an inch away from being a great play."
Gonzalez said he was very excited before the game but tried to keep things in perspective.
"It's baseball, it's nothing new," he said with a smile. "It's not like I'm going to play basketball or something. "... When I got to second base (after his first double), Michael Young and those guys congratulated me. That's something I'm not going to forget."
It will be interesting how the A's sort out their outfield situation when Ryan Sweeney, another highly touted rookie, comes off the DL. Sweeney had looked very good in center himself in recent games.
On Friday, the A's started an outfield of Emil Brown, Gonzalez and Buck, left to right. Jack Cust was the DH, where he'll likely be regularly with both Frank Thomas and Mike Sweeney on the DL.
Nine total player transactions in one day for a single team is mind-boggling. According to an A's official, the team had never called up four players from the minors on the same day (excluding September, when rosters expand).
General manager Billy Beane and assistant GM David Forst were both holed up in draft preparation meetings and did not return phone calls.
Contact Joe Stiglich at firstname.lastname@example.org.