Camp Notes: Ginter Auditioning

Ginter could hit his way onto another team.

Keith Ginter isn't going to make the A's Opening Day roster, and he's fine with that. He has a chance to make an impression on the other 29 teams this spring, which he did with a two-run double Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox, but he doesn't want to think about that.

"I came in here last year and put all kinds of pressure on myself," Keith Ginter said. "I'm not about to start doing that again this year. In my mind, I'm going to Triple-A, I'm getting ready for the season -- and if something else happens, it happens."

A year ago, Ginter was competing for a second base job with Mark Ellis and Marco Scutaro. He didn't hit much in spring training, then hit .161 in 137 regular-season at-bats and became the odd man out.

This year, he's off the 40-man roster and likely headed for Triple-A Sacramento if he doesn't hook up with another team.

Ginter knows two things are working against him: He has a guaranteed contract for $1,425,000 (signed with Milwaukee two years ago); and teams are more likely to look at last year's numbers than those of 2004, when he hit 19 home runs in 386 at-bats.

"Going down (to Sacramento) and playing every day, getting 350 to 400 at-bats, is the best thing for me," Ginter said. "I'll get to pick where I play next year because I'm pretty sure I'll be non-tendered. I'll pick the best place to play and go as a non-roster invite."

Notebook

--RHP Chad Gaudin started Tuesday's game against the White Sox, since RHP Esteban Loaiza is pitching in the World Baseball Classic and RHP Rich Harden is being used carefully this spring, and he allowed three runs in three innings, including two solo homers. Gaudin was acquired in an offseason trade with Toronto.

--For Friday's split-squad games, the A's are sending RHP Rich Harden to face the Royals in Surprise and having RHP Kirk Saarloos face the Angels in Tempe, which is much closer to the A's home in Phoenix. But manager Ken Macha denied it was to avoid having a division rival see Harden.

--DH Frank Thomas, who may not play in any Cactus League games, didn't make the trip to Tucson to see his old teammates. Thomas took batting practice for the first time Monday and was told by trainers to take all of Tuesday off.

--INF Scott McClain continued an impressive early spring with an RBI single off the White Sox's Mark Buehrle. McClain has driven in at least one run in three straight games. He starred for teh Cubs in spring training in 2004 and almost forced his way on the team by posting an OPS of better than 1200.

--OF Nick Swisher, who gets sent on practically all of the A's long road trips in spring, had two hits in three at-bats Tuesday against the White Sox in Tucson. Manager Ken Macha said he likes having the outgoing Swisher around on long bus trips, but Swisher said before leaving Tuesday morning, "I'm sleeping on this one."

--Do spring training games mean anything? The A's better hope not because they are off to a poor start, record-wise, at 1-5. It is believed to be the team's worst start since records were kept for spring training. Much of that may be due to the A's thin pitching staff this spring, which has been missing three WBC participants and two players due to injury (Harden and Justin Duchscherer).

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