OAK@LAD: Taylor unloads to left field for a homer

SAN FRANCISCO -- Michael Taylor's spring has essentially been one long tryout.

For which team, he's not sure, but with the knowledge that the A's simply don't have roster room for him, Taylor is hoping he's played his way into a big league opportunity somewhere. He entered Thursday hitting .274 with an .880 OPS and three home runs.

"More or less, they've let me know that they're going to go with the guys they have, which is not something that was surprising to me at all," Taylor said Thursday. "I knew that kind of coming into camp, and I knew I was going to get a chance to play and showcase myself. I feel like I was able to do that. It really couldn't have gone much better, as far as getting an opportunity to play and then having some success and playing well and hopefully showing 29 other teams that I have the ability to play at a high level. Now I'm just waiting to see what the verdict is, I guess."

"You never know how it plays out here," said manager Bob Melvin. "I know other teams are watching him pretty hard. It's a credit to him, playing so relaxed this spring and putting up the numbers he did. Regardless of what happens, my feeling is he'll end up in a good situation."

Out of options, Taylor is expected to be placed on waivers this weekend, while the A's forge on with an outfield mix of Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick and Sam Fuld. Craig Gentry (back strain) is expected back when eligible April 5.

For Taylor, this is likely his fifth and final big league camp with the A's, who acquired him for former first-round Draft pick Brett Wallace back in 2009. Neither player has panned out in the Majors, though Taylor hasn't necessarily been given a long look on the big stage.

"It's a strange feeling," Taylor said. "You're trying to get ready for a season, and I'm so excited for these guys, because I know how good they can be, and I think they're in prime position to take a step forward and take a deeper run. It's also sad, because I've spent a lot of time with these guys, and I know that there's a really good chance I won't be a part of that in any small or large fashion. I love these guys to death. I'm just going to try to really enjoy my teammates these last few days."

Kazmir silences Giants to close strong spring

OAK@SF: Kazmir fans four, holds Giants scoreless

SAN FRANCISCO -- Scott Kazmir appeared to be in midseason form a month ago, so it wasn't much of a surprise when he deemed himself as such after his final spring tuneup Thursday.

"I'm ready," said Kazmir, after throwing 5 1/3 scoreless innings at AT&T Park. "I feel comfortable with all my pitches. Threw a lot of offspeed just to get a good feel for them all and had a lot of quality ones."

The A's lefty, who will make his season debut Tuesday against his former Indians team, limited the Giants to two hits on the night, walking three and fanning four. He threw 50 of his 78 pitches for strikes and also drew a walk against San Francisco's Tim Hudson.

Through 16 2/3 exhibition innings, Kazmir exits the preseason schedule with a 1.62 ERA.

"Today was a workout, definitely," he said. "I don't think you can simulate that. I know it didn't look like much, but that took a lot out of me. Pitching-wise, I felt great from the start, and then later in the game was mixing a lot of my pitches up and throwing a lot of offspeed first pitch, something I wanted to work on last start, and felt good."

Punto set to return from hamstring issue

LAD@OAK: Punto's single plates a pair in the third

SAN FRANCISCO -- A's infielder Nick Punto is expected back in the A's lineup Friday, barring any further issues with his left hamstring.

Punto experienced tightness in the hamstring during Monday's game and has since been held out of game action. But after undergoing a full set of workouts Friday afternoon, manager Bob Melvin said he's good to go.

Punto is expected to start at second base against left-handers when the season begins, as part of a rather strict platoon at the position with Eric Sogard. But the switch-hitting Punto, an excellent defender, is likely to see plenty action off the bench in the later innings on any given day.