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Athletics vs. Tigers, Starting Lineup Preview: Andy LaRoche Appears To Officially Be a Geren Favorite

The Oakland Athletics look to get back on the winning track as they host the Detroit Tigers in the third game of a four-game set at the Oakland Coliseum. The A’s send out lefty Dallas Braden to face Tigers ace Justin Verlander. Braden is making his third start of the year and is coming off a strong outing against the White Sox in which he gave up one run over six innings. Verlander is making his fourth start of the season. He gave up two runs in a complete game loss against the Texas Ragners, and gave up three runs in each of his first two starts.

The A’s are continue their trend of getting Andy LaRoche into the lineup, giving him a shot at second base today as Mark Ellis takes the day off. LaRoche is hitless the last two nights but had a six-game hitting streak prior to that. It’s safe to say that for now LaRoche is a Geren favorite. He had a strong spring training, with a line of .333/.388/.583, leading the team with four home runs.

LaRoche went from top prospect to washout between 2003 and 2010. From 2003 to 2006 he made the progression from Rookie League to AAA. In 55 games in AAA to wrap up 2006, LaRoche had a line of .322/.400/.550 with 10 home runs and 35 RBIs. However, he struggled out of the gates at the major league level in 2007, hitting .226/.365/.312 in 35 games with the Dodgers. He went back to AAA Las Vegas and was successful. In 2008, he spent time with the Dodgers and Pirates after a trade and hit a combined .166/.252/.508 in 76 games. He was given further chances with the Pirates in 2009 and 2010 but it just never really clicked.

Now he’s just trying to prove he still has some of the talent that made him one of the top prospects in the game. He’s trying to prove he’s more than a AAAA type of talent: too good for AAA but not good enough for the majors. He’s off to a solid enough start with the A’s, but it’s way too early to tell whether he’s gotten over the hump. The upside is the A’s are giving him some consistent at bats. We’ll see if LaRoche can take advantage of the opportunity.

Oakland Athletics
1. Coco Crisp, CF
2. Daric Barton, 1B
3. David DeJesus, RF
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Hideki Matsui, DH
6. Kurt Suzuki, C
7. Andy LaRoche, 2B
8. Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B
9. Cliff Pennington, SS

Detroit Tigers
1. Austin Jackson, CF
2. Ryan Raburn, LF
3. Magglio Ordonez, DH
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Victor Martinez, C
6. Jhonny Peralta, SS
7. Brennan Boesch RF
8. Brandon Inge, 3B
9. Ramon Santiago, 2B