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A’s Chris Smith dumbfounded over first career start

SEATTLE — When Triple-A manager Ryan Christenson told Chris Smith he was going to start against the Mariners on Saturday, the A’s oldest minor-leaguer was baffled. Do they know I’ve never started a game in the big leagues in my life? Smith’s mother, Theresa; his wife, Lisa; and his three daughters, Charlotte, 6, Abigail, 5, and Grace, 2, will be on hand for the game. “They’re super excited — ‘Dad’s going back to the elephants!’” Smith said. At 36, Smith will become the oldest A’s pitcher to make his first big-league start Saturday, topping Joe Pate, who was 33 in his starting debut with the Philadelphia A’s in 1926. “Oldest A — that’s a good record, right?” Smith said. In June, Smith was part of a nice achievement at Triple-A Nashville, throwing six innings in the Sounds’ combined no-hitter. If he does anything similar Saturday, manager Bob Melvin will have a hard time prying the ball away from him. Outfielders Albert Avila, Jose Bonilla and Kelvin Garcia and shortstops Jhoan Paulino and Saul Sanchez of the Dominican Republic; shortstop Givaine Basilia of Curacao; outfielder Marshall Cantillo of Colombia; catchers Geykler Davila and Jose Mujica, pitchers Gabriel Delgado, Edwin Rojas and Carlos Leandro, and shortstops Jose Pastrono and Dereck Salom of Venezuela; catcher Hansen Lopez of Mexico; outfielder Davonn Mackey of the Bahamas; and second baseman Joshwan Wright of Panama. Susan Slusser is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. All-Star break Jed Lowrie hit his 200th career double Thursday — but he forgot to ask for the ball. The guy on the mound threw the pitch — at that point, it’s too late to ask.

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