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Wedge eager to get players in games early on


OAKLAND -- Like most managers, Eric Wedge likes to get all his players into games early in the season to keep them sharp. With Kelly Shoppach getting the call at catcher on Thursday, all the position players have now received a start.

Lefty specialist Lucas Luetge was the last reliever to get into action, pitching the eighth inning in Thursday's 8-2 loss. So the only player on the 25-man roster yet to see action is Blake Beavan, who makes the start Friday against the White Sox in Chicago.

Shortstop Brendan Ryan and designated hitter Kendrys Morales got the day off Thursday, with Robert Andino playing for Ryan and Raul Ibanez taking the DH duties.

"Day game after a night game, Brendan had played three games in a row," Wedge said. "No different than Morales. Early on in the season here, we're playing a long stretch of games. Coming out of Spring Training, we've got to be careful with these guys.

"It's my job more so than anybody to make sure we look at the big picture -- 162 -- and make sure we get these guys working into it appropriately so they can be as strong as they need to be as quickly as they can be. That's the early challenge with getting a team where it needs to be.

"You don't want them too far removed from Spring Training because you can lose it quickly in this game. It's tough to stay sharp. A day off is a big deal in this game and when you have multiple days off, it will add up in a hurry. So we want to make sure we keep their edge."

Wedge isn't alone in that tactic. A's manager Bob Melvin had started each of his bench players by Wednesday.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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