PHOENIX (AP) -- From the first day, Oakland manager Bob Geren tabbed Dana Eveland as the front-runner to join the Athletics' starting rotation.
Eveland's five shutout innings in the A's 6-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Monday likely sealed his spot.Geren announced afterward that Eveland will start the first exhibition game in Tokyo, with Justin Duchscherer starting the other."I still don't want to get my hopes up," Eveland said. "I've been let down so many times before that I try not to do that."Eveland was already been told he's going to Japan with the rest of the team, and with Chad Gaudin, who made his spring debut with two perfect innings, a little behind schedule, the left-hander got one of the starts there."I'm excited about the trip and excited that I pitched well enough to go to Japan," said Eveland, who came to the A's from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the trade for Dan Haren. "I like the way I'm throwing the ball. It's the best I felt all spring. Take the two walks away and that's one of my better outings."Eveland gave up three hits, walked two, struck out four and induced nine ground ball outs against the Royals before giving way to Gaudin, who is recovering from hip and foot surgery.Gaudin, who struck out one, figures to be the A's fourth starter and is slated for his first start on April 12 when the A's travel to Cleveland."It went well; I was happy with my performance and how everything went," Gaudin said. "It was what I expected. I felt good enough but my body and my arm are at a different stage. I'm still getting my pitch count up."Gaudin will remain in Arizona to continue his program.Royals starter Brian Bannister pitched five innings for the first time, giving up three runs on six hits with a walk and a strikeout."I got hurt today because they were swinging at the first or second pitch," Bannister said. "That's different for them. I'm trying to be aggressive and go after hitters. I'm doing things that will translate into the season."Bannister appeared in an 'A' game for the first time in 10 days, although he did pitch against minor leaguers last Wednesday."I'm continuing to get better every outing," he said. "My arm strength continues to get better and my fastball I'm getting it down better."Donnie Murphy doubled and drove in two runs for the A's, while Mark Ellis had two hits, including a double.Joey Gathright and Tony Pena each had two hits for the Royals.
Green beer was added to the menu at Phoenix Muni. Sales were brisk. ... A's DH Mike Sweeney visited with his former teammates before the game, and one woman yelled out, "We miss you Mike Sweeney!" ... Royals 2B Mark Grudzielanek (low back strain), OF Jose Guillen (flu) and C Miguel Olivio (slight groin strain) remain day-to-day. ... The A's reassigned LHP Gio Gonzalez and LHP Greg Smith to their minor league camp. ... The A's extended their winning streak to seven games, matching their seven-game streak in 2004. ... This was the lone meeting of the spring between the two teams.