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03/10/2013 8:33 PM EDT
Anderson strains back in A's win over Arizona
OAKLAND 7, ARIZONA 5

PHOENIX (AP) -- Brett Anderson called it "pure athleticism at its
finest."



The fact that he could make light of what could have been a
serious situation for the Oakland A's was a bit of good news in
a 7-5 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.



Anderson, picked by manager Bob Melvin to start on opening day,
was just eight pitches into his second start of the spring when
trouble arose.



He had given up a leadoff single to Adam Eaton, then watched as
a sharp grounder by former Oakland teammate Cliff Pennington
caromed off the glove of third baseman Josh Donaldson and rolled
toward the back of the infield.



Eaton slowed momentarily, then tried to take an extra base when
he noticed no one was covering third. Anderson hustled over to
the bag, but the throw was a bit behind him, the ball got loose
and Eaton was safe.



Anderson walked back toward the mound, twisting his neck back
and forth. Melvin and team trainers came out and the left-hander
was pulled from the game without attempting to make a practice
throw.



The diagnosis was a strained muscle on the right side of his
upper deck. Anderson, attached to an electronic stimulation
device while sitting in front of his locker, called it a freak
play and said he didn't think it was anything serious. More
evaluation will come on Monday.



"It's a lot looser than it was when I was out there," Anderson
said. "The ball was thrown behind me, I turned and my neck
balled up, started to spasm."



He agreed with Melvin's decision to pull him.



"You don't want to overcompensate and hurt something else,"
Anderson said.



Said Melvin: "You never want to take a chance. But we are fairly
confident that he will be able to make his next start."



Oakland overcame an early 2-0 deficit with two runs in the
second inning and two more in the third, and pulled away.



Infielder Jed Lowrie, acquired Feb. 4 in a trade with Houston,
provided much of the offense with a two-run homer and an RBI
double.



Lowrie appears to be competing with Jemile Weeks for the
second-base job. Weeks was hitting well before being sidelined
with a bruised shoulder. Melvin said Weeks will get in some
at-bats at the A's nearby minor-league camp on Monday before
going back into the regular lineup.



"Lowrie has a couple of good at-bats every day. It doesn't seem
to matter if it's a right-hander or left-hander, he swings every
well," Melvin said.



Diamondbacks left-hander Tyler Skaggs, vying with lefty Patrick
Corbin and righty Randall Delgado to become the fifth starter,
again was inconsistent. He gave up four earned runs on four
hits, walked two and gave up the homer to Lowrie. His spring ERA
is 12.79.



"Numbers mean nothing in spring training, it's all about how you
feel, what coaches see," the 21-year-old Skaggs said. "It was
basically a confidence-builder and today just added to the
confidence I have out there."



NOTES: RHP Ian Kennedy, Arizona's opening day starter, pitched
what amounted to five innings in a "B" game at the team's
facility in nearby Scottsdale. He gave up one hit over four
innings and struck out three, although he was given an extra out
each inning. ... A's OF Yoenis Cespedes will be in Florida for
another day or two to greet 14 family members, including his
mother, who left Cuba with him two years ago but have been
delayed coming to America until now. ... When Arizona's
Venezuelan players return from the World Baseball Classic,
manager Kirk Gibson said that Martin Prado will be used strictly
at 3B after playing LF in the WBC. ... The A's optioned LHP
Andrew Werner and RHP Jesse Chavez to Triple-A Sacramento and
RHP Michael Ynoa to Class A Beloit.

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