Notes: Eveland feels right at home

Notes: Eveland feels right at home

PHOENIX -- In his first start for the A's, Dana Eveland wasn't thinking about his chances of earning the No. 5 spot in the starting rotation. He wasn't thinking about the differences between being a member of the Diamondbacks last year and of the Brewers in 2006. He was thinking about the opposition.

"I wasn't thinking about pitching for the A's, I was thinking about pitching against the Rockies again," Eveland said on Sunday after throwing two innings of one-run, four-hit ball. "I had a hard time pitching against the Rockies last year here in Spring Training. I had my one start [for the D-backs] last season against them and got hit around a little bit. That was my first thought."

Eveland was obtained along with five other players from the D-backs in the Dec. 14 trade that sent Dan Haren to Arizona. As does teammate Greg Smith, who was also part of that trade, Eveland has a shot at making the big club this spring, an opportunity that he said never materialized last year in Arizona.

Smith worked an effortless shutout two innings on Saturday against the Giants, whereas Eveland created much of his own trouble during the first inning against Colorado. An errant pickoff throw to first base and a wild pitch were part of an inning that ended when left fielder Carlos Gonzalez threw out Garrett Atkins at the plate, holding Colorado to a single run.

Gonzalez, by the way, was another Baby 'Back included in the big trade.

Manager Bob Geren wasn't happy with the way Eveland pitched in the first inning.

"But he made some adjustments and pitched much better in the second," Geren said after the A's came from behind to win the game, 3-2, with a pair of runs in the bottom of the ninth.

Eveland was shipped to Arizona before the 2007 season in the deal that netted starter Doug Davis for the D-backs and sent catcher Johnny Estrada to Milwaukee.

"It seemed like there was never any opportunity for me over there," Eveland said. "It seemed like they were set with 25 guys from Day 1. There was a shot, I guess, but the guys I was battling were doing so well -- Micah Owings and Enrique Gonzalez. There was not a lot I could do to compete with that. They flat out beat me, and that was just fine. I tip my hat to them. They are great ballplayers."

And over in the Oakland camp?

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"I'm going to get an opportunity over here, because there was no opportunity over there," he said. "Absolutely, this is one of the best places to be, with an organization like this. I feel right at home."

The Rockies game Eveland referred to occurred this past Sept. 1 at Chase Field. Eveland was knocked out in the third inning, having allowed five runs on five hits and two walks. The Diamondbacks won the game, 13-7, but Eveland made only two more relief appearances (both scoreless) the remainder of the season.

"Every organization tells you that you're one of their guys, that you're going to be part of the organization forever," he said. "It's the whole shpiel they like to give everybody, and the next thing you know, the next year you're traded. Then it's, 'OK, I see what you really meant.' It's part of baseball and it's not a big deal, but it's not the most fun thing to be part of."

This and that: Right-hander Joey Devine is suffering from back spasms. "He'll probably miss his next outing, but it's not that serious," said Geren. ... Right-hander Chad Gaudin survived his first bullpen session on Saturday and is slated to throw again on Monday, Geren said. Gaudin is slowly working his way back from hip and foot surgeries on Dec. 18. ... Outfielder Emil Brown sat out on Sunday because of a recurrence of the flu. He played on Saturday at Scottsdale against the Giants and went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a walk. ... Outfielder Ryan Sweeney has apparently improved enough from a bruised right knee that he should be able to play again by Tuesday, when the A's face the Mariners at home. Sweeney sustained the injury this past Thursday in the Cactus League opener against the Brewers at Maryvale when he collided with Milwaukee's power-hitting first baseman Prince Fielder.

Up next: The A's play the American League West rival Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium on Monday. Rich Harden makes his first start of the spring after an injury-filled 2007. Because of a sore right shoulder, Harden was limited to seven appearances (four starts) with a 1-2 record and 2.45 ERA. He made his last start of the season on July 7.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.