Now Commenting On:

{"content":["opening_day" ] }

Duchscherer gets call vs. Hanshin

Duchscherer gets call vs. Hanshin

TOKYO -- It'll already be Easter Sunday in Japan when the A's take on the Hanshin Tigers in the second of their exhibition games here, but their stateside fans won't have to miss out on any egg hunts to catch the action live on MLB.TV.

The noon local time first pitch translates to 8 p.m. PT on Saturday, 11 p.m. ET.

"That's pretty cool," said A's manager Bob Geren, whose club took on the Yomiuri Giants in their first exhibition game here Saturday at 3 a.m. PT. "So if you're in Oakland, your Saturday night's all set. Just sit at the computer and watch the A's."

The exhibition games are part of Opening Series Japan 2008, which culminates in a two-game series between the defending champion Red Sox and A's that officially opens the regular season. Those games are set for Tuesday and Wednesday, with both games beginning at 3:05 a.m. PT/6:05 a.m. ET.

Right-hander Justin Duchscherer is expected to start for Oakland against Hanshin, which features a familiar face in Lew Ford, who played for the Twins from 2003-07. Ford made a highlight-reel catch in Hanshin's 6-5 loss to the Red Sox in the exhibition opener here earlier Saturday.

"There's a few guys here that I knew when I was with the Twins," said A's catcher Rob Bowen, who made his big league debut with Minnesota in 2003. "Some sort of pipeline, I guess."

Transitioning from the bullpen to the starting rotation, Duchscherer, who was a standout starter in the Minors, allowed five runs on nine hits and four walks over eight innings of Cactus League work this spring, and he'll be limited to fewer than 80 pitches against Hanshin.

"He's still on track to be right there by the time his first turn [during the regular season] comes up," said pitching coach Curt Young, adding that Duchscherer will start one of Oakland's three final exhibition games against the San Francisco Giants in the annual preseason Bay Bridge Series, March 28-30.

The way the A's schedule shakes out, righties Joe Blanton and Rich Harden will team up to handle the starting duties for the club's first four regular-season games, first here, then April 1-2 at McAfee Coliseum, also against the Red Sox. Oakland is off on April 3, and Duchscherer is tentatively scheduled to start against the visiting Cleveland Indians on April 4.

Duchscherer, who made 17 relief appearances in 2007 before being shelved by a strained right hip -- he underwent season-ending surgery on the hip July 11 -- threw in the bullpen at Tokyo Dome the day after the A's arrived in Japan, but he was the only Athletics player not on the field during batting practice before the exhibition game against Yomiuri.

Geren said Duchscherer was receiving treatment during batting practice and insisted his No. 3 starter wasn't hurt in any way, calling the right-hander's absence a "time thing."

Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"content":["opening_day" ] }
{"content":["opening_day" ] }
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español