A's, Rangers getting a hate on

Oakland Athletics pitcher Brandon McCarthy throws against the Texas Rangers. (REUTERS/Tim Sharp)

Oakland Athletics pitcher Brandon McCarthy throws against the Texas Rangers. (REUTERS/Tim Sharp)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:37 PM ET

Hate may be a strong word, but there could be plenty of it Friday night in Oakland.

A's right-hander Brandon McCarthy will square off against outspoken Texas Rangers left-hander C.J. Wilson -- two pitchers who already have squared off verbally.

Wilson said this week he hates pitching in Oakland.

"The mound (stinks). The fans (stink)," said Wilson, who also complained about the lack of fans in Oakland.

McCarthy responded Thursday, saying: "A lot of people wouldn't say that stuff, but ... it's on our fans to kind of show something Friday night and stick up for themselves, and it's up to us as a team to fight back and show him we can beat him on the field and do everything we're supposed to do there, and send our message that way."

Wilson becomes a free agent in the off-season and it's safe to say he won't be signing with the A's.

"They hate me anyway, so it doesn't matter," Wilson said. "The players on their team hate me, whatever. I don't care. It's true -- dudes on their team don't like me. I get it."

ON COMEBACK TRAIL

Florida Marlins ace Josh Johnson, sidelined since May with shoulder trouble, said he's still not sure if he'll return this season.

Johnson plans to stretch out his long-toss sessions to 120 feet soon and throw off a mound in late August.

"I've worked it all out in my head many times," Johnson said. "It's frustrating."

Johnson wants to make a couple of late-season starts.

"Peace of mind," Johnson said. "There are a lot people telling me it's not worth it ... make sure you're healthy for next year."

Johnson was 3-1 with a 1.64 earned-run average before the injury.

SURGERY FOR REDS PROSPECT

Cincinnati Reds shortstop Zack Cozart, who had shown great promise in 11 games, is scheduled to have Tommy John surgery Friday -- his 26th birthday -- on his left elbow.

Cozart injured his non-throwing arm last month during a collision at second base with Atlanta Braves outfielder Nate McLouth.

Manager Dusty Baker said Cozart will have a chance to claim the starting job when he returns.

"He's going to have every opportunity," Baker said. "Of all the young guys who have come up, he looks the most ready to play winning baseball in all phases of the game."

Cozart was batting .324 with two homers and three RBI in 11 games.

BRAVES REMEMBER TURNING POINT

The Atlanta Braves will celebrate the 20th anniversary Saturday of the 1991 team that turned the franchise around.

The Braves went from worst to first that season, after three consecutive years in the basement.

It was so much fun to come to the ball park," Ron Gant told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"We were used to having 10,000 or 15,000 fans there at most, and, all of sudden, there were 30,000 or 40,000 fans there. Every day, I would get to the ball park earlier. It got to the point I almost slept there a couple of times."

Friday night, the Braves will retire former manager Bobby Cox's No. 6.

BRIEFLY

San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Thursday Carlos Beltran was doubtful to play this weekend because of a strained right wrist. Bochy said he wouldn't rule out the possibility of Beltran going on the disabled list if his condition doesn't improve in the next few days ... The Texas Rangers reinstated outfielder Craig Gentry from the seven-day disabled list, and optioned pitcher Darren O'Day to triple-A Round Rock. Gentry suffered a concussion in a July 24 game against Toronto in a collision at second base. 


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