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Athletics vs. Reds, Cactus League Schedule: Oakland Makes Home Debut With Split Squad Against Cincinnati

The Oakland Athletics continue their Cactus League schedule with their home opener at Phoenix Municipal Stadium at 12:05pm pacific time. The A’s will host the Cincinnati Reds in a split squad game and send out emerging starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez. After struggling his first two seasons, Gonzalez emerged last season with career bests in just about every category. He finished the season 15-9 with a 3.23 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, and 171 strikeouts in 200 2/3 inning. At this point he is slotted in as the third starter, but if Brett Anderson struggles with injury issues Gonzalez will need to step up even more for the A’s.

Today’s lineup will provide potential reserves Conor Jackson and Chris Carter a chance to continue getting some cuts early in camp. Jackson dealt with health issues this past year and thinks he’s back in game shape finally. Although Willingham, Crisp and DeJesus will be the likely starting outfielders, Jackson will be relied on as a key reserve given the past injury issues with the A’s.

Carter is in a different position in that he’s projected as an eventual started in the A’s outfield, but the odds are high that he’ll start the year in Sacramento. In a perfect world he would have a monster spring training and force the A’s to carry him on their 25-man roster.

The A’s will send out the following lineup:

1. Coco Crisp CF
2. Daric Barton 1B
3. Josh Willingham LF
4. Conor Jackson RF
5. Chris Carter DH
6. Landon Powell C
7. Andy LaRoche 2B
8. Wes Timmons 3B
9. Eric Sogard SS