Nick Punto, Billy Burns in the house for first A’s-Dodgers Cactus League meeting of 2014.

Nick Punto

Nick Punto’s contract with the A’s nearly doubled his $1.5 million salary from 2013. (Getty Images)


The first Cactus League meeting between the Dodgers and Oakland A’s contains a few interesting subplots (none of which have anything do with the 1988 World Series, but if you’re feeling nostalgic it’s there for you).

Nick Punto is starting at shortstop for the A’s. The 36-year-old utilityman batted .255/.328/.327 last year in 335 plate appearances (116 games) for the Dodgers.

Punto turned that into a one-year deal with an option for a second year that guarantees $3 million. He is the A’s ninth-highest paid player. The Dodgers’ ninth-highest paid players this year are Dan Haren and Brian Wilson ($10 million each).

Dee Gordon gets the start at second base and leads off for the Dodgers. Billy Burns is leading off for the A’s. Gordon and Burns rank 1-2 among all spring training players in stolen bases. Gordon is 8-for-8 and Burns, who finished last season with the Washington Nationals’ Double-A affiliate, is 7-for-9.

Gordon is batting .208/.296/.375 in 12 spring games.

Zack Greinke threw a bullpen session this morning with Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis two days after a two-inning simulated game.

Here are both lineups for the game at Camelback Ranch:
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A’s 3, Dodgers 3. Update.

The Dodgers and A’s were tied at 3 apiece after the top of the ninth inning at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Wednesday, when everyone agreed to go home. [box score]

“Four veteran umpires out there,” manager Don Mattingly quipped after the Dodgers “moved” (to borrow a common hockey phrase) to 1-1-1.

Most of the Dodgers’ starting position players were given the day off, but it was the first live-game action for starting pitcher Aaron Harang and relievers Kenley Jansen, Scott Elbert and Javy Guerra, all of whom are expected to play important roles out of the bullpen this season.

Harang had an awful four-batter stretch in the first inning, allowing two doubles, two singles and two earned runs –all with two outs. Otherwise he was perfect, but left with the Dodgers trailing 2-0.

“That’s why we throw 5 or 6 starts throughout the spring,” said Harang. The left-hander had been dealing with foot soreness earlier in the spring but he said that was not an issue today.

Jansen, Elbert and Guerra all threw scoreless innings, though it was a bit of a struggle for Elbert and Guerra.

Elbert allowed a walk and a single with two outs in his lone inning, the sixth, then struck out the A’s Cedric Hunter with runners on first and third. Guerra allowed a pair of walks in the seventh but was bailed out by a double play when he struck out Josh Reddick, and Eric Sogard was caught stealing third base, to end the inning.

Cory Sullivan, getting his first Cactus League start in left field, went 3-for-4. The rest of the Dodgers lineup went 1 for 25.

A few more notes:
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