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Tuesday morning things

A lot of stuff out there today, as camp starts getting cranked up...

Ron Washington is the focus of a couple of columns today, one by Jim Reeves, and the other by Jean-Jacques Taylor.

Reeves focuses on Washington's strength in an area that is often overlooked by fans -- the ability to manage people:

"So much is made about Xs and the Os on the field, or roster management, or handling the media," Daniels pointed out. "People very rarely talk about the actual managing of people and getting different personalities to blend together. That's what Ron's strength is going to be. It's going to be allowing these guys to be themselves."

Taylor's column focuses more on contrasting Washington with his predecessor.

Evan Grant has a piece on Vicente Padilla, who has apparently decided to speak to the media this season, after not talking last year. Padilla says he isn't planning on changing his approach, and while he infuriated the ChiSox and the Angels last season by throwing inside, Ron Washington said that the A's didn't have any problems with Padilla's approach.

Also per Grant, Eric Gagne threw 37 pitches off the mound yesterday, and didn't have any problems, which is a good sign.

Grant also has a blog entry handicapping the 5th starter race. He has Josh Rupe and Kam Loe as the favorites, with Edinson Volquez trailing the pack. Grant says that Volquez's abbreviated 2005 stint in the majors -- when he clearly wasn't ready -- has held him back and hurt his confidence, and suggests that Volquez is going to need some time in the minors to get that back. Volquez seems to me to be someone who would be best served breaking into the majors in the bullpen, even if the team thinks he'll eventually end up in the rotation.