Most skippers say that calling players into their office and dashing their dreams is the toughest part of the gig. Former A's skipper Art Howe, now the bench coach for former A's infield coach Ron Washington with the Rangers, says the process "can be heart-breaking."
Like Washington, Geren is a big-league manager for the first time this year. But Geren on Friday said his eight years as a Minor League manager provided what's proved to be valuable experience in delivering bad news.
"You have to do the same kind of thing no matter what level you're managing, and you might actually do more of it in the Minors," he said before the A's took on the visiting Padres at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. "There's a lot of coming and going, and when the big-league club makes a move, you kind of have to mirror it. So it's not something new to me."
That doesn't mean he likes it, of course.
"I don't dread it, but it's no fun," Geren said. "But hey, it's part of the job. And you get to deliver good news sometimes, too. It all kind of evens out."
Crosby goes deep: Shortstop Bobby Crosby, making his second Cactus League appearance of the spring, again looked plenty prepared to open the season. He singled and scored in the first inning, launched a moon-shot of a homer to left to open the bottom of the third, and stroked a single up the middle in the fifth before being replaced by a pinch runner.
"It gives you confidence," said Crosby, who admitted to being "a little bit surprised" by how well he's seeing the ball.
Crosby, who is recovering from fractured vertebra, also looked strong on defense when, while running to cover second base on a hit-and-run, he had to twist in the opposite direction to field a ground ball.
"It was great," he said. "It seems I've been getting tested every game, and so far it's been no problem. It feels good."
Geren batted Crosby second in his lineup in an effort to get him as many at-bats as possible. Left fielder Shannon Stewart led off, and catcher Jason Kendall, who is expected to open the season in the leadoff spot, batted eighth.
Crosby, who went 1-for-3 with a double in his debut Wednesday night, said he'll start again Saturday against the Rangers and get at least three or four at-bats.
Game notes: In his penultimate spring start, Opening Day starter Dan Haren struck out the side in the first inning, but it wasn't as sweet as it sounds. Before the first strikeout, he gave up a single to Terrmel Sledge and a home run to Jose Cruz Jr., and he gave up four hits in the frame. The first two Padres batters in the second singled, too, leading to a sacrifice fly by Cruz. In all, Haren gave up six earned runs on 11 hits and a walk while striking out six over five-plus innings. "I had a lot of stuff to work on today, and I got a lot accomplished," said Haren, who pitched inside to right-handed hitters more than usual. "I'm not too concerned about the results." ... Designated hitter Mike Piazza's three-run homer pushed him into the team lead in RBIs at 15, and 12 of them have come in his past 12 games. Outfielder/first baseman Nick Swisher has 14 RBIs. ... Kendall, whose single Thursday against the Royals was wiped from the official stats when the game was rained out in the fourth inning, hasn't gotten a hit in his past seven games. The 0-for-19 slide has dropped his batting average to .184 (7-for-38) overall. ... Utility man Antonio Perez, playing in the outfield for the third time this spring, made a nice running catch of a foul ball in the Padres' bullpen. "He's showing his natural athletic ability," Geren said of Perez, who went 1-for-1 and is batting .348. ... Closer Huston Street, who pitched a scoreless eighth inning, hasn't allowed a run in any of his eight appearances this spring. ... Non-roster infielder Donnie Murphy, who won the game with a double in the ninth, raised his batting average to .417.
Dribblers ...: Outfielder Bobby Kielty, working his way back from early-March knee surgery, played in a simulated game Friday morning at the club's Papago Park complex. Geren was there, and though he couldn't remember many specifics, he said Kielty's timing was a little off. "It looked like his first game," Geren said. ... Because the A's wanted Haren to work deep into the game against the Padres, relievers Jay Witasick, Alan Embree, Kiko Calero and Chad Gaudin pitched in the simulated game. ... Gaudin has been limited by a bone bruise on his foot for the past several days. ... As a result of Thursday's rain, the team took morning batting practice up the street at the Papago complex. ... Geren said between 33 and 35 players will be with the team for the three-game exhibition series against the Giants next weekend, with final cuts to be made after Sunday's finale at McAfee Coliseum. ... The A's signed righty Colby Lewis, who was recently released by the Nationals. He's expected to start the season as a member of Triple-A Sacramento's starting rotation. ... Right-hander Scott Dunn was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento after Friday's game.
Up next: A's righty Esteban Loaiza will face righty Brandon McCarthy of the host Rangers in a 1:05 p.m. PT start Saturday in Surprise.
Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.