OAKLAND -- With two postponed contests and a doubleheader in the first five days of the 2014 campaign, A's manager Bob Melvin and his starters have been playing everything by ear.
Following Friday's postponement, Melvin moved scheduled starter Dan Straily back to Saturday, setting him up to face Mariners ace Felix Hernandez. In turn, Saturday's scheduled starter Tommy Milone will be skipped through his first time in the rotation, as Melvin will go with Opening Day starter Sonny Gray for Sunday's contest.
Since starting pitchers are creatures of habit, Melvin said the early-season changes have certainly presented a challenge for the manager and his pitching staff. But the optimistic Melvin also found a silver lining in Friday's postponement.
"That's the biggest thing, is that it gets you out of the routine that's important to you early in the season," Melvin said. "You play the cards you're dealt. Yesterday, I had a bullpen that probably wasn't anything close to full, and getting them a full day off for today, we'll be in a lot better shape."
Wednesday's doubleheader forced Triple-A righty Josh Lindblom into an emergency start for the A's, and Milone will be skipped, but things should settle down next week. Following Minnesota's home opener on Monday, the A's and Twins will have a rare Tuesday off before Oakland will wrap up the nine-game road trip with eight games in eight days.
Melvin said Oakland planned on giving Milone work this weekend in an effort to stay sharp, but the team didn't have any specifics to share. Later on Saturday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Milone would travel to Arizona to face Minor Leaguers on Sunday before rejoining the team in Minnesota.
A's support O.co Coliseum despite postponement
OAKLAND -- A day after Friday night's contest against the Mariners was postponed due to wet field conditions, the O.co Coliseum was soaked in sun for a matinee.
The cancellation was still a hot topic of discussion on Saturday in what's been an eventful week for the A's. Last Saturday's Spring Training finale against the Giants was rained out and featured the latest bout of plumbing problems for the Coliseum, while Tuesday's game against the Indians was canceled due to rain and forced a doubleheader on Wednesday.
Friday's postponement was the result of an organizational decision to leave the field uncovered overnight on Thursday, when the playing surface was covered by about one-third of an inch of rain. Despite last-ditch efforts by the grounds crew and a stop in rainfall about an hour before the game, the infield dirt was deemed unplayable.
At least A's reliever Sean Doolittle has a sense of humor about the situation.
"Isn't that the weirdest part about it? We lead the league in tarps. We could tarp so many things," Doolittle said, referring to the dozens of tarps that cover the third deck of seats in the Coliseum.
By late Saturday morning, the infield was in shape for Daric Barton to take ground balls at first base during batting practice.
"Yeah, it feels good," Barton said when running off the field.
Meanwhile, manager Bob Melvin didn't sound completely convinced that the field was 100 percent ready.
"It's playable," Melvin said. "We're used to an absolutely perfect field here, probably the best in the league. Where it came from yesterday to where it is today is pretty miraculous. So we're comfortable with it."
In recent years, Oakland's old stadium has made headlines for all the wrong reasons, including sewage backups and flooded clubhouses. Not to mention the A's are the only MLB team to share their facility, opened in 1966, with another professional team, the NFL's Oakland Raiders.
Doolittle has been one of the team's most vocal supporters of Oakland and the O.co Coliseum, but even he has to shake his head at the comedy of errors that has taken place at his home ballpark.
"Love playing here and I love the atmosphere that we have during the game, but it's one of those things where you never know what to expect," Doolittle said. "When something like yesterday happens, you're incredibly frustrated. But you're so frustrated past the point of being angry, you just have to laugh at it.
"The same thing for when the sewage backs up for the third or fourth time. Like, what are you going to do? Get mad again? You have to take in stride, because it's amazing. You never know what's going to happen next."
• Manager Bob Melvin said right-handed reliever Ryan Cook (shoulder) will pitch two innings and outfielder Craig Gentry (back) will play nine innings for Class A Stockton in Visalia on Saturday. Melvin said Cook and Gentry could return to action in the coming days, but they will need to be re-evaluated following Saturday's contest.
Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.