KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mike Sweeney is itching to dig into a major league batter's box again, and Wednesday's rainout of the A's-Royals game at Kauffman Stadium delayed that wait even longer.
Sweeney was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list Wednesday as he tries to salvage something from a season in which he's missed nearly two-thirds of the A's games. The rainout gave Sweeney some time to discuss his future, and right now he's not sure that future includes baseball past this season.
"There's probably a greater chance of me not playing next year than playing," Sweeney, 35, said. "I need microfracture surgery on both knees, and that's six to nine months (of rehab). Right now on paper it doesn't look great.
"In '09, if I'm not playing baseball in the big leagues, I'll probably be on fly-fishing trips or coaching my little boy Michael's T-ball games in San Diego."
It's quite possible that another distinguished career might end with the A's this season. Frank Thomas was placed on the 60-day DL to make room for Sweeney on the 40-man roster. That ends his season.
Thomas, 40, is dealing with a lingering quadriceps injury. But he's said before that he wants to keep playing at least through next season.
Even if Sweeney were to undergo microfracture surgery now, he pointed out that it wouldn't have him ready for the start of next season. So with the prospect of retirement, he's trying to milk
Though he wouldn't close the door entirely on coming back.
"Everybody thought Brett Favre had retired," he said. "The next chapter of my life has yet to be written."
Wednesday's rainout will be made up as part of a doubleheader today. The first game is scheduled for a 2:10 p.m. start (Pacific time) with the second game 30 minutes after completion of the first one (about 5:30). Only the second game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.
The A's aren't altering their starting rotation, as Wednesday's scheduled starter, Dana Eveland, goes in the early game. Dan Meyer starts the second.
But with a doubleheader already set for Saturday in Baltimore, the A's have five games over a three-day span, meaning their bullpen could need reinforcements from the minors.
"We'll see how the doubleheader goes (today)," manager Bob Geren said.
Dallas Braden starts Friday against the Orioles. Greg Smith will start one game Saturday with Justin Duchscherer a possibility for the other game if his right hip feels up to it. If not, Geren said, Josh Outman or Kirk Saarloos could go.
Ready for more
As have Sweeney and Thomas, reliever Keith Foulke has seen his season derailed by injury. Foulke has served two lengthy DL stints after missing all of 2007 with an elbow injury.
But Foulke believes his stuff feels better now than it has since 2003, though he isn't translating that to consistent success in games. Even while closing for Boston's World Series team of 2004, Foulke said mechanical flaws were creeping in.
"I feel like my fastball has that snap (now)," he said. "If I'm throwing it at 88 (mph), it still gets in on guys. My cutter breaks late."
That has Foulke encouraged about pitching next season, though looking at the A's collection of prospects, he knows it might have to be elsewhere.
— Joe Stiglich