Callaspo stays hot, but A’s lose spring game to Rangers 

Mitch Moreland returned to the Texas lineup from a side injury and singled in two runs during a five-run sixth as the Rangers defeated the A’s 6-2 Monday.

Moreland had two hits and drew a walk. He had not played since straining his left oblique March 18.

“It’s significant that he’s had good at-bats against everybody,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “It is big that he’s handled left-handers. It looks like the new approach he has, not stepping in the bucket that he’s staying in there pretty good.”

Alex Rios and Robinson Chirinos also contributed RBI singles in the Rangers’ big inning.

Alberto Callaspo went 3 for 3 for the A’s and is 12 for 28 (.429) in his past 10 games.

A’s catcher John Jaso singled home a run, giving him eight RBIs in his past eight games.

Rangers right-hander Ryan Feierabend gave up four hits in four scoreless innings.

“I thought he was good,” Washington said. “He held them down to zeros for a pretty good while. He used all his pitches, threw the ball well.”

A’s minor leaguer Sean Murphy limited the Rangers to one single over 4¹⁄³ scoreless innings in his debut against big league hitters.

“It was definitely nerve-wracking,” Murphy said. “That first inning I was so nervous. When you see a lineup like that, who wouldn’t get a little nervous?”

Murphy, a 6-foot-6 righty who was a 33rd-round pick in 2010, said he had never met manager Bob Melvin before Monday morning.

“I didn’t even know I was starting until I saw the lineup in the major league clubhouse,” Murphy said. “It was my first time actually to be in the major league clubhouse. It felt good to get over there and experience it firsthand.”

NOTE: A’s second baseman Nick Punto left in the third inning with left hamstring tightness.

DARVISH UPDATE

Texas ace Yu Darvish played catch for 10 minutes Monday, his first activity since being scratched from a minor league start Friday with a stiff neck. It still remains iffy whether he will be ready to start the March 31 opener. He will be reevaluated Tuesday.

PITCHERS ON BACK FIELDS

A’s starter Dan Straily and relievers Sean Doolittle, Luke Gregerson and Jim Johnson pitched in a minor league game. So did Rangers left-hander Martin Perez, who threw 102 pitches in six innings in an intrasquad game. Perez allowed four runs and nine hits, facing mostly Triple-A hitters.

Straily yielded seven earned runs on 10 hits and walked two in 5 2-3 innings. Gregerson and Doolittle each tossed a scoreless inning, while Johnson surrendered two runs.

With Texas and Oakland meeting 19 times in the regular season, the managers preferred not to have their top pitchers face a division opponent late in spring training.

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